Used 1998 Jaguar XK-Series Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1998

The 1998 XK8 gets automatic on/off headlamps, an engine immobilizer feature as part of the security system and a cellular phone keypad integrated into the stereo controls. Other changes include the addition of two new exterior colors.

Vehicle overview

Old enough to order a drink. The car that the XK8 is replacing had been in production for a full 21 years before finally being retired in 1996. That's an awfully long time for sheetmetal to grace the flanks of any automobile, but when the automobile is a mega-buck sports car it is even less acceptable. Fortunately, Jaguar set things right by introducing the completely new XK8 in 1997. The only thing it shares with its predecessor is the basic floor pan; everything else is fresh off the design table.

Like the engine for instance. This ultra high-tech aluminum block DOHC V8 engine is the first V8 engine ever to appear in a Jaguar. It makes an impressive 290 horsepower and 284 foot-pounds of torque, enabling the car to launch to 60 mph in less than seven seconds. Aiding the engine in this impressive task is an enhanced five-speed automatic transmission whose knob and lever rests 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 XK8 draws from Jaguars 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.

According to one of our interns, who sampled the XK8 at a ride-and-drive event, 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 XK8 is its indication of Jaguar's new direction. With the addition of the XK8, Jaguar proves that they can look towards the future without forgetting the good things about their past. If this E-type-inspired XK8 is any indication, we will continue to see some wonderful things from them.

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.