2005 Jaguar XK8 Convertible (531)


This week I tested the 2005 Jaguar XK8 Convertible. Ok, so it’s a chick car. You can verify that by looking at the drivers on the road if you don’t believe me. But hey, guys if that’s the case we should be buying a Jag as a good way to attract the ladies. Really! But men are macho and they would opt for a muscle car and the more affordable Corvette is manlier.

I bring up the Vette because I just tested the C6 and loved it. But when it comes to style and class the Jag can’t be ignored. It is far more elegant and refined in looks. Both are effectively 2-seat sport cars even though the Jag has an ultra small back seat. Ok, so I guess in a pinch you can seat children. The fact of the matter is that is exactly what I had to do when daughter Jen and her 7-year-old girl joined me at the Santa Anita racetrack to watch a friends horse run. The horse won and we had our picture taken in the winner’s circle. Quite a thrill. And this Jag is a winner too. It felt good to hear the Valet suggest that on such a beautiful day we should put the top down. Exactly what we did.

Jen had to move really far forward so Cierra’s feet would rest on the floor. Jen is just over 5 feet and with any other combination of passengers it wouldn’t have worked. But with the Vette it would have been totally out of the question anyway.

If I were promoting the Jag I would say the interior is cozy and you can literally reach every nook and cranny front and back from the drivers seat. If I were bad-mouthing the car, the interior would be described as cramped. For sure this is not for large or tall people, but since the average height of a man is 5 foot 9 and a woman at 5 foot 5 there are more than enough buyers.

Handling & Performance:

This Jag ignores a windy road. In fact you tend to look forward to challenging curves – the windier the better. And 294 horsepower gives that confidence on the highway for power when you need it.


Classic Jag.Timeless design. I hope they never change the look. It is distinctive and truly one of a kind.

Fit and Finish:

Very good accented with the luxury feel of real Burl Walnut wood. This is what adds that touch of class and gives it the elegance only the Real Thing provides.


A bunch, but relative to other close competitors like the Cadillac XLR without a rear seat, you may find some justification for the price.


The convertible top is a delight. It is so easy to use and quickly transforms the mood. Drive away door locking is a small but nice touch. Rain sensing windshield wipers are something you won’t miss unless you’ve experienced them.

Consumer Recommendation:

If money is no object and you want a sport car and will have little need for passengers this is a lovely automobile. It is simply as classy and refined as a sport car can get and one you can’t help but be proud to drive.

The Competition:

Jaguar XK8 $70-86,000, Maserati Coupe $81-85,000, Cadillac XLR $76,000, Mercedes Benz SL Class $90-179,000, Lexus SC 430 $63,000, Acura NSX $89,000, Porsche 911 $69-141,000, BMW 6 Series $70-77,000.

Good News: 

Elegant timeless Jaguar styling, great one button convertible top, fun highway handling and important state of the art Stability control feature (all cars should have it).

Bad News:

Annoying door handles, poor foot clearance around the gas and brake pedals, extremely tight rear seating and tough to get in and out of.

Standard Equipment: 

4.2 liter 294 hp V8 engine, 6-speed automatic trans, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, dynamic stability control, speed sensitive steering, anti theft engine immobilizer, front and side airbags, drive away locking, remote entry, security system, memory settings, 320 watt audio system w/ 6 CD changer, burl walnut trim, power top with glass window, rain sensing wipers, reverse parking control.

Gas Stats:

18 City and 26 Highway MPG.


MSRP $74,830.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

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