By Tuesday, September 5 Jaguar had fallen into line with its executive and luxury class rivals Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi and slashed an average 8.5% off its list prices. This happened to coincide with the delivery of this week's test subject. When the XJ 3.2 Sport arrived it was listed at ú37,405 on-the-road. By the time I'd driven it out of the office car park it was down ú1,455 to ú35,950.
Now, here's the rub. Anyone who'd bought an XJ Sport, XJ Executive, XJ8 4.0, Sovereign 4.0, XJR, Daimler V8 or Daimler Super V8 between September 1 and 5 at the first 2001 model year list prices could have asked for up to ú2,000-worth of options on top of the ú1,105 to ú1,915 worth of features included as standard.
The standard equipment enhancements, which in the XJ Sport's case comprised sports pack (ú750), CD (ú380), rain sensor (ú90), reverse parking aid (ú315) and cruise control (ú380), remain intact. But the offer of ú2,000-worth of extra options, which Jaguar says was to have been for a limited period anyway, was withdrawn with the publication of reduced RRPs. On paper, therefore, the XJ Sport became ú545 more expensive at the same time as its price was cut by ú1,455.
It's worth noting that the ú2,000 freebie would not have impacted on benefit-in-kind tax bills. According to Alison Chapman, corporation tax partner at Deloitte & Touche, because Jaguar's offer was open to all customers rather than individuals who had happened to negotiate some free extras, the cost of the equipment would not have been added to list price.
Pricing, market tactics and politics aside, Jaguar has reintroduced the 'Sport' badge because of popular demand for a sporty-styled version of the 3.2 V8. It sits alongside a new 3.2 Executive, priced the same, and together they replace the short wheelbase XJ8 3.2.