Home » You Can Buy A Bond Villain Jaguar XKR For The Price Of A Nissan Versa

You Can Buy A Bond Villain Jaguar XKR For The Price Of A Nissan Versa

Jaguar Xkr Gavel Gazing Ts2
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Nearly 22 years ago, one of the best modern Bond cars hit the silver screen. The catch is that it wasn’t driven by Agent 007 himself. Sure, the Vanquish in Die Another Day” is an iconic early-aughts poster car, but several decades on and with hindsight about single-clutch automated manual transmissions, wouldn’t you just prefer Zao’s Jaguar XKR?

While the color might not be to everyone’s tastes, it’s hard to deny that the X100 Jaguar XKR is still a pretty car, and the thought of a thumping great supercharged V8 grand tourer in an age where that sort of vehicle’s thoroughly fallen by the wayside really scratches an itch. Those of us with an insatiable appetite for automotive experiences may have even poked around on used car websites to see what these machines go for, and if you have, I know exactly why you’re here.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The original Jaguar XKR isn’t just plush and potent, it seems to be a performance bargain. So, is it worth it? Let’s dive into the XKR face-first and see if you should consider adopting a supercharged rescue cat.

What Are We Looking At?

Jaguar Xkr Portfolio 1

After far more years of the intriguing yet archaic XJS than anyone would consider sane, the old ’70s grand tourer was finally put out to pasture in 1996, and a new car arrived on the scene. The X100 XK8 was a two-door supercharged Jaguar for the age of cool Britannia, a mass of compound curves ready to take the wind out of the Aston Martin DB7’s sails. It looked a lot like a DB7, had more cylinders than a base DB7, and cost thousands less than the entry-level Aston of the time. With a sloping line here and a hood bulge there borrowed from the E-Type, the X100 had just enough retro to continue a devilishly handsome bloodline, but proper thought of modernity instead of ’60s styling smeared on en masse with a trowel. Looking at you, S-Type.

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Jaguar Xkr 100 Engine Bay

Oh, and that was just the start. By the time the 1999 model year rolled around, the business situation appeared to have been un-fucked just enough that Jaguar had the bravery to strip the four-liter V8 of its variable cam timing and fit it with an Eaton M112 supercharger, which bumped output to 370 horsepower and 387 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s monumental thrust, beyond the capabilities of the XK8’s ZF automatic transmission (a Mercedes-Benz five-speed was originally used in the XKR), and good for zero-to-60 mph in 5.2 seconds during Car And Driver instrumented testing. That’s still quick today, and 25 years of tire technology may be able to improve on that traction-limited time.

Jaguar Xkr 100 Cars And Bids Interior

However, the really marvelous thing besides the XKR’s thrust is how special it feels – and I’m not just talking about how, between the leather and the wood, the cabin seems as if it’s clad with an acre of Scotland. The damping is spot-on, the stereo goes to eleven, and there’s just an overwhelming charm to the whole package. As Car And Driver wrote:

It used to be that there was such a thing as an identifiable British (or Czech or whatever) character to a car. But from the bottom of its Italian tires through the whirring of its American supercharger and the silken shifts of its German transmission, the Ford-financed XKR indicates just how character today is more an act of corporate will than where a car happens to be assembled. The greatest achievement of this fast, beautifully built, transnational sex machine is how completely it’s a Jaguar.

Job done, right? Well, not quite. While Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was promoting “Die Another Day,” the engineers at Jaguar were busy turning up the wick. For the 2003 model year, a punched-out 4.2-liter supercharged V8 with 400 chest-beating horsepower and 408 lb.-ft. of torque found its way underneath the XKR’s hood, while a six-speed ZF 6HP automatic transmission was tasked with handling all that might. The result? An aristocratic instrument that primarily communicated in Tim Allen grunts. It’s hard not to love that.

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How Cheap Are We Talking?

Jaguar Xkr Portfolio 2

While the X100 XKR isn’t at an all-time value low, it’s still a ton of car for the money. For instance, just last month, this beautiful blue 2004 Portfolio model with just under 87,000 miles on the clock sold on Bring A Trailer for $14,150. Folks, a Nissan Versa with no options starts at $17,530.

Jaguar Xkr 100 Cars And Bids Rear

Speaking of limited edition models, it’s a similar story over on Cars & Bids. This 2002 XKR 100, a special model commemorating the 100th birthday of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons, hammered in January for $14,600. With just 56,500 miles on the clock, awesome multi-piece wheels, Brembo brakes, and Recaro seats, this is a cool drop-top, full stop.

