The Jaguar XK8 Was a Revolutionary Car in the 1990s

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Jaguar evaluation! The Jaguar is an iconic high-end automobile, and it was a substantial offer back when it went on sale– and today I'm going to evaluate it! I'll review the Jaguar and take you on a thorough trip of all of its peculiarities and features, and after that I'll drive the and I'll review the driving experience!


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The Was a Revolutionary Car in the 1990s

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  1. This is my favorite XK generation. The looks of these have definitely aged very well. You can put it in any environment and it would look fantastic moving or sitting still.

    1. @CB ofc I see what you mean – styling of x100 gen is more timeless than x150 – thats for sure

  2. He missed the ultimate quirk! The wooden dash is shaped like the wings of the Spitfire as the car was built in the plant that used to build Spitfire planes in England during the war.

  3. Finally: Doug DeMuro reviews my dreamcar 😍 As an 2004 XK8 Coupé owner I totally agree – the coupé is the one to go for! The convertible is everybody’s darling, the coupé is the enthusiast’s choice. And you perfectly captured the feeling of driving this car: it’s all about cruising relaxed and in style! It’s all about wood, leather and this silky smooth V8 – this car just makes you feel special – even today! The XK8 is simply the car-love of my life, thanks for this enthusiastic review!

    1. @Pex_the_Unalive Drunk i ever drove the XK8 before on GRAN Turismo 2. It was a cool car although quite underpowered compared to even 1998 Mustang GT.

    2. @Gonçalo Gonçalves 100% agree – but I don’t think the guy next to you can be much faster than you in your XKR 😄 The XK8 might be the perfect cruiser but the XKR is a different beast – let’s say it adds power to the glory 😉 Both wonderful cars from a long gone era!

    3. ​@Gonçalo Gonçalves coupe is my XK of choice. But after 2000 as early models have some issues. Anyway, definitely on my list!

    4. @Pex_the_Unalive Drunk Doug doesn’t give Jaguar its due…he can’t be totally negative but he finds the right score and then downgrades it one level.

  4. Those weird cylindrical keys are actually really common on late 90’s and early 2000’s european ford cars. I had a Mondeo (Contour in the US) with keys like that and I’m pretty sure the Fiesta, Escort and Focus of that era had them too. Fun fact: On most ford cars from that era you use the key to open the hood, There is a keyhole behind the ford badge in the grille. You could flip the Ford logo up to expose the keyhole.

    1. And a-holes with flat screwdrivers were trying to steal your car all the time…
      P.S.: Transit used them too. There I saw them wear out, same as locks.

    2. My ‘89 Sierra had a similar key. The cruise control on the Jag looks very similar to my memory of my Mk III Mondeo.

    3. @Steve’s Rover I think Sierra was the first european Ford to have that key. Keys to my Cortina Mk.V are the same as for Mk.III Escort or Capri.

    4. Merkur (marketed by the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford Motor Company from 1985 to 1989) also had cylindrical keys. We lost our only key to our Merkur Scorpio in ~1995, and it took our Ford dealer almost two weeks to locate a blank and provide another. We found our lost key when we detailed the Scorpio for a private sale. The Scorpio always had terrible chassis-electrical issues (interior switches especially), but it was a driver’s car that kept up with the best German sedans of its era.

  5. The story of the XK8 / DB7 relationship is actually more interesting than Doug tells it. Jaguar had been working on an F-type replacement to the XJS throughout the 1980s, but Ford killed it as production costs would have been huge and Jaguar had just lost money on the disappointing XJ220 launch and prioritized a generation of the XJ sedan. Jaguar’s racing partner TWR had been involved in the F-type’s development, and pitched a cheaper, simplified version of the concept using mostly XJS underpinnings to Aston Martin, who wanted a new coupe but had no money. When Jaguar saw the DB7 they realized their oversight, and rapidly developed the XK8 from the same platform. So a Jaguar, became an Aston, which became a Jaguar.

  6. When these first came out I thought they looked like they were running around on stilts but now I think it was just an optical illusion due to the way the overhangs tapered upwards. They’re actually great looking cars.

  7. Solid review of one of my favorites from the mid-90’s. I have an old issue of Road & Track covering the XK8 when it was first unveiled (that issue is from 1996, of course. Got it when I was in middle school!), as has been mentioned it truly was a big deal back then. To this day I still think of this model as the understated luxury GT cruiser it was made to be that has stood the test of time style-wise like its predecessor. Compared to overall quality is the difference as the XJ-S has been known for the various issues it was plagued with, the XK8, not so much. Jaguar did a good job on this one indeed.

  8. I like these car’s styling, actually I think it is good example that 90s round styling can in some cases work well. Also I always liked the interior of these car maybe central panel and its buttons are not its best part, but materials and overall look aged really well.

