The very first thing that you`d notice is a wonderful engine noise from the Jaguar quad cam 42 valves V8 engine. A massive 290bhp is put through the large rear wheels, and the engine makes the Jaguar handle like it should. Tail happy action is for sure on the cards, but the auto gearbox seems a hindrance for that sort of driving, but it comes alive when shown an empty stretch of open road.
The Jaguar XK8 is like no other. Cruising is quite effortless; the cabin is quiet and luxurious, albeit not that roomy. There`s a lack of space in the Jaguar cabin, particularly the rear seat area, there`s no spare legroom if the driver is over 6ft. But a plus is that the space has been taken by the massive boot
The high fuel consumption is off putting. You might get 28mpg, but it’s likely to be 19-20mpg. The Jaguar XK8 is a most comfortable car in everyday driving.
BODYWORK & CHASSIS
Rust can often be quite a serious issue, as it can`t always be spotted. The front floorpans were very poorly rust proofed, so do lift the carpets, check for signs of rust. Do exactly the same in the boot, but check thoroughly, lift the sound deadening too. Pay particular attention to the battery tray, it`s welded to the floor area.
Do check on both front and both rear arches, making sure you look behind all the liners, which will disguise some serious rust. The rear wheel arch liners actually cover a shelf; this can trap the dirt and will allow the rot to form.
Be sure to inspect the front sills. Also you must test the rear bumper with a push and a pull; any movement at all indicates the metal guides are probably rusted through – but, a new bumper isn`t going to sort the problem. Opening the bonnet to check the lower edge of the screen is a must, you`re looking for signs of any rust.
Lift the plastic trim just to see what’s actually beneath, and do check the drain holes they should be clear. Be wary of any cars that look like they sat under trees, as the leaves will block the drain holes.
Nikasil was actually used by Jaguar for cylinder lining in about mid-1990s. It does have many desirable properties, unfortunately it disintegrates when it`s in contact with sulphur, which is an ingredient of fuel (petrol). If in fact the engine is a pre 2000 model, then it`s got Nikasil lined cylinders. There`s no documentation to prove a recall and a repair, then just walk away. It could be fine, but the chances are that the damage has already been done. A quite lumpy idle is a sure sign of cylinder bore wear specifically due to the Nikasil degradation.
Post-2000 Jaguars should be ok, as the content of sulphur in UK petrol dramatically dropped and the Nikasil was then dropped much in favour of steel. The Jaguar dealers are able to test for any engine wear in a Nikasil engine. The pre-2000 replacement engine has a small tag on the nearside on the engine block. So if it`s missing, then its not an original engine.
Do start up the engine, make sure it`s cold and then listen for any rattling coming from the cam chain area. Too many early cars had defective tensioners, which will result in a very loose camchain over some time. Loose chains may jump some teeth, thus causing the car`s running very rough, or even worse, it could completely self-destruct.
So ensure there`s some evidence that the chain tensioner`s been updated to the later version. Check the engine oil filler-cap for signs of mayonnaise, and in the coolant tank for any signs of oil. Both will indicate a possible head gasket problem, which will require an engine rebuild. Check also for any white smoke from the exhaust tailpipe when the engine is revved, this could suggest some engine wear that will also require a rebuild.
The all round quality can be a bit patchy, particularly in the mechanics. The five speed auto gearbox is termed as ‘sealed for life’, thus making it very hard to do a check on the oil level. This could result in a failure in just 10yrs. Do check the vehicle service history for any evidence that the gearbox oil has actually been changed.
Listen for any unusual banging clunking or even whining with each gear-change, it could suggest that the gearbox is problematic and maybe it`s on its way out. The Jaguar XKR`s fitted with a more robust Mercedes Benz auto gearbox, which is much easier to service and much less prone to failure.