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Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8 Published: 11th Jan 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jaguar XK8
Jaguar XK8
Jaguar XK8
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Successor to the XJ-S, it evokes memories of the E-type due to similar classic looks and values of these top cats are on the rise

While it’s taken almost 40 years for the XJ-S to reach classic status, the XK8 looks like making it in half the time. That’s no real surprise as, unlike the predecessor, the XK8 always had style on its side plus has far more the spirit of the iconic E-type about it. The past year has seen a notable shift in XK8 values so now’s the right time to buy this MGB-priced super car before they become out of reach. True, you can always buy cheap – there’s plenty around – but that’s not wise and it will sour the fantastic owning experience on offer…

Dates to remember

1996

Replaces the XJ-S, albeit still using same basic platform. Power now comes from Jag’s all new 4-litre V8 liberating 290bhp; all are automatic but it’s a new five-speed design. Jaguar’s CATS (Computer Active Technology Suspension) pack is optional on coupés but standard fare on convertibles.

1998

Scalded cat XKR arrives either as coupé or convertible. Supercharged V8 sees 370bhp.

2000

Special Silverstone edition came out in April either as a normal coupé or XKR convertible with special platinum silver paint and leather trim, 20inch BBS alloy wheels (shod with Pirelli P-Zero tyres), racing Brembo brakes and special badging. Only 100 were made.

2001

100 Special features nine spoke BBS alloys, Brembo brakes, Anthracite Paint/Warm Charcoal trim, R Performance Recaro seats, racing-looking gearshift and instrument surround and more.

2002

Larger better developed 4.2-litre engine is fitted across all models allied to a new Mercedes sourced six-speed automatic transmission. Regular XK8 now yields 300bhp with usefully more torque (408lbft) while new 4.2 XKR kicks out 400bhp. Facelift in tandem sees classic leather pack and 19-inch alloy wheels.

2003

Another special edition, the 400 arrives in showrooms, based on the XKR and featuring Alcantara seat inserts plus black, silver or grey paint.

2004

Premium arrives in coupé or convertible guises, with standard xenon lights, 18-inch alloys and rear spoiler. Parking sensors are now standard for all models.

2005

Run out S limited edition has a new choice of interior and exterior colour schemes plus 19-inch alloys.

Buying advice

While budgets are always a constraint, you are probably doing yourself no favours buying something just because it’s cheap as typical repairs (such as suspension bushes) will wipe out any savings. Some 90,000 were made so there’s enough around to be picky. Rust can be an issue and most likely to be in the footwells and rear wheelarches. The key is to check the floorpans just behind the front subframe; paintwork can be patchy. Early V8 had bore wear issues but 4.2 is fine but the timing chain tensioners are still a worry.

A sloppy feel points to tired dampers and bushes; this is typical as are worn wheel bearings. Cheap tyres point to skipped servicing and care. The cabins aren’t Mercedes or BMW sturdy so become tatty all too quickly.

What makes this classic so special to drive and own in 2019?

Despite the XK8 being largely XJ-S based, it’s a vastly superior driver’s car and up to Aston DB7 standards, which shares the same underpinnings. Still essentially a GT, but the Jaguar posses sharp claws and much credit has be down to the CATS (Computer Active Technology Suspension) chassis that’s standard on the XKR and convertibles. That V8 engine is a gem, especially the 4.2 where 300bhp is the norm and a scorching 400bhp in XKR tune making the XK8 a genuine cut price super car. Cabin space is a bit short, like all Jags, but it’s still a special place to be.

Best buys & prices

Unless it’s something special, most specialists are discounting the earlier 4-litre cars in favour of the 4.2 that’s demonstrably better all round. Special edition 400 and XKR Premium will be the most collectable. XK8s can sell cheaply – usually early 4-litre models – but you need at least £5000 to buy a good, cared for version and £10K for nicer cars. XKRs are generally 25 per cent dearer – do you need the extra performance though? – convertibles perhaps a third more over a coupé. Lots around, be picky and buy on condition.

From £3000 target price £7500



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