Jaguar XJ8 was a luxury car that’s commonly known as the cars that carried V8 engines. The availability of this engine option—in a lavish and beautiful body—pushed the respect and credibility people have towards Jaguar and its cars. Even if the model sold for only two generations that spanned a little more than a decade, the XJ8 still had enough impact to be seen as one of the great luxury cars during its time.
The new V8: 1997-2003
Jaguar’s XJ line has been around ever since the late 60s. After more than four decades, it has grown and evolved to become one of the most recognized lines of luxury cars in the auto industry. All XJs during this time were either equipped with an in-line-six engine or a more-powerful V12 as its powerhouse. It would’ve been forgivable if the company carried on with these engine options for succeeding models. However, it was not in Jaguar’s blood to settle for something safe. The introduction of a new 3.2L or 4.0L-V8 engine to the already established XJ line seemed like a good idea to push its limit.
The new XJ8 wasn’t only successful in introducing a new engine. It was also successful in incorporating that engine to the standards set by an XJ. The base model had all of the trims to achieve a look one would expect to find in a luxury car: leather seats, wooden panels inside, chrome pieces on the outside. Other standard features included automatic wipers, CD player, cruise control, and parking sensors. Upper trims, like the Sport or XJR, had a more powerful engine, improved suspension for better handling, wider wheelbase, and a very intimidating look.
All-around improvements: 2003-2009
The second-generation Jaguar XJ8 worked on the well-received V8 by raising its engine lineup to be either a 3.5L or 4.2L. The basic engine was able to give 300hp, while the supercharged 4.2L could give almost 400hp. Despite the daunting power, it was still safe enough to handle because of a power limiter that kept the car’s speed to about 155mph.
The body was mostly made of an aluminum monocoque chassis—a technology introduced and specialized by Jaguar. This, along with other advanced construction methods, made the XJ8 considerably lighter compared to its competitors at that time. Mechanically, the rear suspension was changed to a multi-link, air-spring system for better handling. A change in the design for the headlights, placement of chrome trims, front grille, and overall shape of the car gave the hot V8 a home worthy to carry such an engine.