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Jaguar XK8 & XKR

Jaguar XK8 & XKR Published: 10th Feb 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jaguar XK8 & XKR
Jaguar XK8 & XKR
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● Amazing value ● Aston-like looks ● Great performance

In brief

Jaguar’s long awaited replacement for the XJS with E-type overtones is now super value for money. Launched just after the Aston Martin DB7 with much similarities, the Jag is no second stringer. Time has also proved that build quality and reliability were way above Jaguar’s usual levels, yet this hasn’t stopped the XK8 from becoming a modern-day classic basement bargain. Offered in coupé and convertible forms, the XK comes in normally aspirated (XK8) or supercharged (XKR) guises. Even the entry-level car does 155mph, yet 30mpg is possible.

Driving

Despite being an auto only, the XK8 is a serious GT with real pace and poise. Go for the XKR with its supercharged 370bhp and CATS (Computer Active Technology Suspension), bigger brakes and 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 the supercharger (300bhp), or opt for the R and revel in 400bhp. As all later models benefited from a six-speed ZF transmission, these are genuine cut-price supercars yet still retain what most want from a Jag, which is pace, grace and comfort. As for space, it’s better than the XJ-S but still a strict 2+2.

Best models

It’s universally regarded that the 4.2-litre models from mid 2002 are the best buys. 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 special edition 400 based on the XKR featuring Alcantara seat inserts plus black, silver or grey paintwork surfaced in 2003 with the XK8/XKR Premium a year later

The S limited edition (based on either the XK8 or XKR) in a choice of interior and exterior colour schemes plus 19-inch alloys, signs the range off in style but there are also earlier special editions based upon the 4.0 like the XKR-based Silverstone special edition where just 50 were made, in coupé and convertible forms. For 2001 the ‘100’, was introduced, again XKR-based.

Prices

We’ve seen early XK8s sell at auction for under £3000 but are well used and in need of a lot of TLC. It’s better to spend double this on a decent, pampered cat. XK8s are worth less than XKRs and across the board cabrios fetch more than coupés. Silver paint with a black interior are hard to sell unlike Quartz Grey, Radiance Red and Racing Green. Recaro sports seats are very much worth having as are the excellent performance Brembo brakes, despite their high repair costs. Top cats are known to make figures so the tide is turning.

Buying advice

Look for a history, with maintenance by a good specialist. Corrosion shouldn’t be an issue, any exceptions being very early cars which can suffer 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. XK8s built before 2000 can suffer from damaged cylinder bores through high-sulphur fuel eroding the Nikasil coating. Some of these early XKs have had fresh powerplants fitted under warranty; chassis numbers 001036 to 042775 were affected. What remains an issue is the secondary timing chain being thrown off after the plastic tensioner has cracked. Wheel bearings a weak spot ditto suspension bushes. Interiors too often shabby.



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