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The best and worst Jaguars

Jaguar is a British institution but which have been the best of the marque and which have struggled? Motoring journalist Rob Griffin has a look.

Nothing beats Jaguars. They're classy, refined, stylish and as undeniably British as April showers and Buckingham Palace.

For years the manufacturer has wowed motoring enthusiasts with some truly outstanding vehicles. In fact, there are no really bad Jaguar cars.

However, the marque has set such a high benchmark over the years that its more modest offerings suffer by comparison.

The best Jaguars ever made: E-Type

Jaguar E-Type

Probably the most talked and written about Jag of all time. This sporty sensation took the motoring world by storm when it was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961. With its sleek lines, stunning good looks, a top speed of 150mph, and a price tag of around £2,000 it quickly attracted a huge following. The E-Type is without a doubt an icon of the 1960s and although you can buy them second-hand you'll need a minimum of £30,000.

The best Jaguars ever made: XJS

Jaguar XJS

A simply beautiful car. It's as much of a head-turner today as it was when first introduced back in the mid-1970s to replace the famed E-Type. Jaguar's first foray into the international Grand Touring class was priced at a relatively modest £8,900 and went on to be manufactured for two decades. This stunning two-door machine had a 5.3-litre V12 engine that enabled it to hit a top speed of 140mph.

The best Jaguars ever made: XJ6

Jaguar XJ6

The introduction of the XJ6 in 1968 was a landmark moment for the company. At that time the range was confusing, with various models and engine combinations available. However, the XJ6 - referring to its six cylinders, with a choice of 2.8- or 4.2-litre XK engines - arrived with a fresh new look that raised the bar for styling. It was also praised for its superior handling, thanks to a suspension system that provided a comfortable ride for its passengers.

The least-best Jaguars ever: XJ6 estate by Avon

Jaguar Avon 

What a mess. When there started to be a demand for estates, coachbuilders Avon came up with this absolute monstrosity based on the beautiful XJ6. You can't deny it was practical but there's no escaping the fact it looks as if a conservatory has been nailed onto the back of the car. Looking back it's surprising that Jaguar didn't focus its firepower on taking on Mercedes in the estate market – at least it would have saved the world from such odious conversions.

The least-best Jaguars ever: XJ350

Jaguar XJ350

Okay this car wasn't horrific. It was perfectly respectable looking and the fact its chassis and body was made out of aluminium made it technically interesting. The problem was that the design of the XJ350, which was produced between 2003 and 2007, was just outdated by this stage. "It looked too much like the XJs of the past," says Giles Chapman, author of 100 Cars Britain Can be Proud Of. "It was a gentle evolution of those that had gone before and the world was just a bit tired of that car." A face-lifted version – the Jaguar X358 – arrived in 2008.

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Rob Griffin

Rob Griffin

Rob Griffin is a freelance journalist who regularly appears in national publications, including The Independent and Daily Express. He covers motoring, business, and personal finance issues.

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