Premium sporty/performance car; Built in England
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door coupe
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,800 – $25,500*

1997 Jaguar XK8 coupe

1998 Jaguar XK8 coupe

1997 Jaguar XK8 interior

1998 Jaguar XK8 convertible

2000 Jaguar XKR convertible

  • Acceleration
  • Build quality
  • Exterior finish
  • Interior materials
  • Quietness
  • Ride
  • Entry/exit
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Rear visibility

As their fans know full well, these two offer refined performance in an elegant, luxurious package that should stand the test of time for visual appeal. All things considered, the XK8 is an attractively priced automobile, despite the high numbers shown in the chart.


Styling of the new XK8 luxury coupe and convertible was clearly inspired by Jaguar’s famous old XK-E (E-Type) sports car of the 1960s. Unveiled for 1997, the rear-drive sport Jaguars replaced the XJS design that had been around for 21 years. In fact, the new models also bore some kinship to the XJS, using part of its rear-drive platform and the same basic suspension, and riding a nearly identical wheelbase. Jaguar claimed a 25 percent increase in body stiffness over the XJS. Jaguar’s first V8 engine went under the hood, a 4.0-liter aluminum unit with twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Also new was the 5-speed automatic transmission, from the German ZF company. In its novel console-mounted “J-gate,” a 2-plane shift quadrant permitted manual gear selection when the lever was moved to the left-side slot. Dual front airbags and antilock 4-wheel disc brakes were standard, along with speed-sensitive power steering. The 17-inch wheels held Z-rated tires.The convertible has a fully lined power soft top with glass window and electric defroster. Both models had Automatic Stability Control, which throttled back engine power to maintain traction during low-grip conditions. Full traction control, which also applied brakes as needed, was part of an optional All-Weather Package that included heated seats and headlamp washers. The only other options were a trunk-mounted 6-disc CD player, premium 240-watt Harman-Kardon audio system, custom paint, and chrome wheels. Rivals included the Cadillac Eldorado, Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, and Lexus SC 300/400.

Yearly Updates

1998 XK8
Jaguar’s sport-luxury duo added a few features this season, including automatic on/off headlamps and a security system with engine immobilizer to prevent “hot wiring.” Steering-wheel controls operated the cruise, audio, and optional telephone functions, and a more ergonomic audio unit had an integrated phone keypad.
1999 XK8
No changes were evident for 1999.
2000 XK8
Jaguar added something new for 2000: a supercharged XKR model with a 370-horsepower engine, plus functional hood louvers and a rear spoiler. An XK8 could now be equipped with optional 18-inch wheels, and a satellite navigation system became available. This year, traction control used the previously optional design that modulated throttle and brakes, not the former throttle-only system.
2001 XK8
New for 2001 were a Silverstone coupe and convertible with larger wheels and brakes and unique cosmetic touches. All models got revised styling and seats, plus Jaguar’s Reverse Park Control that warned of obstacles when backing up. XK8s now included heated front seats and premium audio with CD changer like the XKRs. XKRs also made an in-dash navigation system standard.
2002 XK Series
The XK Series gained a limited-edition anniversary model for 2002. Commemorating the 1902 birth of Jaguar founder William Lyons, the new XKR 100 came with 20-inch wheels, Brembro-brand brakes, Recaro-brand seats, and exclusive interior and exterior trim.
2003 XK Series
The 4.0-liter V8 was replaced with a 4.2-liter V8 with slightly more power: 294 horsepower for the XK8, 390 for the supercharged XKR. Both mate to a new 6-speed automatic transmission. Late in the model year Jaguar added adaptive cruise control to the options list.
2004 XK Series
Jaguar produced 200 XKR convertibles in Portfolio trim with 20-inch wheels, Recaro-brand seats, and unique wood interior trim for 2004.
2005 XK Series
Appearance changes to the grille, wheels, and tailpipes mark the 2005 alterations to Jaguar’s XK Series.
2006 XK Series
New for ’06 is a pair of Victory Limited Edition packages for coupes. The XK8’s Victory package includes upgraded leather upholstery, carbon-fiber cabin accents, a wireless connection to cell phones, special exterior trim, and 19-inch chrome wheels. The XKR Victory package adds 20-inch wheels and uprated brakes.


longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Only one powertrain has been used in the XK8: a dual-overhead-cam aluminum V8, producing 290 horsepower, coupled to a 5-speed automatic transmission operated by a shift gate at the console. A supercharged engine went into the limited-production XKR for 2000, delivering 370 horsepower. In ’03 Jagur enlarged the V8s to 4.2-liters. Horsepower increased to 294 on the XK8 and 390 on the XJR. Jag also took the opportunity to replace the 5-speed automatic with a more fuel-efficient 6-speed unit.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/244
Engine HP 290
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 290
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic



dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.2/256
Engine HP 294
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 303
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic



Supercharged dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/244
Engine HP 370
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 387
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic



Supercharged dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.2/256
Engine HP 390
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 399
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic



Road Test

To a large degree, the XK8 feels and behaves like a modernized XJS–not exactly a surprise. The cabin, for instance, is a similarly low-slung cocoon whose bulky center console, narrow front footwells, and shallow side glass can make even medium-size adults feel closed-in.

These Jaguars are too heavy and too softly suspended to be real sports cars. Body roll is a little too abundant in tight corners. Even so, they deliver an entertaining experience on twisty roads and an easy ride just about anywhere–firm yet absorbent, with little impact harshness. The silken V8 engine is an absolute gem–nearly silent at idle and never louder than a muted, classy growl. As for performance, a test coupe with the 4.0-liter V8 vaulted to 70 mph in less than 7 seconds. New 4.2-liter models are quicker yet. Jaguar claimed the supercharged XKR could accelerate to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Fuel economy suffers. Expect about 16 mpg in the XKR and just under 20 mpg in the XK8.

Beware if you’re tall or claustrophobic, as interior room is tight even up front. The back seat in either model is strictly toddler-size or for cargo. As for actual trunk space, there’s just enough for two people on a weekend jaunt, provided they pack light and use soft luggage. In a word, skimpy. Entry/exit is no picnic, thanks to the low body, wide door sills, and on the driver’s side, an outboard handbrake lever. Once inside, you’ll find comfortable seats plus an attractive dashboard that present logical switches and large, legible gauges. Seats hug one’s body just enough to inhibit sliding around during exuberant driving. Ford has owned Jaguar for quite a few years now, and it shows in the XK8’s solid, all-of-a-piece feel–including the convertible. Both models feel solid over rough roads, and the convertible is one of the tightest, most flex-free around these days.


Model Tested: 2001 Jaguar XK8 convertible

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 7
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 1
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 2

Total: 42


2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.9 187.4 72.0 51.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
9.5 19.9 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.0 33.1 43.0 23.1
2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.9 187.4 72.0 51.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.1 19.9 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.4 33.3 43.0 23.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 XK8 2-door convertible


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 45
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 185
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: The company is replacing the 5-speed automatic transmissions whenever they are in the shop for other service due to an unspecified problem that could lead to a failure. (1999)
Automatic transmission
Description: The 5-speed transmission may make noise when accelerating in low range or lose reverse or drive. Jaguar is replacing them during other routine maintenance. (1998)
Description: Nylon grease deflector on front-rotor hubs collects dirt, which damages the seal. (1997-98)
Description: Chafing of the wiring harness near the seatback may cause failed power seat fuses. A harness repair kit is available. (1997-99)

Recall History

Description: Differential output-shaft retaining ring on rear suspension can become displaced, allowing shaft to become detached; rear suspension would then collapse on the affected side.
Description: Operating instructions for the vehicle’s headlamps may be missing or unclear. Dealers will distribute an owner’s manual addendum.
Description: Cable adjuster bracket on outer sleeve of throttle cable can become displaced from cable abutment bracket on engine.
Description: On small number of cars, fine cracks in gear teeth of geartrain inside transmission can result in breakage of teeth, causing transmission to “lock up” below 15 mph.
2006 XK
Description: Acceleration pedal arms were assembled incorrectly, causing a higher possibility that the acceleration pedal might be pushed when the driver intends to push the stop pedal. Dealer will inspect and replace if necessary.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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