Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

Num­ber one con­cern for any XJ8 buyer is en­gine con­di­tion, as the Nikasil coat­ing on 1997-2000 mod­els could be eroded by high sul­phur fu­els. Most af­fected mod­els will have had the en­gines re­placed early on, or have passed on. Low com­pres­sion, ex­ces­sive blow-by and poor per­for­mance over­all are the in­di­ca­tors. Cars with war­ranty re­place­ment en­gines have a tag on the block. Across all mod­els, tim­ing chain and ten­sion wear can be an is­sue. 4.0 en­gines are prefer­able to 3.2 for per­for­mance and econ­omy.


Bub­bling arches are com­mon on ne­glected cars. Less com­mon, but still worth check­ing, are door shuts, screen sur­rounds and front damper mounts. Neglect is a good rea­son to check un­der­neath, as sub­frames and sills can


rust dra­mat­i­cally. This is more of a con­cern on high-priced, low mileage cars which have been stand­ing for long pe­ri­ods of time. Al­ways check MoT his­tory for ad­vi­sories and com­ments.

In­tro­duced with the pre­vi­ous X300, the X308 ben­e­fits from easy to main­tain out­board rear calipers. Check the con­di­tion of pads and calipers, as stick­ing slid­ers are com­mon, and ver­ify the ABS sys­tem works.


Check the trim codes to make sure the in­te­rior is that fac­tory-fit­ted if buy­ing for orig­i­nal­ity. Is­sues with age in­clude sag­ging roof lin­ing (eas­ier to fix on LWB cars) and the usual wear ex­pected on contact sur­faces. Parts are not cheap new, but sec­ond­hand sup­ply is good at the mo­ment.


Su­per­charged mod­els used a Mercedes-Benz trans­mis­sion, most have a ZF gear­box that is par­tic­u­larly fid­dly to check with­out a workshop. Check for flare and slip­ping, and un­less the car is oth­er­wise per­fect or a bar­gain worth risk­ing a po­ten­tial £1500+ re­pair bill on, walk away. Ei­ther box will gen­er­ally man­age 100,000 miles with­out a fluid change, but knowl­edgable own­ers will have aimed for ser­vic­ing ev­ery 40-60,000 miles.


The test drive should be a plea­sure – sharp brakes, com­mu­nica­tive steer­ing and ex­cel­lent ride qual­ity with only the worst pot­holes break­ing the spell. Any clonks, check the sub­frame mounts first, as these are both a com­mon wear point and a se­ri­ous rust is­sue. Just a worn mount can lead to ex­pen­sive


Give each but­ton and switch a twitch to see they work.

cor­ro­sion re­pairs. Turn in should be sharp and pre­cise. Re­place­ment bushes are avail­able from af­ter­mar­ket sup­pli­ers, though orig­i­nals will main­tain the blend of re­fine­ment and han­dling that give the XJ8 such ap­peal. Mod­els with adap­tive sus­pen­sion are worth the ex­tra cost.

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