Cars

The Jaguar XJ220 Is The Perfect Supercar

Published On 08/18/2014 Published On 08/18/2014

If you sat down and wrote a list of all the traits that make a supercar, well, a supercar, the Jaguar XJ220 has everything in spades. It's just...perfect. The perfect supercar. And there’s a stunning one at the RM London auction.

Giddyup, baby. 

Jaguar didn’t exactly have a large budget for the car, so a group of 12 volunteers worked off the clock every Saturday to make everything happen. The general concept was to make a car that could win Le Mans, but that looked like a Jaguar, and, in street trim, didn’t have unsightly wings and could be driven over speed-bumps. Amazingly, the initial shape of the XJ220 was sketched out over Christmas break in 1987.

The car is self-evidently slick, but its greatest trick is something most people will never see. Look closely at the back and you’ll see a seriously large diffuser. The entire underbody of the car is shaped to create a vacuum that literally sucks the car to the ground. The end result is that, at 200 mph, the XJ220 has over 3,000 pounds of downforce. That’s a lot.

Sitting just inches behind the seats is a lightweight and high-tech twin-turbo V6 originally designed for the absolutely legendary Group B rally series. While working on the engineering side of things, cars like the 959 and the F40 were targeted, and with 540 hp, the Jag blows their sexy doors off. Yup, 213 mph was the official record set by the XJ220 in 1992; though in reality, the car's capable of a few mph faster than that.

The inside is straightforward. The dash wraps around the driver’s side of the car and the seats hug your kidneys almost as well as a proper racing seat, all while keeping you nice and comfy at three times the highway speed limit. Nearly every inch is wrapped in Connolly leather, famous for only using cows from a free range Norwegian herd. 

To recap: The XJ220 is sexy as hell, features ridiculously advanced aero, has a race-derived engine, is supremely luxurious, and was the fastest car in the world when it came out. Perfect? Mmm-hmm. 


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. He remembers vividly when this car came out and it’s one of his absolute favorite cars of all time.

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