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Jaguar XK8

(1996 - 2002)  Rating

Jaguar XK8

When the Jaguar XK8 looks this good, who cares how it drives?

Engine Engine power Fuel consumption Fuel type 0-100 (0-60) Top speed
4.0 V8 32V 284 hp 11.8 l/100km Petrol 6.7 s 250 km/h
4.2 V8 32V 298 hp 11.4 l/100km Petrol 6.4 s 250 km/h
4.2 V8 32V XKR 363 hp 12.7 l/100km Petrol 5.4 s 250 km/h
4.2 V8 32V Type-R 396 hp 12.5 l/100km Petrol 5.4 s 250 km/h

Body type Coupe
Number of doors 2
Number of seats 2+2
Engine position Front
Driven wheels Rear
Length 4 776 mm
Width 2 015 mm
Height 1 306 mm
Wheelbase 2 588 mm
Ground clearance ?
Weight (normal) 1 775 kg
Weight (max) 2 160 kg
Boot space (min) 307 l
Boot space (max) ?
Fuel capacity 75 l


   The Jaguar XK8 was produced between 1996 and 2002. It was available as a coupe or convertible. It was replaced with the XK.

   The pace of the XK8, with its 298 hp 4.2-litre V8 and six-speed automatic gearbox, is more than enough for most. With a supercharger boosting the same engine's power to 396 hp, the XKR is fiendishly fast and quicker off the mark than some Porsche 911s.

   The XK8 is more a supremely civilized and smooth grand tourer than a sports car; its steering is not as communicative as a Porsche's. The XKR's suspension is computer-controlled and has a firmer set-up for even sharper handling. With the hood down (in the convertible) there is some shake and wobble through the body, though.

   Despite its massive punch, the XKR provides flowing, effortless progress. All XKs pamper and cosset their occupants, the controls operating with silky smoothness. Wind and road noise is suppressed with the hood up and the meaty roar of the V8 is engine noise worth hearing. There is some buffeting with the hood down, however.

   The sporty Jaguar's residual values are so-so for such a desirable car. It holds on to just over half its value over three years when the Porsche 911 will recoup far more after the same time. However, spare parts and servicing are reasonably priced for the class. Insurance and fuel costs will be high.

   The Jaguar's build and quality of materials are good rather than great but no major headaches should be expected. A handbrake rattle is common but easily fixed, front wheel bearings can groan, too. If you're buying used, watch out for speed bump damage. Check the car's history thoroughly, too.

   The level of standard safety equipment, however, is high, with head and side airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control as standard.

   The driver sits in the lap of luxury or at least well shaped and electrically adjustable leather-trimmed seats. The wonderfully smooth wood and leather wheel also adjusts for height and reach, but it's still a cramped driving position. The smooth automatic gearbox has a slick J-shaped gate selector for manual selection if necessary.

   There are two rear bucket seats but you have to wonder why. They are far too small to be of any use to people, although they're handy for carrying extra luggage. You may not even need them because the boot is large and a useful rectangular shape.

   You'd expect some decent equipment for the price, and you get it. The full XK range comes with leather trim, automatic transmission, cruise control, climate control, a CD multichanger and plenty of electrical gadgets. Outside the cabin the car features alloy wheels and metallic paint as standard. To rein in its power, anti-lock brakes and stability control are fitted.


   Advantages: Good enough to be a serious threat to rivals from Porsche and Mercedes, and fine value, too. Performance in either model is excellent, but its main strength is as a refined grand tourer.

   Disadvantages: Not as alert or involving as a Porsche 911 and its steering feels a touch vague at speed. Poor rear visibility makes parking tricky. Small rear seat space means it's effectively only a two-seater.

   Verdict: When it looks this good, who cares how it drives?

   Also consider: Maserati Coupe, Porsche 911.

Video of the Jaguar XK8
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Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8

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