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Jaguar XK8: Buying guide and review (1996-2006)

Jaguar XK8: Buying guide and review (1996-2006) Classic and Performance Car
Jaguar XK8 Jaguar XK8 Jaguar XK8 Jaguar XK8 Jaguar XKR
It took a long time for the Jaguar XJS to be accepted in the classic world, but years before that happened its successor, the XK8, was heartily embraced by classic car fans. It’s easy to see why; where the XJS looks awkward the XK8 is svelte, beautifully built and great to drive. Packed with modern equipment the XK8 is also utterly usable and to cap it all this is a car that’s proved to be dependable as long as it’s looked after.
 
With the XK8 and its supercharged sibling the XKR being at the stage where supply exceeds demand, this is one of the most affordable classics around, so you can afford to be choosy when buying. There’s a choice of coupé or convertible, both bodystyles being offered with a normally aspirated (XK8) or supercharged (XKR) V8. With even the slowest edition being capable of an electronically limited 155mph performance is guaranteed, yet 30mpg is possible if you drive with restraint.
 
Thanks to its modernity the Jag comes with all of the kit you’d expect of a luxury grand tourer, such as electric seats, windows and mirrors, climate control and leather trim. There’s plenty of safety kit too, including driver and passenger airbags plus anti-lock brakes. That luxurious cabin is suitable only for two though; the rear seats are next to useless, but if you want to carry no more than two people and you want incredible value for money, there’s no good reason to overlook the Jaguar XK8 and XKR.
 
Which one to buy?
 
The earlier cars (with the 4.0-litre engine) weren’t as well developed as the later 4.2-litre editions, which is why the earlier variants tend to be cheaper. There’s little difference in demand between XK8 and XKR or coupé and cabrio; there’s a buyer for anything as long as it’s in good condition. Despite this, XKRs are worth more than equivalent XK8s while cabrios are more valuable than equivalent coupés. So if you’re on a budget you’ll get the most for your money by buying an XK8 coupé; if you want an investment, the most collectible of the lot is likely to be the XKR convertible.
 
What equipment is fitted can also make a difference to values and desirability. Buyers love factory-fit options that improve a car’s spec, with heated seats popular, along with stereo upgrades and Recaro seats. The latter was rarely chosen, especially on the XK8, but you’re more likely to find them in an XKR.
 
The factory-fit navigation is outdated now so not worth seeking out, but if you can find a car with Brembo brakes that’s a definite plus. Wheels are a matter of taste as the 20-inch rims can look overblown or they might look superb – it’s just a matter of preference. But even if you like the look of them, check out the ride first. An XKR on 20-inch rims doesn’t feature anything like a magic carpet ride...
 
Performance and specs
 
Jaguar XKR 4.2 coupé
Engine 4196cc, V8
Power 400bhp @ 6100rpm
Torque 399lb ft @ 3500rpm
Top speed 155mph
0-60mph 5.2sec
Fuel consumption 23mpg
Gearbox Five-speed automatic
Insurance group 39-41
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2588mm
Length 4760mm
Width 1829mm
Height 1295mm
Kerb weight 1653kg
 
Common problems
 
• Corrosion is unlikely to be taking hold, unless the car’s been crunched. The only exception is on some very early cars, which can suffer from corrosion in the front footwells and rear wheelarches.

• Expect tight, even panel gaps, but even low-speed knocks can take their toll, especially as parking sensors aren’t fitted to all XK8s and visibility isn’t great. Check the central jacking point up front along with the radiator, and on an XKR inspect the intercooler too; they can all be damaged by the car bottoming out on speed bumps.

• Early V8s could be destroyed by their Nikasil-coated cylinder bores being damaged by high-sulphur petrol; post-2000 engines have conventional steel liners. The earlier powerplants can’t be rebored, which is why some cars had fresh powerplants under warranty; chassis numbers 001036 to 042775 were affected. A tag on the nearside of the block denotes a replacement V8. The VIN indicates what type of cylinder liners the engine has; a six-digit sequence at the end means Nikasil liners, while an A then five digits means steel liners.

