The first XJ220 came into the world as a concept car, launched at the 1988 British Motor Show. Tom Walkinshaw Racing was asked to produce a 6.2-liter version of Jaguar's legendary V12 engine with four valves per cylinder, quad camshafts and a target output of 510 PS. The all wheel drive system was produced by FF Developments who had experience with such systems going back to the 1960s and the Jensen FF.
But when the car was nearing production a number of changes were made, the most obvious of which was a completely different drivetrain and the elimination of the scissor doors. The V12 was replaced with a Tom Walkinshaw-developed 3.5 L V6 based on the engine used in the Austin Metro 6R4 rally car and fitted with twin Garrett T3 turbochargers. This generated 550 hpand 476 lb·ft (645 N·m) of torque at 4500 rpm.