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Buyers Guide to:

Jaguar XK8

Useful Info


1996 to 2005

Fuel Type


Engine Sizes


Engine Type


Drive Configuration


Jaguar Drivers’ Club

Jaguar Enthusiasts Club

Just Kampers

01256 862288,


Similar in style and purpose to the Aston Martin DB7, the Jaguar XK8 was launched at the 1996 Geneva Motor Show where it wowed crowds with its sleek looks and powerful engine. Featuring a modi ed Jaguar XJS platform, the 4.0-litre AJ26 V8 engine produced 294bhp and this was joined in 1998 by the supercharged XK-R with 375bhp. The XK could be had in coupe and convertible body styles, with both models boasting a luxurious interior and impressive performance. 2003 saw the introduction of new 4.2-litre AJ34 V8 engines in both naturally-aspirated and supercharged forms and production ended two years later after more than 90,000 had been made.

  1. 1. Wheel arches
  2. 2. Sills

The Checklist

  • The panels for scrapes and dents, and for blocked drain holes that lead to rot. And have a look behind the plastic wheel arch liners if possible as they could be hiding corrosion
  • For stone-chipping around the nose – it’s common so don’t be surprised if there’s been some pain recti cation in the past. It’s not a problem unless required because of accident damage
  • The condition of the paintwork as it can suffer from peeling lacquer and a re-spray will be needed
  • For damage to the bumpers. The low-slung driving position hampers visibility and they are prone to picking up scuffs and scrapes, especially at the rear. Mountings can rot through so check they are securely attached
  • Whether a new engine has been fitted. Early cars suffered from worn Nikasil cylinder liners (steel items were fitted later) and many engines were replaced by Jaguar under warranty; there should be a sticker/tag present to signify replacement but get a specialist check if you’re unsure of the history
  • For evidence of timing chain replacement. Rattles from cold are a sign that things are worn and early plastic tensioners could fail with catastrophic results; steel items used later are fine and changing the whole lot means a four- gure bill
  • Whether the water pump has been replaced
  • as the plastic ones used in early engines could break up. And look for any signs of overheating or a corroded radiator as it could have led to head gasket damage
  • For signs of poor running or dashboard warning lights. Failure of the throttle bodies and engine management ECU/sensors aren’t uncommon
  • That the automatic transmission changes gear smoothly and without hesitation. 4.0 cars used a Mercedes unit with a ZF ‘box fitted to 4.2 cars, and although ‘sealed for life’ regular fluid and filter changes are advisable. A replacement costs thousands so be wary of any issues
  • For leaking or sagging dampers and for any noises from the suspension that indicates wear in the bushes and joints. Front wishbone bushes can go in as little as 20,000 miles and lead to steering play, and anti-roll bar drop links are common trouble spots, too. And make sure there are no issues with the CATS (Computer Active Technology Suspension) suspension if fitted as repairs are costly
  • The wheels for kerb damage that could have affected wheel alignment. The wheels could also be suffering from peeled lacquer and unsightly corrosion, so budget for refurbishment if things looks scruffy. And if cheap tyres are fitted, where else has the maintenance been skimped?
  • There are no knocks from the steering column. It’s known to wear on pre-2000 models and you’ll need to fit the later item which is far from cheap
  • For worn brakes and for the drone of tired wheel bearings. The XK8 is a heavy car and hard use will quickly take its toll
  • The cabin, looking for cracks and worn bolsters on the leather seats and for damage to the wood veneer. Professional refurbishment is costly so don’t assume a tatty interior will be easy to sort. And check beneath cabin and boot carpets for signs of damp
  • All of the electrics as there is plenty to go wrong with expensive consequences. Pay particular attention to the climate control system, and make sure that the windows drop and return when the doors are opened as the mechanism can fail
  • That the central locking remotes are working; if the battery goes flat a code re-set by a dealer or specialist is usually required

Everything Check Out?

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