Jaguar XK8 is a grand tourer produced by British carmaker Jaguar since 1996. The car was introduced in Geneva Motor Show on March 5th 1996. It is the replacement of the XJS, and is available as a coupé and convertible. Currently in its second generation, the XK8 was the first 8 cylinder vehicle produced by Jaguar, when the Jaguar AJ-V8 engine was introduced.
Styling of the new XK8 luxury coupe and convertible was clearly inspired by Jaguar's famous old XK-E (E-Type) sports car of the 1960s. Unveiled for 1997, the rear-drive sport Jaguars replaced the XJS design that had been around for 21 years. In fact, the new models also bore some kinship to the XJS, using part of its rear-drive platform and the same basic suspension, and riding a nearly identical wheelbase. Jaguar claimed a 25 percent increase in body stiffness over the XJS. Jaguar's first V8 engine went under the hood, a 4.0-liter aluminum unit with twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Also new was the 5-speed automatic transmission, from the German ZF company. In its novel console-mounted "J-gate," a 2-plane shift quadrant permitted manual gear selection when the lever was moved to the left-side slot. Dual front airbags and antilock 4-wheel disc brakes were standard, along with speed-sensitive power steering. The 17-inch wheels held Z-rated tires.The convertible has a fully lined power soft top with glass window and electric defroster. Both models had Automatic Stability Control, which throttled back engine power to maintain traction during low-grip conditions. Full traction control, which also applied brakes as needed, was part of an optional All-Weather Package that included heated seats and headlamp washers. The only other options were a trunk-mounted 6-disc CD player, premium 240-watt Harman-Kardon audio system, custom paint, and chrome wheels. Rivals included the Cadillac Eldorado, Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, and Lexus SC 300/400.