For 2005, the Jaguar XJ8 offers two new models, both built on a new, long-wheelbase platform: the Vanden Plas, and the company’s new flagship, the Super V8.

The wheelbase and overall length have been extended by 127 mm over the regular wheelbase models, but due to its aluminum alloy monocoque body construction, the weight increase is only 24 kg. Jaguar claims that because of its extensive use of aluminum, the Vanden Plas is 178 mm longer than the Lexus LS430 or BMW 745i, but weighs around 68 kg less than the Lexus and over 227 kg less than the BMW. Height is increased by 7 mm for better headroom, while its 12-metre turning radius is tighter than competitive LWB models.

The Vanden Plas uses a naturally-aspirated 4.2-litre V8, while the Super V8 adds a supercharger. Both models feature a six-speed ZF automatic transmission.

As is to be expected, this is top-end luxury, with such features as an electronic parking brake, active damping, power-adjustable pedals with memory, self-dimming power-folding exterior mirrors, burl walnut veneer trim with Peruvian boxwood inlay, reverse park control, heated steering wheel, headlamp washer, deep-pile lambs-wool rugs, 16-way power front seats, rear fold-down picnic trays, electric rear sunblind, and navigation system.

The Super V8 includes Brembo brakes, 19-inch alloy wheels with Z-rated tires, radar-based adaptive cruise control, DVD-based navigation system, rear DVD multimedia entertainment system with twin screens, four-zone air conditioning, front park control and electrically-adjustable rear bench seat.

The XJ8 long-wheelbase is intended either for driving pleasure or for the comfort of rear-seat passengers; the fold-down tables accommodate laptop computers, with nearby auxiliary sockets for power. The car’s incredibly lightweight structure results in mileage figures that exempt it from gas-guzzler taxes. It offers the same luxury cabin as the BMW 760, Mercedes S500 or Volkswagen Phaeton, but it’s cheaper, although that’s a relative term at this price point.

The XJ8 is built in Coventry, England.

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