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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 cars for sale

14 Search results
Jaguar XK8
5949 32995 GBP
  • Jaguar-XK8 4.2 L V8 2 + 2 Cabriolet-2004

    €10,000 - €13,000 est. (£8,658 - £11,255.40 est.) €10,000 - €13,000 est. (£8,658 - £11,255.40 est.)
    Online Auction
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    Catawiki Auctions
  • Jaguar XK8 cabriolet 1998

    €21,950(£19,004.31) €21,950(£19,004.31)

    Jaguar XK8 cabriolet 1998, 108.000 km, 2 owners This chic Jaguar XK8 was delivered in a beautiful silvergrey paint and original aluminium Jaguar Wheels. This Jaguar has had only 2 owners since 1998. The powerful V8 engine with 280HP is very well maintained and fully checked in our workshop. The luxurious interior has black leather and beautiful walnut dashboard. The Jaguar offers a lot of comfort and has an automatic gearbox which makes this Jaguar drive even more comfortable. The Jaguar XK8 cabriolet is a perfect car for touring. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any import taxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1998
    For sale
  • Jaguar XK8 cabriolet 1997

    €21,950(£19,004.31) €21,950(£19,004.31)

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT Jaguar XK8 cabriolet 1997 in marvellous condition 130.000 KM This marvellous Jaguar XK8 was delivered in British Racing Green metallic paint and original aluminium Jaguar wheels. In 2008 this Jaguar was repainted and since then, technics are revised (Invoices for more than € 16.000,- are present). The V8 engine has 280 HP and is linked to an automatic gearbox which makes this car drive very comfortable. The XK8 has a beautiful interior with beige leather and wooden dashboard, pure luxury. This Jaguar is a car for fans and garantees a lot of driving fun. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any import taxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1997
    For sale
  • Jaguar XK8 Convertible

    £32,995 £32,995

    The 4196cc V8 produces 300hp at 6,000rpm, shifting this luxury cruiser from 0-60mph in little over six seconds. The under-bonnet area remains extremely clean and free from any marking to the plastic engine covers. The visible components remain in pristine condition and present just as they did when new. Power is transferred to rear wheels via a smooth 6-speed automatic gearbox.

    • Year: 2006
    • Mileage: 10368 mi
    For sale
  • 1998 Jaguar XK8 4.0 Convertible


    (SOLD) This crisp XK8 is a one family owned car since new, and is in great original condition. With a popular color combination of a topaz exterior with a bone interior and a beautiful burl walnut dash, this XK8 convertible is ready for the road!

    • Year: 1998
    • Mileage: 27879 mi
    For sale
  • Jaguar XK8

    £5,949 £5,949

    ABS, Immobiliser, Traction Control, Central Locking, Power Steering, Electric Windows, Trip Computer, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Alloy wheels, Full service history GREEN, Finished In British Racing Green With Complimenting Cream Leather Interior With Walnut Wood Trim. Leather/Walnut Wood Trim Covered Steering Wheel With Adjustable Steering Column, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Driver/Passenger Seats Electric Height, Tilt & Slide With Lumbar Support. Electric Windows, Electrically Adjustable Door Mirrors, Automatic Headlights, Digital Climate Control With Air-Conditioning, Trip Computer, Leather Covered Centre Arm Rest With Storage Compartment, Factory Fitted Dolby Radio/Tape Player, Front & Rear Fog, Front & Rear Heated Windscreens, Bluetooth Phone Connectivity, Rear Isofix Child Restraints, Traction Control, ABS, Power Steering, Factory Fitted Alarm, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Rear Parking Sensors, 17'' Revolver Alloy Wheels. This Jaguar XK8 4.0l V8 Comes With Full Service History, Fully HPI Clear With A Report Supplied & MOT History Check. For Sat Nav Use BS49 5JG Please Call Before Travelling To Check Availability. Other Models In Range; XKR, XK, XK8., £5,949 p/x welcome

    • Mileage: 64000 mi
    • Engine size: 3996
    For sale
  • JAGUAR XK8 4.2 2dr Auto

    £10,990 £10,990

    Type: Used Year: 2004 Make: JAGUAR Model: XK8 Trim: 4.2 2dr Auto Body: Coupe Trans: Automatic Mileage: 79368 Engine Size: 4200 Ext Color: Quartz

    • Mileage: 79368 mi
    • Engine size: 4200
    For sale
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