This is a quick note to help you get the best modern tyre.
XJ Saloon Series 3
These all had 15″ wheels throughout their manufacturing period. The most common wheel was the famous 20 hole alloy ‘pepperpot’ wheel, though ‘Kent’ alloys were usually fitted to the Daimler variants. The tyre specified was a Dunlop 215 x 70 x 15 SP Sport, but this is no longer available. The Pirelli P4000 is often fitted instead. This is a general purpose tyre, comfortable and fairly quiet, but not a great handler. KWE takes the view that with the excellent suspension of the XJ it can easily tolerate a lower profile tyre to improve lateral stability in cornering without losing significant comfort; we therefore recommend fitting a 225 x 60 x 15 tyre which significantly improves handling and opens out the choices for modern tyres a bit. KWE prefers the Falken ZE912 and the Avon ZZ3. It is perfectly ok to fit 16 inch wheels to the XJ in which case one can and must use a lower profile tyre to achieve the same diameter. This is a good thing as we can use a 55 profile tyre which is another improvement in handling. Again the Falken ZE912 in 225 x 55 x 16 size is admirable. There are several other modern tyre designs in this size, including Michelin and Continental.
Up to 1993 the XJS was fitted with 15″ wheels, mostly the ‘lattice’, but also ‘starfish’, ‘pepperpot’, and ‘Kent’. The very early cars had 70 profile tyres but in the mid 80’s Jaguar decided on a sportier feel with lower profile 235 x 60 x 15 Pirelli P600 tyres. By modern standards this is not a brilliant tyre and yet many owners try very hard to obtain it because it is specified in the handbook. It is perfectly ok – and indeed better – to fit modern 225 x 60 15 tyres such as Falken ZE914. While the width is 4% narrower, its modern design means there is more tyre on the road anyway.
In 1993 Jaguar changed to 16″ wheels for the XJS, most commonly the simple 5 spoke. Others were the 20 slot Turbine on the 6 litre V12, and Celebration 11 slot. Tyres were 225 x 55 x 16. Again, we find the Falken ZE914 or FK452 are excellent, but if you want to pay more for expensively marketed brands you can choose from Michelin, Yokahama, Continental, Pirelli and more.
There are some 17″ Jaguar wheels available with the correct offsets and bolt pattern, notably the XJR which can be fitted with 255 x 45 x 17 tyres (but we cannot guarantee there won’t be fouling on the rear wheel arches), or more reasonably 225 x 45 x 17.
We have even fitted Azev 18″ wheels with 225 x 40 x 18 tyres which gave tremendous handling if a noticeably harsher ride. These wheels are no longer available sadly.
It is worth mentioning that if you are looking to use aftermarket wheels, the 5 bolt pattern is critical (at 120.6mm the PCD is not the same as any other manufacturer’s), and the offset (how far the wheel stands in from the hub’s centre-line) is equally critical. With too little offset the tyres will rub against the wheel arch lips and affect the steering stiffness. With too great an offset the wheel will hit various suspension parts.
KWE offers some carefully worked out wheels which fit correctly and allow 16 or 17 inch fitments in two designs – our take on the pepperpot and our own 10 spoke alloy. (Pictures to follow). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details).3:47 pm