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The Jaguar XJ X308 was produced and sold between 1997 and 2003. It had exterior styling similar to its predecessor the XJ X300 but with minor improvements. The front of the two models is very similar and can only be differentiated by the shape of the indicator lenses with the X300 having rectangular shaped lenses and the X308 having oval shaped lenses.

 The X308 also featured a similar Jaguar Independent Rear Suspension unit as in all the previous XJ model range. The Jaguar trademark "Computer Active Technology Suspension" (CATS) system was a standard feature on the XJR. The CATS system electronically adjusts suspension settings according to road conditions to enhance ride quality and car handling eliminating body roll.

 A new eight-cylinder AJ-V8 engine in either 3.2-litre or 4.0-litre version replaced the inline-six and V12 engines from the previous models. Hence, the label "XJ8" took over from "XJ6" and "XJ12" reflecting the new V8 engine which was the only available engine for the X308. All models were supplied with a five-speed automatic transmission - a ZF 5HP24 gearbox for the 3.2L and 4.0L naturally aspirated models and a Mercedes Benz 5G-Tronic W5A580 gearbox for the 4.0L supercharged models.

 The badging for the X308 featured the "XJ8" (also known as the "XJ Executive" in some markets), the "XJ Sport" with sportier seating and wider wheels, the "Sovereign" with all the traditional Jaguar luxury trims, the "XJR" with the supercharged 4.0-litre engine capable of achieving 0-60mph in 5 seconds, the "SE" which was offered at a competitive price and the Daimler/Vanden Plas as the highest trim level and which also featured a supercharged engine and an array of luxury features.