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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Elegant, fast an nimble – this big cat is sporty yet refined. It's easy to live with, too

Against Running costs aren't cheap, and the rear seats are almost useless

Verdict One of the great grand tourers, and effortlessly classy with it.

Go for… 4.2 V8

Avoid… 4.2 R

Jaguar XK Coupe
  • 1. This top cat is fast and elegant enough to prowl the street of Monaco, yet it won't break the bank.
  • 2. Official fuel economy ranges from 25mpg and 22.9mpg for the original models, while the 5.0-litre cars manage 25.2mpg and 23mpg. However, if you exploit the engines' power, that quickly drops off.
  • 3. The aluminium body isn't particularly hard to repair, but look for botched work and anything that doesn't look like it came from the factory.
  • 4. The air-con and heating system can give up the ghost, with dealers requiring replacement parts to fix the fault.
  • 5. The tyres can wear quickly, and aren't cheap to replace, so check the tread depth before agreeing a price with the seller.
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Jaguar XK Coupe full review with expert trade views

Once upon a time, Jaguar's motto was 'Space Pace and Grace' – the XK is the ultimate embodiment of this. This top cat is fast and elegant enough to prowl the street of Monaco, yet it won't break the bank. It almost has the same 'wow' factor as cars such as the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, without the sky-high running costs. Think of it as James Bond on a budget.

Its size might lead you to think that the XK is a cruiser rather than full-blown sports car. Not so: you can take it easy, and the Jag's excellent refinement and smooth auto gearbox makes it easy to poodle around town, yet it's stunning on fast roads. The lightweight aluminium body makes the XK very nimble, changing direction with ease, and there's masses of grip. The standard car is quick, but if you opt for a supercharged R model, you get junior supercar performance.

This is really a two seater, because the back seats are only big enough for smaller children. However, the boot is surprisingly large and it's a practical shape.

Trade view

'The standard car is quick enough for most, and the best value on the used market. Only those with a real need for speed should consider the XKR.'

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

From launch, there were two models available: the 4.2-litre V8 with 300bhp and the supercharged 4.2-litre R model with 420bhp. Both have an automatic gearbox – but that's no bad thing. It's slick, has a sports mode and F1-style steering-wheel-mounted paddles.

The R is a much more aggressive-looking car, with racing details, a sports body kit, different cabin trim options along and a firmer suspension. The standard car sounds great, but the R modifies the V8's growl to a roar under hard acceleration.

An active suspension system was available as an option on the 4.2, and standard on the R. This enhanced the car's drive, giving a more dynamic and stable feel – especially at speed.

The XK was overhauled in early 2009, with revised styling and new engines. The entry-level model comes with a 380bhp 5.0-litre V8, while the R receives a 503bhp supercharged version. This means it can accelerate from 0-62mph in a rapid 4.6secs. Along with the new engines, Jaguar fitted the adaptive suspension system as standard across the revised XK range.

Trade view

'This is great car for the money – and makes you feel like a film star. You can't run one on a tight budget, though.'

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Despite the modest price for a car this good, it's not going to be cheap to run. Fuel, maintenance and insurance bills are all going to be high, yet should prove more palatable than those of rivals such as the Porsche 911 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

Official fuel economy ranges from 25mpg and 22.9mpg for the original models, while the 5.0-litre cars manage 25.2mpg and 23mpg. However, if you exploit the engines' power, that quickly drops off.

The good news is that, if you buy a used XK at the right price, you shouldn't lose a fortune through depreciation. Regular maintenance by someone who knows what they're doing is essential. Jaguar dealers have a good reputation for customer satisfaction and, although you don't have to use them, it will help to prop up the car's future value. Use a good independent garage to save money once the car is out of warranty.

Trade view

'The standard car is quick enough for most, and the best value on the used market. Only those with a real need for speed should consider the XKR.'

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The aluminium body isn't particularly hard to repair, provided the garage has the skills and correct spare parts. Be on guard for botched work, though, and anything that doesn't look like it came from the factory.

There are just a handful of things to keep an eye on. Electrics can go haywire, and batteries can flatten for no obvious reason. Other faults include the engine management light coming on, and the car's keyless entry and ignition system playing up.

The air-con and heating system can also give up the ghost, with dealers requiring replacement parts to fix the fault.

The tyres can wear quickly, and aren't cheap to replace, so check the tread depth before agreeing a price with the seller.

Trade view

'This is great car for the money – and makes you feel like a film star. You can't run one on a tight budget, though.'

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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