  9. Over here in the UK the coupe was far more commonplace than the convertible, despite thr UK being the biggest european market for convertibles. Go figure!
    They’ve generally slipped into poor condition and look a bit sad. BUT it has aged well. It appeals more today than it did 5 or 10 years ago 😊

    1. It always struck me as bizarre how the UK is the biggest market for convertibles. I’m an American who has always spent lots of time in England (lots of relatives there) and it’s not exactly a great climate for putting the top down and basking in the sun. You would think the south of France, Spain, Italy or Greece would be full of convertibles.

  10. Always liked the J-gate. It was good to use. (Almost never used the left hand side) except it was really convenient to drop to 4th on long downhills. Just knock the lever to the left.

  11. I might add in the handling, Jaguar are always interesting in that. They don’t do a ‘hard’ suspension like the Germans. They do a progressive suspension, so it starts out comfort and soaks up little bumps etc, But the more you lean into it the more it pushes back and therefore they are surprising good handling when you press on with the speed and cornering.

    1. So true. I’ve had BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar, and now Lexus. No one quite matches the ride AND handling balance like Jaguar! One trade-off is the suspension components wear relatively quickly versus the others.

    2. Wish more car manufacturers did this nowadays. Everybody assumes harder suspension = better. Nothing beats a touch softer transmission that you can roll into turns and really transfer the weight in. Best of both worlds of comfort and handling!

    1. I remember there was one parked near my work back in the day and it looks SO good in the flesh. If I looked at a woman like I ogled that XK8R, I would have deserved a slap in the face…

  12. The instrument cluster reminds me a bit of my mom’s old 2000’s Buick LeSabre in regards to shape, font, and lines. The one very quirkiest thing about this that I wished you touched on because I can’t think who else has it, is that the speed increments go by odd numbers. I’m not a big fan when speedometers indicate in 20mph increments, I much prefer 10’s, but the XK8 is the most acceptable example version I’ve seen.

    1. Ahhh the ole 2000 Buick LeSabre, my first car. I wish I still had that boat. I ran that thing harder than it ever should’ve been and that 3800 series 2 took it all. Such a good motor. But yes I was thinking the same thing for the gauge cluster!

  13. Doug is a mind-reader! I’ve been browsing the classifieds for one of these 1st generation XK’s recently, because I believe the time to buy one of these is right now! The design has aged very well indeed, it’s a truly beautiful car with those sweeping lines echoing the E-type (which even Enzo Ferrari quoted as being the most beautiful car ever made), yet it’s also extremely comfortable with many of the features of much more modern cars. Definitely a modern classic.

    Yes, it’s not that spacious inside. Yes, it wallows and rolls around a bit if you push it. Yes, it’s not that quick (by today’s standards). But that’s missing the point!

    If you look at the XK as the modern classic it is, it’s a beautiful and elegant car designed for driving long distances in absolute comfort and style. It’s still an incredibly cool car, which has aged like a fine wine, hence my search for the right one continues…

  14. Absolutely love these, on my short list of future purchases. I think it really holds up with the E-type inspired design language, and getting a solid wood dash like that in something other than a Rolls is a treat to me. There’s still a lot of people out there that appreciate a nice cruiser that gives a smooth but competent ride without all the Nurbergring inspired handling, these are a great way to eat up some miles.

    1. These are GT cars, not sports cars.
      I don’t think that Doug quite got that; ideal for blatting across Europe down to Italy.

      Glorious car but they do rust. Usual culprits are the rear arches and the sills.
      Engines can have fragile cam tensioners (plastic) and thermostat housings (also plastic).
      Nikasil liner problems shouldn’t be an issue now with low-sulphur fuel.
      Most engine issues were fixed 2000 onwards.

  15. The J gate limits how high the transmission shifts. If you put it in 3 it’ll start in first, shift through the gears and stop in third. It’s pretty cool for in town driving.

    1. Its primary use is for driving in the mountains, limiting the upshift will let you use the engine to limit your speed going downhill.

    2. @VideoAmericanStyle you can leave it in 2, 3, or 4 for around town driving, your car doesn’t shift past the selected gear. Much more lively than when it shifts into 5th/ overdrive and you’re driving 35 mph.

    3. @Derek L “lively”? It just wastes fuel to ride around in a higher gear than necessary. If you need to quickly accelerate, your transmission will downshift for you…

  16. Always LOVED the look of this car. Super elegant and classy yet somehow aggressive at the same time. Some Jaguar cars are just stunning (XJ-220, XJR-15, XK8)

  17. My dad had an XJS when this came out, I remember us going to the dealership many times to gawk at it. Got offered a test drive and felt like kings rolling down the road. Some other massively hyped cars of that period were the Audi TT, Porsche Boxster and 996. Personally I’m really starting to warm up to the original Audi TT Coupe.

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