Jaguar XK8 (1996-2006)

The Jaguar XK8 made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1996 and was the long awaited replacement for Jaguars XJS model. Using the brand new V8 engine the Jaguar XK8 was said to be a true replacement for the world famous E-Type that was discontinued back in 1975.

Performance of the XK8 is excellent with the new 32 valve 4.0 litre V8 engine capable of 0 to 60 mph in just over 6 seconds and top speeds limited to 155 mph which out guns BMW and Mercedes comparative cars. The XK8 is not a sports car though it’s a luxurious Grand Tourer packed with all that’s good about Jaguar interior including leather upholstery, automatic climate control, trip computer and memory seats to name but a few provided for the Jaguar owner. Body and power train are 25% stiffer assuring rigidity when driving and the new CATS system (Computer Active Technology Suspension) will keep you on the road no matter what.

The Jaguar XK8 is a bit of a bargain in today’s used car market and it’s safe to say you would get a whole lot of car for your money.

Buyers Guide

If you want looks, refinement, power and performance at the right price then a Jaguar XK8 is the car for you. You can own a Jaguar super car for the price of a Ford Mondeo. Heritage Classic Car Insurance is here to give you some tips for finding the best Jaguar XK8 for your money.

Body work on the Jaguar XK8 is normally solid but paint lacquer is prone to peeling so check every panel for signs of this. The only real solution is a costly re spray so bare this in mind. Lower down the body check the sills for rust in the joint directly below the door handle. This can crack due to body flex. Look out for cracks in the headlights as these are expensive to replace. Rust can also be found under the plastic splash guards around wheel arches so check thoroughly.

Early XK8 engines were renowned to fail which was due to a combination of the Nikasil liners being exposed to high sulphur fuels. The tell tale signs were noticeable performance drop and starting problems with cars that only did short journeys more susceptible. This resulted in many of the engines being replaced with steel lined replacement engines and will have a plate on the crank case saying ‘Genuine Jaguar Exchange Product’.

Upper chain tensioners are prone to failure as these are plastic but can be replaced for steel ones. If the cars history does not show replacement tensioners in the documentation then it would be beneficial to get them replaced. One piece water pumps should be replaced by two piece versions as the former can fail and break resulting in a broken engine.

Interiors are hard wearing with driver bolsters the only sign of use. Check all the electrics are operating correctly and make sure windows seal properly when closed.

Jaguar XK8


Years Produced1996 - 2006
Performance0 - 60mph 6.4 sec / Top Speed - 155mph
Power & Torque 290 bhp / 290 Ib ft
Engine3996 V8 32 Valves
Drive-train Front Engine RWD
TransmissionFive speed auto
Weight1653 kg



Interesting Fact

Jaguars iconic mascot known as ‘the leaper’ was once bonnet furniture on earlier Jags but these days due to European safety laws it has been omitted from newer models.

Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:

“Cars of the 1990’s are now becoming potential classic especially credible models of prestigious manufacturers, The Jaguar XK8 is undoubtedly one such example of a classic car of the future.”

mark says

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