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www.xkeight.co.ukJaguar XK8 / XKR

After its launch in 1996, the Jaguar XK8 became an iconic vehicle in a very short space of time. The name Jaguar had always been synonymous with comfort and extreme luxury coupled with impressive power beneath the bonnet but for many, this was the best model that the company had ever produced. The vehicle was initially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show back in early 1996 and it was met with considerable acclaim.

Known as project X100, further showings of the prototype design told Jaguar`s bosses that there was a huge interest in the vehicle and therefore the production stage arrived very quickly in the same year. The standard XK8 model is a grand tourer with a 4.0 litre V8 aluminium engine. It was accompanied by a 5 speed gearbox and at the time of its launch back in October 1996, a basic model would cost a shade under 48,000 GBP.

www.xkeight.co.ukIn addition, a convertible variant was produced which retailed at an on the road price of 56,850 GBP. From the day it rolled off the production line, the XK8 was a huge commercial success and Jaguar knew that they were on course to produce one of the biggest selling cars in their history.

For two years they kept the same basic models but in 1998, the first in a series of additional versions were produced. The first of the new variants was known as the XKR which was essentially a supercharged version of the XK8 itself. Both vehicles were actually electronically limited to 155.4 miles per hour but the superior handling capabilities of the XKR gave it a greater all-round performance.

 In 2001, Jaguar returned to Formula One and in anticipated celebration of this landmark, the XK8 Silverstone was produced a year earlier. Only 107 models were produced and this remains one of the most sought after XK8 variants with its distinctive silver finish. The production was split evenly between coupe and convertible models and, undeterred by the 66,000 GBP price tags, all models were sold out within a short space of time.

Further variants were to follow and the next marque was known as the XKR-100 which featured a uniform anthracite finish and Recaro seats. 500 were made and once again, these were quickly sold. By now, the standard XK8 had established itself as one of the most popular grand tourers ever built.

www.xkeight.co.ukThe original range was expanded to include 4.2 litre versions and sales continued to exceed expectations. In 2003, the very last series of XK8 variants were produced and initially these featured the XKR Portfolio which was a convertible only model and made exclusively for the US market.

The XKR 400 then came along to improve upon the overall performance of the existing XKR versions. Finally, the XK 4.2S was launched in Geneva in 2005 but this was to be the last version of this iconic model ever to be produced.

In its short, ten year life span, the XK8 became one of the most popular cars ever built by any producer and in total, over 91,000 models were made. Several years on from the end of production, there are no plans to reintroduce this famous brand and for now, this true classic modern car remains highly sought after in the second hand market.

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