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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Fast, classy cruiser for the seriously moneyed

Against It's cramped and its engines gulp fuel

Verdict One of the poshest ways of having the wind ruffle your hair

Go for… XK8

Avoid… XKR

Jaguar XK Convertible
  • 1. The boot isn’t big, but there’s space for a weekend’s luggage, roof up or down
  • 2. Have a good close look at the hood. If the motor fails or the fabric is torn, repairs will cost a mint
  • 3. Older engines can suffer bore wear – watch for misfires and exhaust smoke as you blip the throttle
  • 4. Check any timing belt rattles - a relatively cheap repair to the tensioner can prevent a much dearer engine rebuild
  • 5. If the gearchanges are less than smooth, walk away - the gearbox may need an expensive rebuild
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Jaguar XK Convertible full review with expert trade views

This is one of the best-looking luxury soft-tops you can buy - almost a dead ringer for the Aston Martin DB7, but much cheaper to buy.

The eight-cylinder engine burbles heartily and unleashes powerful acceleration with a prod of the throttle. That said, driving an XK8 is all about covering big distances effortlessly rather than charging about town, although 300bhp is enough to make it quick when need be. If you still want more, however, there’s the 400bhp XKR, although these are rare and incredibly expensive to run.

The leather-and-wood cabin is as sumptuous as you’d expect of a luxury Jaguar, but it's cramped, with no legroom to speak of for passengers in the back. The hood lowers quickly and, top down, the cabin remains serene even at speed; but it feels claustrophobic. The boot isn’t big, either, although there’s space for a weekend’s luggage, roof up or down.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Last face-lift cars are favourite. Deprecation is heavy so good value

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

Choose between the standard XK8 with its 4.2 V8, auto gearbox and 300bhp, or the XKR, which has a supercharged version of the same engine producing 400bhp. It, too, has an automatic transmission, although it's quite different from the one fitted to the ‘standard’ car, emphasising the car's sporty nature.

All XK8s have wood dashes, leather seats, climate control and everything else you’d expect in a luxury car. Beyond that, many first owners indulged in the long and lavish options' list, so you’ll find what’s fitted varies considerably from car to car.

So, shop around for your ideal combination of gadgets and gizmos, and go for the newest car you can. In 2003, the engines were improved and, a year later, Jaguar face-lifted the car.

Perhaps more importantly, you should worry about the car's colour. Picking the right one can add thousands to the price when you resell. Silver is reliable, as is copper, metallic blue or green, but black or non-metallic red cars sell for less.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Premium and S Limited edition are good for retail as is any convertible

James Ruppert
Used car guru

If you need to ask, you probably shouldn’t be buying. While XK running costs aren’t quite in the same league as a Ferrari's, routine servicing is expensive, as are spare parts. And, unfortunately, older XKs tend to need regular repairs.

One way to cut costs is to use a specialist garage rather than pay sky-high main dealer labour rates. You’ll find one by joining an enthusiasts’ web forum and finding a garage that owners rate highly.

Insurance is expensive, too: the XK8 falls in group 20, and you'll need to contact a specialist for - even more expensive - cover on the XKR.

To cap it all, these cars guzzle petrol. Officially, the XK8 will manage up to 24.9mpg overall, and the XKR 22.9mpg, but you’ll need to drive very gently to see anywhere near these figures.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Last face-lift cars are favourite. Deprecation is heavy so good value

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

There’s plenty to go wrong and you should expect it to. According to the What Car?/Warranty Direct Reliability Index, Jaguars aren’t reliable and are costly to fix. Watch that hood in particular. If the motor fails or the fabric tears, repairs will cost a mint.

Older engines can suffer bore wear – watch for misfires and exhaust smoke as you blip the throttle. Timing chain rattles also need some investigation because a relatively cheap repair to the tensioner can prevent a much dearer engine rebuild.

You may need to budget for rebuilding the gearbox after a few years. If its shifts are anything less than smooth, it’s time to spend plenty. Or, perhaps walk away from the car you're test driving.

When buying, a full service history is invaluable, but you should also check that every switch and gadget operates because even minor repairs can mount up. Scratches or rips in the cabin can also cost more than you’d guess to sort out.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Premium and S Limited edition are good for retail as is any convertible

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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