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Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8 Published: 4th Sep 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jaguar XK8
Jaguar XK8
Jaguar XK8
Jaguar XK8
Jaguar XK8
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A better substitute for the E-type than the XJ-S ever was, the XK8 is a great alternative, if you buy well


Jaguar’s long awaited replacement for the XJ-S but with E-type overtones is now spectacular value for money. Launched after the Aston Martin DB7 but sharing the same basic design, and yet the cheaper Jag is no second stringer. But nor has that stopped the XK8 from becoming a modern-day classic bargain. Offered in coupé and convertible forms, the XK8 comes in normally aspirated (XK8) or supercharged (XKR) guises. Even the entry-level model can do 155mph, yet up to 30mpg is attainable on a more sedate run.


1996 Launched to replace the XJ-S, albeit still using same basic platform. Power now comes from Jaguar’s all new 4-litre V8 pumping out 290bhp; all are automatic but it’s a good new five-speed design. Jaguar’s CAT (Computer Aided Technology Suspension) pack is optional on coupés but standard fare on convertibles.

1998 Scalded cat XKR arrives as coupé or convertible. Supercharged for 370bhp, it outguns the iconic Le Mans D-type racer!

2002 Larger 4.2-litre engine across all ranges allied to new six-speed autoboxes. Regular XK8 yields 300bhp while new 4.2 XKR kicks out 400bhp. Facelift sees classic leather pack and 19-inch alloy wheels.


Despite being an automatic only, the XK8 is a serious GT with real pace and poise. Go for the sizzling XKR with its supercharged 370-400bhp and CATS Computer Active Technology Suspension, bigger brakes plus revised steering and you have a car that’s superior to the DB7 and yet cheaper to buy and run. Opt for a later model with a 4.2-litre V8 (AJ34) and you get practically XKR pace without a supercharger (300bhp) or go for the R and really revel in an astonishing 400bhp; 2002 cars also benefit from a six-speed ZF transmission that’s excellent. Make no mistake, the XK8 is a genuine cut-price supercar yet still retains what most want from a Jag, which is pace, grace and comfort. As for space, it’s better than the XJ-S although still a strict 2+2.


It’s universally regarded that the 4.2-litre models from mid 2002 are the best. Apart from more power and torque, there’s new Xeon lighting and the car benefited from 19-inch ‘Apollo’ wheels as standard with the XKR getting 20-inch ‘Paris’ alloys and Brembo brakes a few months earlier. A special edition 400, based on the XKR, featuring Alcantara seat inserts plus black, silver or grey paintwork (2003) with the XK8/XKR Premium a year later are worth seeking out. The S limited edition (based on either the XK8 or XKR) with a choice of interior and exterior colour schemes plus 19-inch alloys, signed the range off in style. Earlier special editions were based upon the 4.0 XKR; the Silverstone where just 50 were made in coupé or convertible forms and, for 2001, the ‘100’ limited edition, and both are worth holding out for.


We’vve seen early yet sound XK8s sell at auction for £3000 although these cats have used some of their lives up. It’s better to spend, say double this on a really nice, pampered cat that will save you money in the long run. Generally speaking, XK8s are worth less than XKRs and cabrios fetch more than coupés. Colours add value particularly Quartz Grey, Radiance Red and Racing Green. Recaro sports seats are very much worth having as are Brembo brakes, despite their higher maintenance costs.


1. CORROSION Rust is becoming an issue in the front footwells and rear wheelarches. The key is to check the floorpans just behind the front subframe, as corrosion here can be costly to fix because of the poor access.

2. ENGINE XK8s built before 2000 suffer from damaged cylinder bores through highsulphur fuel eroding the Nikasil coating. Some of these early XKs have had fresh powerplants under warranty; chassis numbers 001036 to 042775 were affected.

3. ENGINE (2) Timing gear was a major issue on the V8 with the secondary chain being thrown off after the plastic top tensioner has broken – a £1000 fix still.

4. RUNNING GEAR Wheel bearings are a weak spot as are suspension bushes and both are compounded by the ultra wide tyres XK8s regularly wear. A thorough test drive is essential.

5. TRIM Interiors can become shabby quickly. Look for tired leather and worn woodwork. Switchgear can be problematic but most are Ford sourced so easy and cheap to replace.

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