The Jaguar Sovereign is the top line trim of the XJ6. The history of the name stretches back to 1966 when it was used by Daimler on their Sovereign XJ16, which was a rebadged Jaguar 420 with a Daimler grille. The company again used the Jaguar XJ6 with some modifications, a superior level of finish, and the Daimler grille to produce the Daimler Sovereign.
Ever since Jaguar had bought out Daimler in order to expand their factory space in Coventry, the company had used the Daimler as their premier range of cars. In 1968, the first Sovereign went on show, and it was initially a superior finished Jaguar XJ6 with a Daimler badge.
The first Daimler Sovereign came complete with power-assisted steering and quality leather upholstery, although air-conditioning was an optional extra. The bonnet had the same double-winged headlight cluster with the gently arched lid covering the 4.2L engine and the recognisable squared Daimler grille and badge.
The Sovereign was given a facelift in 1972 when the wheelbase was lengthened to give occupants more legroom. The car was given a full remodel in 1972 with the Series II; this model received raised bumpers for US safety regulations, a newly designed interior, and better quality air-con unit.
In 1975, there were a limited run of Sovereign Coupe cars built, and over the next 4 years, a total of around 1600 were manufactured. All came with a vinyl roof and the Sovereign had its signature, sumptuous leather interior and quality trim. It was also common to change the bumpers to the more stylish Series III versions, as the originals look a little cumbersome.
The Series III ran between 1979 and 1992 featuring the long wheelbase and a stylish but subtle redesign by Italian specialists, Pininfarina. The look also had the more popular chrome-trimmed, rubber bumpers, flush fitting door handles, and a new-looking rear light cluster.
Over the intervening years, there were a number of facelifts and slight changes to the shape and trim. These included the 1982 fitting of ‘Pepper pot’ alloy wheels and upgraded interior styling. In 1984, the Daimler range was dropped completely and instead the car became known as the Jaguar Sovereign. This led to the V12 engines being dropped as a standard offering and only being fitted into the Sovereign cars.
The car received a remodel in 1994 with the production of the XJ X300. This was designed with a flatter bonnet and an overall curvier look. The Sovereign models came with 3.2L or 4.9L engines and were dripping in chrome. The radiator grille, front and rear light clusters, windscreen and rear window surrounds, guttering, and boot lid plinth were all fitted with glittering chromed tri
This additional level of comfort and elegance was carried over into the XJ40 Sedan series with their very own superior Sovereign trim level. This opulent interior and additional special touches to the car’s exterior have continued under the Sovereign name, with the X350 and X358 still carrying the Sovereign marque and that little extra bit of class to the standard range.
The last top-range Jaguar was the X358 Sovereign, which ceased production in 2009. It was powered by either a 2.7L diesel, or a 3.0L or 4.2L petrol engine. The supercharged 4.2L V8 produced a 291kW power output and 541Nm of torque. This powertrain, when linked to the 6-speed automatic gearbox has a top end of 250km/h and goes from 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds.
The first-generation Sovereigns fitted with the V12 were capable of 225km/h and marketed as the ‘fastest four seater in the world today.’ By the time of the Series III Sovereign, the cars available with the 4.2L straight 6 engines, and in 1981, they received the HE – High Efficiency – variants.
The Sovereign was always sold on its superior trim levels, better quality materials, and more elegant interiors. They also came with better standard of equipment and additional features that were only offered as options with most other Jaguar models.
The 1995 Sovereign came fully fitted with twin airbags, 4-speed automatic gear box, anti-lock brakes, trip computer, cruise control, a 9-speaker sound system, climate control air-con, remote locking, powered mirrors and electric windows, and the full leather interior. The options packages included a sunroof and electrically adjustable driver’s seat.
The Jaguar range has always been considered as an opulent, majestic car, and the Sovereign range, whether attached to its Daimler cousin or Jaguar proper, is the best example of what the big cat can look like when money is no object. Jaguar has always placed itself alongside the BMW and Mercedes Benz top-trimmed cars and competed well against them. More recently, the Japanese Honda, Toyota, and Mazda cars have actively sought out the executive market and produced excellently styled and finished vehicles.
The Sovereign range is pure status. The level of finish and equipment on the Sovereign has been the epitome of what Jaguar has to offer at its very highest level. Their long history and individualistic look have long attracted a faithful following. Over time, the Sovereign has represented the sleekest in the Jaguar range.