Jaguar XJ220 leaps into Jay Leno's Garage

Having sadly canceled the C-X75 project and sat out today's hybrid hypercar race, it would be all too easy to forget about Jaguar as a supercar manufacturer altogether. But back in the early '90s, the British automaker didn't just play in the supercar game – it dominated it. The XJ220 was, for a time, the fastest car in the world. Jay Leno pays tribute in this latest video.

Originally envisioned with a V12 engine and all-wheel drive, the XJ220 ultimately surfaced with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 driving the rear wheels alone. None of that kept it from eclipsing the top speed achieved by every supercar that came before with a terminal velocity that didn't quite reach the 220 miles per hour initially promised, but came pretty darn close. The disappointment in the change of specification lead some to dismiss the XJ220 as a failure, but it was still the fastest thing on the road until another British supercar (in the form of the McLaren F1) took its place at the pinnacle of automotive bragging rights.

Two decades later, Jaguar quite nearly drove down the same road when its initial plans for the C-X75 changed from an experimental turbine powertrain to a multi-charged inline-four. Only this time the Leaping Cat marque didn't put it into production at all, save for a few prototypes and movie props – which is a bit of a shame, and then some. Watching Jay speed down memory lane in the supercar that almost never was, we're glad that Jaguar still built the XJ220, and saddened that it never followed up with another groundbreaking supercar today.

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