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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Big, luxurious cruiser that’s beautiful to behold

Against Older models can present owners with frightening repair bills

Verdict It has huge presence and ample power, but threatens big bills when things need doing

Go for… XK8

Avoid… XKR

Jaguar XK Coupe
  • 1. Older engines can suffer bore wear – watch for misfires and exhaust smoke as you blip the throttle, and oil that needs topping up weekly
  • 2. Check any timing belt rattles - a relatively cheap repair to the tensioner can prevent a much dearer engine rebuild
  • 3. If the gearchanges are less than smooth, walk away - the gearbox may need an expensive rebuild
  • 4. Scratches or rips in the cabin can cost more than you’d guess to sort out
  • 5. Space in the rear is cramped, to say the least. Treat the car as a two-seater
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Jaguar XK Coupe full review with expert trade views

It’s a two-plus-two coupe in the classic mould – 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.

However, driving an XK8 is all about covering big distances effortlessly rather than charging about town, although 300bhp is enough to make it quick enough. If you 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 also cramped. There’s no legroom to speak of for passengers in the back, while space up front isn’t that generous. The roof is very low, and unlike in the convertible, you can't throw it back if you start to feel too claustrophobic.

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 very different to the standard car's, and programmed to emphasise the XKR'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.

In other words, you should shop around for your preferred combination of kit, and buy as new a car as possible. 2003 models had improved engines and, a year later, Jaguar face-lifted the car.

Watch the colour, too, as picking the right one can add thousands to the price when you resell. Silver is reliable, as are 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

What do you think? While running costs aren’t quite in the same league as a Ferrari’s, routine servicing is expensive, as are spare parts. And, sadly, 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 within group 18, and you'll need to contact a specialist to get a - probably much more expensive - quote for an XKR.

To cap it all, these cars guzzle petrol. Officially, the XK8 will manage up to 24.9mpg and the XKR 22.9mpg. However, 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 – expensively – and you should expect it to. According to the What Car?/Warranty Direct Reliability Index, Jaguars aren’t reliable and are costly to fix.

Older engines can suffer bore wear, so watch for misfires and exhaust smoke as you blip the throttle, and oil that needs topping up weekly. If an owner reports problems like these, fixing them will cost thousands.

Timing chain rattles are also worth investigating because a relatively cheap repair to the tensioner can prevent a much dearer engine rebuild. The gearbox may also need a rebuild after a few years – if its shifts are less than smooth, it’s time to spend plenty. Or, just 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 properly because even minor repairs can mount up. Scratches or rips in the cabin can also cost more than you’d guess to fix.

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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