Used 1997 Jaguar XK-Series Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

An all-new Jaguar debuts this year, replacing the stodgy XJ-S. This new sports car boasts the first V8 engine ever found in a Jag, as well as an all-new five-speed manual transmission that features normal and sport modes. The XK-Series is available in coupe and convertible forms, but Jaguar insiders expect a full 70 percent of sales to be of the convertible.

Vehicle overview

Old enough to order a drink. The car that the XK-Series is replacing had been in production for a full 21 years before finally being retired in 1996. That's an awfully long time for any sheet metal to grace the flanks of any automobile, but when the automobile is a mega-bucks sports car it is even less acceptable. Fortunately, Jaguar has set things right by introducing the completely new XK-Series. The only thing it shares with its predecessor is the basic floor plan; everything else is fresh off the design table.

Like the engine, for instance. This ultra high-tech aluminum block DOHC V-8 engine is the first V8 engine ever to appear in a Jaguar. It makes an impressive 290 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque, enabling the car to launch to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds. Aiding the engine in this impressive task is an enhanced five-speed automatic transmission whose knob and lever rest in the familiar J-gate. Also new is Jaguar's approach to the interior. Gone are the hard-to-find auxiliary controls and poorly placed gauges; the new XK-Series draws from Jaguar's racing heritage to make sure that everything is in its proper place. Not that Jaguar threw the baby out with the bath water. The gents in Coventry know that their customers enjoy being coddled in soft hides; thus the standard Connolly leather remains. Also featured in the interior is the requisite walnut trim that makes a Jaguar a Jaguar.

The latest cat-car is a hoot to drive. Effortless acceleration, precise steering, a supple suspension, and fade-free brakes make the experience memorable. Available as a coupe or convertible, this luxury sports car is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face.Perhaps the most important thing about the XK-Series is its indication of Jaguar's new direction. With the addition of the XK-Series, Jaguar proves that it can look toward the future without forgetting the good things about its past. If this E-Type-inspired XK-Series is any indication, we will continue to see some wonderful things from the manufacturer.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.