• The secondary timing chain gets thrown off after the plastic top tensioner has cracked. The engine is rarely wrecked, but a new set of chains and tensioners will be needed.

• On the XKR, the rubber hose hidden below the supercharger perishes. Called the valley pipe, it’s easy enough to renew but this entails removing the supercharger. The hose should be renewed every eight years; some owners take this opportunity to fit a smaller pulley, to increase boost and power.

• All XKs have power steering; the system is reliable but the track rod ends wear out, so feel for vague steering.

• Feathering around the edges of the front tyres betrays wear in the front wishbone bushes combined with tired front wheelbearings.

• It’s worth finding an XK8 with Computer-Active Technology Suspension (CATS). Standard on the XKR, XK8 owners had to pay extra for it – but it’s worthwhile. This adjusts the dampers between hard and soft for better cornering, anti-dive under braking and anti-squat under acceleration. However, CATS dampers are costly compared with the standard items.

• The standard brakes are superb, but the Brembo system provides truly awesome stopping power. There are no common issues, but aftermarket discs tend to wear quickly and judder, while the front callipers of the Brembo system need to be cleaned every three years or so, to stop the pads binding in the sliders.
 
Model history
 
1996: XK8 introduced with 3996cc V8 in coupé or convertible forms.
1998: XKR goes on sale in coupé and convertible forms, with 370bhp supercharged 4.0-litre V8.
2000: XKR-based Silverstone special edition has silver paintwork, 20-inch alloys and Brembo brakes. Just 50 are made.
2001: 100 special edition, based on XKR, has nine-spoke BBS alloys, anthracite paintwork, Recaro seats and alloy interior detailing.
2002: XK8 gets 19-inch ‘Apollo’ wheels; the XKR gets 20-inch ‘Paris’ alloys and Brembo brakes. Also, a 4.2-litre V8 replaces previous 4.0-litre version.
2003: Special edition 400 in showrooms, based on XKR, with Alcantara seat inserts and black, silver or grey paintwork.
2004: XK8/XKR Premium arrives in coupé or convertible guises, with standard xenon lights, 18-inch alloys and rear spoiler. Parking sensors become standard for all models.
2005: S limited edition (based on XK8 or XKR) has new choice of interior and exterior colour schemes plus 19-inch alloys.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• jaguardriver.co.uk
• www.jec.org.uk
• www.xkec.co.uk
 
Summary and prices
 
With low prices, and excellent specialist support, it really is a great time to buy a Jaguar XK8, and there are cars out there to suit most budgets. If you’re feeling very brave, there are quite a few examples from just £2000. Beware though; you’ll almost certainly need to spend the same again to get the car into road-worthy condition. Spend £4000-£8000 to begin with, and there’s a great choice of metal on the market. The very best standard models will command up to around £12,000. 
 
The much sportier XKR model carries a slight premium, with decent cars generally sitting between the £9000-£12,000 mark. Top low-mileage examples are still trading for north of £15,000. 
 
Words: Richard Dredge
Jaguar XK8 Jaguar XK8 Jaguar XK8 Jaguar XK8 Jaguar XKR
Last updated: 6th Jan 2016
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Jaguar XK8
4978 21995 GBP
  • JAGUAR XK8 CONVERTIBLE Auto

    £16,995 £16,995

    Type: Used Year: 1994 Make: JAGUAR Model: XK8 Trim: CONVERTIBLE Auto Body: Convertible Trans: Automatic Mileage: 72000 Engine Size: 3980 Ext Color: Blue

    • Mileage: 72000 mi
    • Engine size: 3980
    For sale
    £16,995 £16,995
    Philip Welch
    01905409827 View contact number
  • Jaguar Xk8 2002

    £7,995 £7,995

    Xk8 excellent con allround fsh black leather int  12 months mot  may take xj6/8 in p/x excellent tyres very clean all round inside and out and under the bonnet wax oiled  built in phone /6 stack cd player  20 inch detroit alloys 

    • Mileage: 71000 mi
    • Engine size: 3996
    For sale
    £7,995 £7,995
  • 1999 JAGUAR XK8 4.0 V8 COUPE 2DR Automatic

    £7,950 £7,950

    Finished in ice frost metallic with ivory leather,a rare find with low ownership,fully stamped jaguar service history,last owner 4 years who kept service history up with jaguar specialist ,comes with all the service invoices and mots,the important cam tensioners and timing chain done,every maintenance invoice present.must be viewed,stunning condition,always garaged so no corrosion ,will increase in value,full dealer facilities please call scott james on 07831440991.

