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Jaguar XK

Published: 7th May 2013 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK
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Famous XK name given to a fully deserving model that’s still in production and astonishing value for money second-hand. Great to look at and to drive, it’s the closest Jaguar came to making a fitting successor to the E-type – before the F-type!

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Luxury cars cost plenty to buy new, but they depreciate at a horrific rate; it’s the natural order of things. So when you’ve got a car that costs the thick end of 60 grand (or more), it’s inevitable that are after just a few short years its value will have shrunk to just a fraction of that original asking price. So if you’re wondering why we’re running a buying guide in a classic magazine, on a car that’s not even celebrated its 10th birthday and is still available new, it’s because some cars are born to be collectable. Cars like the Jaguar XK. And let’s face it – this is just a fabulous piece of machinery.

While the XK8 had catapulted Jaguar into the modern era after the antiquated XJS, it was still compromised in numerous ways. For starters the XK8 was too closely related to the XJ-S for comfort, so when Jaguar more or less started with a clean sheet, the result was a grand tourer that looked sharper, drove better and offered better practicality, even if the rear seats were still utterly pointless. Gone was the old steel bodyshell, succeeded by an aluminium-bodied shell that promised greater efficiency and much sharper dynamics. With a snarling V8 and rocket-ship performance, the XK is an undisputed classic, despite its youth – and you can buy one from just £15,000 if you know where to look.


The XK8 picked up the baton from the XJS in 1996; a decade later, in January 2006 it in turn was replaced by the almost completely new XK. From the outset there was a choice of coupé or convertible body styles, and whichever you opted for it would come with Jaguar’s excellent AJ V8 in 300bhp 4.2-litre form.

Although the XK could manage 0-62mph in just six seconds, and 155mph flat out (a speed limiter stopped the fun at that point), that didn’t stop Jaguar from introducing an even hotter model. September 2006 The 420bhp XKR is introduced. The power came from the same 4.2-litre V8, but this time with an Eaton supercharger strapped on. Again there was a choice of open or closed editions.

May 2008 Next up came the XK60 to celebrate 60 years of the XK brand; it was in 1948 that this car’s great grandfather appeared, in the form of the XK120.

These cars aren’t worth a premium to be honest, but it is worth tracking down an XK with the right spec. If you can find a Portfolio edition, which also came out in May 2006, you’ll have every creature comfort you could possibly want.

January 2009 Even better though is the facelifted XK, first seen at the start of the year. While the earlier XK isn’t lacking in any way, the revised model looked even sharper and packed an all-new 5-litre V8; it gave 380bhp in the XK and an astonishing 503bhp in the XKR, for truly searing performance. Other changes to the XK included a redesigned nose, LED rear lights and JaguarDrive the latter offering adjustable chassis settings.

Unless you’re totally unhinged, you’re not going to find a 5.0 XKR lacking in performance terms, but if you’re an ultimate sort of person, you won’t settle for anything less than an XK-RS. This 174mph variant first appeared in spring 2008, limited to just 200 units, but three years later the formula was revived as a regular production model. And this time, thanks to its 542bhp, it was capable of an utterly loopy 186mph.


Evo magazine ran an early 4.2 coupé for a year, racking up nearly 22,000 miles in the process – and loving pretty much every one of them. They found the car still tight and rattle-free after that time, all who drove the XK, revelled in the smoothness of the gearbox along with the speed of its cog swaps, despite being a self shifter.

Most also loved the ride/handling balance as well; no longer did Jaguar feel compelled to fit a soft suspension which invariably led to dynamic disappointment.

It also helped that the car was fitted with CATS adaptive suspension, as with most of these XKs, and all XKRs.

As if the monthly’s experiences weren’t positive enough, the car’s efficiency was also highly praised, with 25+mpg frequently seen on a run – despite the prodigious performance on tap. So dynamically the XK was viewed as a total success, if more GT than outright supercar, but electrical glitches soured the relationship a bit. Though not enough to cause a few pangs of pain when the car went back.

While Evo reckoned the XK was all the Jag you needed, the ever critical Car wasn’t so sure; the magazine claimed the supercharged model was the only one to have. While the performance benefit was obvious, that 40 per cent power hike wasn’t the only reason to choose the blown model; the throttle response and supercharger whine were utterly addictive, but you only really get the benefits of these if you’re a press-on driver.

If Car was keen on the XKR 4.2, it was even more so with the XK 5.0, which was almost as powerful. Improvements
to the engine management system and the adoption of direct injection improved efficiency further; particular praise was reserved for the superb six-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The XKR 5.0 also benefitted from these improvements too, along with the revised interior that saw more premium-grade materials than ever.


One of the key things to bear in mind with the XK is that unlike most of the classics we cover, it’s still depreciating – and if you buy a newer car, it’s going to shed more of its value. So sink £25,000 into an XK and you’re likely to see its value halve over the next few years.

However, you don’t need to find £25k to secure an XK; if you don’t mind settling for an early high-mileage coupé, you can buy one for just £14,000 if you search hard enough. But increase your budget by just £1000 and you’ll have more cars to choose from, although most examples are priced from £16,500. Scrape together £18,000 and you can start to think about convertibles, but if you prefer speed over the wind in your hair, an XKR could be yours from £20,000.

The ultimate 4.2-litre cars – in terms of price – is an XKR convertible, for which you can expect to pay upwards of £22,000. That’s a fair bit of cash, but when you look at what you’re getting for your money, it represents something of a bargain – although in three years’ time the chances are the value will have dropped by at least a third.

The most costly XKs are the 5.0-litre models, which can be picked up for as little as £25,000 if you don’t mind something that’s racked up 80,000 miles.

You’re more likely to find cars that have done under 40,000 miles though, which sell for upwards of £30,000 – and if you want a convertible edition you’ll need to add 10 per cent to this figure. There are very few XK-RSs to choose from; prices start at £60,000, but there are few available for less than £70,000, while convertibles cost at least £75,000.


While you can fit aftermarket wheels and bodykits, the XK’s purity – at least in early form – is one of its greatest assets, so messing with it seems rather pointless. So too is trying to upgrade the car in
any significant way, because instead of spending money on upgrades you’re better off just buying the right spec of car in the first place. After all, there are power options from 300bhp right the way up to well over 500bhp, and there are enough cars around to get the spec you want. You might have to be prepared to search and travel for the right car, but you’ll definitely be better off taking this route than buying an entry-level car and sinking cash into making it even better.

We Reckon...

With the XK you don’t have to sacrifice beauty to enjoy brawn. Even the entry-level model is fast, looks fantastic and is solidly built, and generally reliable too. But such a complex car can still go wrong, so it’s essential that you delve into the service history of any potential buy. It’s also worth getting an insurance quote before you even start looking at cars for sale; cover can be extremely costly. However, there are some pleasures in life for which it’s worth making sacrifices, and the latest Jaguar XK certainly is one of them.

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