Jaguar XK8 Coupe 1996 - 2005

Jaguar XK8 Coupe 1996 - 2005

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016


  • It is big and luxurious
  • Eye catching beauty
  • Very fast


  • Small inside
  • The running and repair costs are high


The XK is one of those cars that even after a decade of being on our roads will still make you stop and stare as it drives past. It is what you imagine James Bond and celebrities to be driving around in with its looks and presence. The handling of the XK is sublime to say the least and with stacks of power it feels just as good driving around town as it does cruising down the motorway.

Exterior and Interior

The XK looks as though it was designed especially for James Bond with its sleek lines and luxurious interior. It comes in the form of either a coupe or convertible with both being identical in almost every way apart from the fact that the convertible is a soft top. The interior is not as big as you would expect it to be from the outside and feels slightly claustrophobic when inside, especially when you are in the back seats. The good news though is that you're probably never going to be in the back as the room is so small you would be hard pressed to even get a small child in the back comfortably. The interior is extremely luxurious with its crafted leather and walnut trim throughout and a wide array of gadgetry. The boot is fairly large with enough room to fit in a couple of sets of golf clubs as well as a bag for your golfing weekend away. There was a long list of lavish options to choose from which most owners took full advantage of when they first bought it so if you are looking at a second hand model you should be able to find one full of optional extras.

Performance and Economy

The two 4.2-litre engines are extremely powerful and match the car perfectly. The XK8 engine produces 300bhp which is very quick, propelling the car from 0-60mph in just 6.3 seconds. However, if you want even more power then choose the XKR and you won't be disappointed. It has the same engine as in the XK8 but Jaguar have strapped a large turbo charger to it and it now produces 400bhp, propelling you from a standing start to 60mph in just over 5 seconds. The official fuel economy figures for the XK are 24mpg for the XK8 and 22mpg for the XKR. However, you will be lucky to achieve anywhere near this even with normal driving. The automatic gearboxes in both of the cars are perfect with the car changing gears smoothly and effortlessly. The XK8 falls into category 20 for insurance purposes and for the XKR so it will not be cheap to insure.

Like to Drive

The XK is great to drive and every time you get into you get the feeling of bliss and a real sense of occasion. The handling is great although the car doesn't like twisty country lanes too much as it was designed as a Grand Tourer rather than a sports car. The electrically controlled suspension does help to keep it firmly planted on the road and there is plenty of grip form the tyres. The steering is controlled if a bit vague at times. You will be very aware of the long bonnet though especially when driving though small spaces and the view out the back is restricted making parking a bit difficult. In the convertible, the roof is quick to be taken down or put up and once it is down it gives a serene ride even at high speeds.

Faults and Repairs

The XK hasn't been the most reliable of cars with various faults cropping up including bore wear in older engines and the timing chain coming loose. Jaguar has the most expensive services and repairs around and they will cost you a fortune to get even the smallest things fixed. If the hood or motor in the convertible fail they will cost a small fortune to repair so when buying second hand make sure it all works well before you buy it. Our advice would be to find a specialist garage to do any repairs and services as they will charge no where near as much as Jaguars main dealerships.