    • Year: 1999
    For sale
    £7,950 £7,950
  • 2002 Jaguar XK8 Coupe

    £10,995 £10,995

    This stunning metallic Light Blue XK8 Coupe was supplied new by Stratstone of Mayfair, Park Lane, London on 4th March 2002. The first four services were carried out by Guy Salmon Jaguar, North London at 9323, 20669, 30448 and 40276 miles and the dealership changed hands to HR Owen prior to the Jaguar being serviced for the fifth time at 49184 miles. Jaguar dealership Hatfields of Sheffield serviced the car at 59618 miles and since then the car has been maintained by various garages that have stamped the service book at 69904, 82149 and 87104 miles. We sold the car the last owner, a classic car enthusiast in Lincolnshire and serviced the car at 91,000 prior to his ownership. In three years the XK8 has performed faultlessly, has been completely reliable and has covered 9000 miles. The car has come back to us in part exchange against an XK8 Convertible and the V5 now records four former keepers and is HPI clear. It comes with its original handbooks, manuals, current road tax and advisory free MOT certificate. The Jaguar was driven to us from Matlock, Derbyshire when it came to us for the first time in 2014. Three years later it has driven to us from Market Rasen and has arrived in exc

    • Year: 2002
    • Mileage: 40276 mi
    For sale
    £10,995 £10,995
  • JAGUAR XK8 COUPE 2005

    £9,495 £9,495

    2005 Jaguar XK8 4.2 Coupe. Last Of The Classic Shape. 70,000 Miles. Metallic Platinum Silver. Warm Charcoal Leather Interior. Huge Specification: Satellite Navigation. Bluetooth. 20" Sepang Alloy Wheels. Electric / Heated Seats (Driver's Memory Function). Adaptive Forward Alert Cruise Control. Alpine Premium Sound. XKR Mesh Grille. Upgrade XKR Brakes. Park Distance Control. Last Serviced May 2017 - Including New Brake Discs and Pads. A Rare Example. Part Exchange Considered.

    • Mileage: 70000 mi
    • Engine size: 4.196
    For sale
    £9,495 £9,495
  • Jaguar XK8 cabriolet 2000

    €19,950(£0) €19,950(£0)

    Jaguar XK8 cabriolet 2000 British Racing Green New delivery of this Jaguar XK8 cabriolet was in 2000. The car is in a very beautiful condition. The car has British Racing Green paint and beige leather interior. The car also has fabulous alloy wheels, electrical seats, cruise control and climate control. This XK8 has only driven 71600 Miles. Car has USA title and document importduties for every EU country are paid by us. Documentation is complete for registration in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importduties. We can help with transport. Trading in, buying and consignment possible.

    • Year: 2000
    For sale
    €19,950(£0) €19,950(£0)
  • Jaguar XK8 Convertible 2001 4.0

    POA POA

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT Jaguar XK8 Convertible 4.0 V8 2001, 130.000 km first owner This originally in Holland in 2001 delivered Jaguar XK8 has had only 1 owner since then. The car has beautiful black paint with light metal wheels. This Jaguar has the original 4.0 V8 engine and automatic gearbox. Recently the car has had major maintenance and so has the automatic gearbox. The XK8 stands for luxury and that shows in the interior: wooden dashboard with beige leather seats. The car is provided with a lot of comfort such as electric adjustable seats, navigation and seat heating. This marvellous convertible has driven only 130.000 km (demonstrable) and is ready for a lot more comfortable rides. Car has Holland title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any import taxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 2001
    For sale
    POA POA