2000 Jaguar XK8 4.0 X100 vs. rivals

2000 Jaguar XK8 4.0 X100 vs. rivals

It’s been a busy few weeks for Paul’s 2000 Jaguar XK8 4.0 X100 having been compared to not one or two but three rivals.

Although the 18th century French philosopher and mathematician, the Marquis de Condorcet, once advised to, “Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another,” I still find pitching my XK8 against rivals from the same era to be a fascinating experience.

2000 Jaguar XK8 4.0 X100 vs. rivals

It’s something I’ve done a lot of recently and not only with the BMW 840Ci E31 featured last month but a late XJS as well. Plus, with Kelsey Publishing’s DB7 3.2 I mentioned in the November 2022 issue present at both shoots for articles that will appear in Aston Martin Driver, it enabled me to indirectly compare my car with it at the same time. The BMW test came first and although it showed the XK8 4.0 to be more than a match for the German car, it also revealed how far behind the DB7 is in terms of build quality and performance. Why anyone chose a DB7 in the mid-Nineties when there were much better yet cheaper options available (the XK8 especially) is beyond me. Even Aston Martin’s most famous customer, James Bond, preferred a series of BMWs during the time the DB7 was in production.

2000 Jaguar XK8 4.0 X100 vs. rivals

A few days later, regular JW contributor Sam Skelton and I headed over to Warwickshire in the XK8 and DB7 respectively to meet the owner of an XJS. As the car the Aston is based on yet still sold alongside for three years plus the car the XK8 replaced in 1996, it made sense to compare both with this late 4.0-litre coupe.

2000 Jaguar XK8 4.0 X100 vs. rivals

Despite my many misgivings about the DB7, due to having better proportions and a cleaner frontal treatment than the slightly fussy XK8, it looked terrific in my mirrors. But the refined yet responsive nature of Jaguar’s 4.0-litre V8 meant I had a smoother, more relaxed journey than Sam.

At 335bhp, the supercharged version of Jaguar’s 3.2 straight six in the Aston might produce 45 more horses than my car’s V8 but it feels old-fashioned and asthmatic by comparison, not helped by the antiquated four-speed automatic transmission of this example. The DB7 isn’t as physically comfortable as the Jaguar either, plus the air conditioning has packed up meaning the interior becomes hotter than a Spanish greenhouse. So as I put my foot down, feel the Jaguar’s smooth yet strong surge power before lowering the temperature a little, I almost feel a little sorry for Sam. I said almost. I’ll leave the details of the two tests for the future, but in short, as the newer model there’s little doubt the XK8 is technically better than the other two.

2000 Jaguar XK8 4.0 X100 vs. rivals

Yet I can’t ignore the looks, presence and refinement of the XJS. Despite being considered as antiquated when this 1995 example was built, it still has a charm and elegance other sports cars of the time – such as the R129 Mercedes Benz SL and Porsche 928 S4 – miss out on.

And admittedly the XJS was a pristine 28k mile example while the DB7 has covered over 93,000, but despite the two cars sharing much below the surface (including the chassis and suspension), the Jaguar still felt the better developed of the pair.

The perfect condition of the XJS did illustrate the many imperfections of mine, though, the crusty rear arches especially. Worried a jet wash or a strong gust of wind will destroy it completely, I’ve already contacted a local body shop to inspect the car. Hopefully I’ll have some news for my next update.

Other than Sam driving my XK8 for the photographs – which is akin to watching someone else dance with my wife or more worrying, use my BBQ – it’s still been interesting to compare the car with two of its most important rivals plus the one it replaced.

And despite what the Marquis de Condorcet would say, a healthy one too since these tests have revealed in terms of comfort, performance and looks, I’d still rather have my car over anything else.

ABOVE: It’s an odd experience for Paul to watch Sam Skelton drive his car for the photographs

RIGHT: The XK8 still handles well compared to all the cars it’s been compared to recently

BELLOW: The XK8 4.0, a 1995 Jaguar XJS 4.0 and DB7 3.2 It might have replaced the XJS but the XK8 is a very different car Now they’re looking worse than ever, Paul finally plans on having the rusty wheelarches of his XK8 sorted

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