The Jaguar XJ-S (later the Jaguar XJS) was a luxury grand tourer produced by the British manufacturer Jaguar. The XJ-S replaced the legendary E-Type in September 1975, and was based on the XJ saloon. It had been developed as the XK-F, though it was very different in character from its predecessor. Although it never had quite the same sporting image, the XJ-S was a competent grand tourer, and more aerodynamic than the E-Type. The last XJS was produced on April 4, 1996, with the XK8 taking its place.
The first XJ-S appeared in 1975 as a 1976 model. Power came from the Jaguar V-12 petrol engine with a choice of a manual or automatic transmission, but the manual was soon dropped. V-12 automobiles were unusual at the time, with notable others coming from Italian luxury sports car makers Lamborghini and Ferrari. The specifications of the XJ-S compared well with both Italian cars; it was able to accelerate to 60 mph (100 km/h) in 6.5 seconds and reach 157 mph (255 km/h). Jaguar's timing was not good; the car was launched in the wake of a fuel crisis, and the market for a 5.3-litre V-12 grand tourer was very small. The styling was also the subject of criticism, including the "flying buttresses" behind the windows.
Jaguar did seize promotional opportunities with the television series The New Avengers and Return of the Saint. The New Avengers featured Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt) who drove an XJ-S. Reliability issues meant that three XJ-S cars were used. Return of the Saint saw Simon Templar (played by Ian Ogilvy) driving an early XJ-S with the number plate "ST 1". Miniature versions were made by Corgi and proved popular. A decade and a half before, Jaguar had turned down the producers of the earlier Saint series when approached about the E-type; the producers had instead used a Volvo P1800.
The 1981 XJ-S received the new High-Efficiency engine for much better economy. The XJ-S was also now the fastest automatic-transmission car in the world at 168 mph (270 km/h) with 255 kW (342 hp) and 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds. In 1982, the new V12 XJ-S won first and second at the RAC Tourist Trophy race at Silverstone.
In 1983 a new cabriolet version débuted with a new 3.6-litre Jaguar AJ6 engine, the XJ-SC. In the XJ-SC, the rear jump seats were eliminated making it only a 2-seat car. The XJ-SC was not a full convertible but had a non-removable center targa-type structure and fixed cant rails above the doors. The rear quarter windows remained as well. With the introduction of the AJ6 engine in the XJS chassis came the availability of a 5-speed manual transmission for the 6 cylinder cars. This model with a GETRAG manual transmission was not imported by Jaguar into the United states until 1994 (and then only in extremely limited numbers). A limited number of earlier 5-speed AJ6 cars did enter the US as grey market personal imports however. A V12 XJ-SC did not emerge until 1985. The two-seat XJ-SC targa-type model was replaced with a two-seat full convertible in 1988.
The car was re-engineered in 1991 and renamed XJS, with a convertible waiting one year. The rear windows were enlarged, though the flying buttresses stayed, as designer Geoff Lawson argued that they were part of the car's character. The car got a new 4-litre version of the AJ6, and the V12 was upped to 6 litres in 1993. At the same time the car benefited from a revision to the rear brakes, they were now fitted with outboard rear disc brakes, instead of the more complicated inboard items on previous models. These changes begin the "face-lift" for the aging XJS. A 2+2 convertible was also introduced, as was a customized insignia line. In 1994 the car received more aerodynamic front and rear bumper fascias, which completed the face-lift. In 1995 substantial revisions were made to the 4-litre AJ6 engine. The car was discontinued in 1996, after 21 years in production. It was replaced by the XK8.Source: Wikipedia.