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JAGUAR XJ220: A FAILED CONCEPT OR AN ENGINEERING MARVEL??

When we see supercars around us today, they are fast, very fast, under 3-second accelerations, a top speed of more than 200Mph is something that even a 65,000$ Corvette Z06 can do. But in terms of the top speed, except the top speed king Bugatti and Koenigsegg, not many manufacturers have been able to go beyond 217 Mph which seems to be the crescendo of supercar top speed these days, even with high horsepower numbers, manufacturers are certainly not achieving the top speed that needs to be achieved. If we look at the past, more than two decades ago we had the McLaren F1, which had 610 horsepower and a modified Rev Limiter, that car went on to do 240Mph!!!! In 1998, and here we are decades later, not being able to achieve or even come close to that number.

In the 1980s, Jaguar thought of creating the World’s fastest car so they started to work upon a car that would break all the records and would have the highest top speed of any car at that time, and thus was born the XJ 220, which had a single goal to achieve 220 Mph of top speed and thus the name. The XJ 220 had a top speed of 217Mph just 3Mph shy of the target it wanted to achieve. But the XJ 220 didn’t get the respect it deserved, and it was understandable. When jaguar laid the concept version of the XJ 220 a few years back, they told the public that it would have a V12 and gull-wing doors, to which many people got excited and put their deposits on the XJ 220, however, when the car was finally launched, it had a twin-turbo V6 and doors which opened normally like any other car, the public wasn’t happy, Jaguar didn’t fulfill people’s expectation. One major downside of the XJ 220 was that it had huge proportions, when measured in length it was approximately 5 meters, even the largest SUVs don’t come close to that length. All of these factors contributed to the bad publicity of the XJ 220. Jaguar had anticipated selling over 1000 cars, but they only built 275 of these beauties as the orders weren’t enough.

Now, let’s get straight to the matter, the XJ 220 is fast, very fast. It had a 0 to 60Mph time of just 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 217mph, made it the world’s fastest car for a brief moment, because months later Bugatti came with a surprise called the EB 110 Supersport and achieved a top speed of 218Mph. The XJ 220 was designed to be a driver’s car, and it is, a 5-speed manual transmission and steering with almost no assistance mean that the driver is in control of the whole car, the cabin too has been designed according to the driver. At that time the notion of people regarding supercars was that the bigger the engine better it is, but the jaguar was one of the first manufacturers to show the world the power of small engines when they were united by forced induction. The Quarter mile of the XJ 220 was a staggering 12.4 seconds when considering its heavyweight of 1470 kgs because of all the luxury amenities the car had to offer. The XJ 220 was the only luxurious supercar at its time it was meant to be a versatile car, to act as a GT and to act as a Track monster whenever the need comes. It had a fixed-wing in the back, which generated a healthy amount of downforce to prevent the car from oversteer and understeer. One of the quirkiest features of the XJ 220 were its headlights, unlike other cars which had pop up headlights, it had pop down headlights, when the engineers at Jaguar were asked about it, they told that it minimizes drag while keeping the headlights functional. The suspension, the brakes, the comfort level, everything was on par with the supercar technology at that time. No other car manufacture was as capable as a jaguar to make a supercar, that can be daily driven, long toured and when needed can perform track duties as well.

People didn’t realize the Engineering advancement of the XJ 220, it was too ahead of its time. People thought that the V6 engine was a bad choice in a supercar, look at the modern Ford GT, it has a twin-turbocharged V6!! If we look towards the future, the AMG One hypercar by Mercedes is going to have a V6 engine, the Aston Martin Valhalla is going to have a V6 engine. This is what happens with every car, that challenges the present norms of making supercars, and these are the cars that motivate us to be different. Even Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear Loved the XJ 220, he instantly became a fan of the car. The Jaguar XJ 220 is and forever will remain a Legend in Supercar history.

That’s it for this time guys

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