Used Jaguar XK review: 1996-2014
April 8, 2015
Jaguar XK is a large, powerful sports machine. More GT (grand tourer) than sports car it returned to Australia in October 1996 after an absence of many years.
Our preference is for the all-new model XK launched in May 2007 as it's considerably lighter than the older one thanks to its all-aluminium body. It's till not exactly nimble but holds the road well and provides plenty of driving pleasure.
Generally these cars are fine on Australian roads, but aren't always happy on the really rough stuff. Try it for yourself if you live in an outlying region.
Older Jaguar XKs are showing signs of becoming a cult car but are still very reasonably priced. This could change over the next few years so now might be a good time to buy. No promises, though...
The shape of the Jaguar XK is unashamedly based on that of the famous Jaguar E-Type. From the nose, with its big oval opening, to the rounded tail this design works exceptionally well.
The convertible has a soft-top in the traditional manner. We love that
The dashboard uses a traditionally styled, timber-faced design with smallish, round instruments it looks just right in these big British sports machines.
Jaguar XK is sold as a closed coupe or a convertible, the convertible has a soft-top in the traditional manner. We love that - folding hardtops don't have the same pure feeling as a rag-top.
Power comes from a V8 engine, interestingly, the first engine of this configuration ever used in a Jaguar as the company had made its name building beautiful looking straight sixes. Initially the V8 had a 4.0-litre capacity. That was raised to 4.2 litres when the engine was heavily revised in 2002. Further changes with the new model of 2007 improved it again.
Even better is the 5.0-litre V8 first imported to Australia in January 2010. It is offered in natural or supercharged aspiration.
At the top of the performance tree sits the 'Jaguar XKR with R features'. With semi-race suspension, Brembo brakes and an emphasis on serious motoring it's a car to dream about from a Jaguar enthusiast's point of view.
The older automatic transmissions use Jaguar's clever J-gate mechanism to allow a fair degree of 'manual' control over it. Good as that system was in its day it feels a bit old fashioned when compared to the latest generation of paddle-shifting automatics.
Some bemoan the lack of a manual option in a sports car, but Jaguar's market research had shown fewer than five percent of buyers would have opted for it.
Jaguar's dealer network in Australia is long established and operates efficiently. Spare parts aren't cheap, but we've seen worse.
Better built and more reliable than older Jaguars, the latest Jaguar XK models are complex cars and servicing and repairs should be left to the professionals.
A professional inspection should be regarded as essential
Insurance isn't overly expensive - provided you have a good driving record and live in an area where theft is seldom a problem. There are likely to be higher charges for the supercharged engines.
What to look for
A professional inspection should be regarded as essential. You may wish to do some initial checks to save racking up too many inspection bills, but don't fall into the trap of making your own decision to save a few dollars.
Be sure the engine starts promptly, idles smoothly and does not blow smoke from the exhaust when the big Jag is accelerated hard.
Be sure the automatic transmission goes into gear within about a second of the selector being moved into Drive or Reverse. Check the 'manual-gearbox' functions work correctly.
Look for rust in the lower areas of the body. It is not normal but can be expensive to repair. At the same time look for signs of previous crash repairs, such as mismatched paint or ripples in the finish.
Check the condition of the interior trim, carpets and dash-top for excessive wear and/or rough treatment.
Also look at the condition of the boot. Hard driving can slide luggage around and cause tears and scratches.
If are water stains on the convertible's seats ask the seller to remove the carpets so you can check underneath.
A genuine Jaguar battery should be fitted as other units may not provide enough power and the electrical relays may not work.