Here's what 50 years of Jaguar XJ looks like...

It's 50 years since the XJ first appeared, and since then it's transported politicians, rock stars and even James Bond. Here's one of each generation for your delight

The Jaguar XJ is 50 years old! The Series 1 XJ started the dynasty in 1968 and the line has continued for eight generations, transporting VIPs, politicians, business leaders and royalty – as well as starring in movies like Love Actually and The Long Good Friday, as well as the James Bond films.

The XJ started out as a six-cylinder, using the famous XK engine first introduced for the XK120 in 1948. But just four years into its life a V12 option was added, and the XJ became the world’s only mass-produced 12-cylinder four-door car. With a top speed of 140mph (225km/h), it was also the fastest four-seater of its time.

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Further models followed, including standard and long wheelbase versions, as well as two and four-door body styles. In 1975, in Series 2 form, a two-door coupé model was introduced. Later the XJ40, in production for eight years from 1986, introduced the popular ‘J’ gate gear shifter and self-levelling suspension.

The next generation, from 2003, brought with it a revolutionary aluminium monocoque bodyshell, which helped reduce the XJ’s weight by 40 per cent. The current XJ model brought additional technologies such as all-wheel drive and a virtual instrument cluster. It was this model that saw Jaguar design director Ian Callum bring in the distinctive wraparound rear screen and cat claw inspired rear lights.

Now Jaguar has produced a special edition XJ50 model to celebrate the anniversary. It's available in both standard and long wheelbase with 3.0-litre diesel engine, and features Autobiography-style front and rear bumpers, new 20-inch Venom wheels, a black front grille and unique badging to the rear and side vents. Colour include Fuji White, Santorini Black, Loire Blue and Rosello Red.

The diamond-quilted seats feature an embossed leaper on the headrests and an XJ50 logo on the centre armrest. Unique intaglio branding and XJ50-badged illuminated treadplates also differentiate the anniversary edition, alongside anodised gearshift paddles and bright metal pedals.

'Spanning half a century, the Jaguar XJ remains true to its heritage with a wonderful balance of beautiful design, intelligent performance and indulgent luxury that ensures it stands out from the crowd,' summarises Ian Callum. 'This is a car worth celebrating and the XJ50 pays homage to a giant within the Jaguar brand that we believe is one of the world’s most stylish sporting saloons.'

The XJ50 is priced from £74,280 in the UK.

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