2004 Jaguar Xkr 1

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If you search really hard, you can even find an XKR Coupe for less than base Versa money. This 2004 model year car with 94,000 miles on the clock sold on Bring A Trailer back in February for $13,500. Again, this is some seriously sensible coin for a scorcher of a car, so what gives?

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Jaguar Xkr 100 Engine Bay 2

Well, it largely comes down to early installment issues. Let’s not sugar-coat this: The earlier four-liter models featured plastic timing chain guides that get brittle and can shatter into multiple pieces, resulting in catastrophic engine damage. Our own Stephen Walter Gossin’s made the journey to the center of a four-liter Jaguar V8, and it’s not a job for casuals. However, Jaguar’s parts catalog claims that engine serial numbers 010813 0000 and up used metal guides, and these engines started to be installed in cars circa 2001.

Oh, and then there’s the curious case of Nikasil-lined cylinders on pre-August 2000 engines that didn’t get along with older, higher sulfur limits in gasoline. While not all Nikasil-lined engines will have problems, it’s not unheard of for the coating to wear prematurely, resulting in substantial oil blow-by issues. Between the slim number of affected cars out there and the likelihood of bad engines already having been repaired with steel liners, this isn’t a massive concern in the real world. If it’s a sticking point for you, might I suggest touching grass?

Jaguar Xkr 100 Roof

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Instead of the boogeyman of Nikasil liners, here’s an actual real-world nuisance — the X100 isn’t tall-person friendly. If you’re tall and accidentally run over what is known as a pothole, your XKR coupe might suddenly gain a Gurney bubble. That seems like it would hurt, and I wouldn’t expect highway damage compensation programs to cover, um, concussions. This can be avoided with the XKR Cabriolet, but cabriolets do require extra maintenance. The top can get careworn, seals can grow weary, and costs aren’t to be underestimated.

Otherwise, these are old cars now, and old car stuff will need tending to. I’m talking about bushings, ball joints, brakes, tires, fluids, filters … all the stuff that goes into just about any car. Parts wear out, little things need tending to, but that’s just what you should expect in a car of this age. Even 20-year-old Camrys need maintenance.

Should You Buy A Jaguar XKR?

Jaguar Xkr Portfolio Rear

Yes, with an asterisk. Don’t go on Facebook Marketplace and sort pricing by low-to-high; actually make a concerted effort to buy a good example with minimal problems. An early car without real evidence of preventative maintenance is a gamble, but a well-sorted XKR is a joy. I’ll take mine in candy green with carbon scoops and those fantastic five-spoke multi-piece wheels.

[Hat-tip to John!]

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(Photo credits: Cars & Bids, Bring A Trailer)

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Defenestrator
Defenestrator
23 days ago

I recently drove an XK8 and can confirm: it is not designed for a 6’2″ driver. It’s doable, but it’s really not enjoyable. I honestly expected a 2+2 GT to be reasonably roomy, but it’s borderline undriveable for me. I think something like 5’10 is the max driver height.

Greensoul
Greensoul
27 days ago

I’ve always thought that these were the best looking Jaguars ever made. I would be afraid to buy one because they are Jaguars. Doesn’t stop me from admiring them from a distance, though. If I ever win the lottery I’ll splurge and get a coupe and convertible one of these (and a full time mechanic)!

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
27 days ago

As a tall guy who’s always wanted a XK or an XKR convertible, I’m sad to hear it won’t be on my short list now.

Myk El
Myk El
27 days ago

Now here’s another I’d love but am afraid to buy.

Fatallightning
Fatallightning
28 days ago

Had an X100 XKR vert for 2 years as a daily, with a Caterham as the fun car. Superb GT car, although the rear seats are literally useless for passengers as my seat back would touch the rear cushions. The other bugaboo not mentioned with verts , is the high pressure hydraulic top system blowing up and raining fluid down from the header on you (green shower of death). They make a doodad that lowers the effective line pressure to make it less likely, the cheapskate way is just only raise the top when the car is off, as the lower system voltage slightly underdrives the pump. The chassis will have notable cowl shake, but again, GT car, not sports car. I paid $4500 for mine with 110,000 miles, but that’s when values were at the nadir. It was also underpriced, and I was just the first one to show up with the money.

John J Gerding
John J Gerding
28 days ago

A couple of things. I am the proud owner of an XK8, which has plenty of horsepower, thank you, to get the job done. The car is a joy to drive, with some problems that the potential buyer needs to be aware of. These are true of both XK8 and XKR.

  1. The electronics are screwy. When dropping the top, the rear side windows are supposed to drop first, and then the top unlatches and drops. The reverse is the accepted procedure when raising the top. HOWEVER, it has been my experience (I have owned two.) that the back side windows work approximately whenever they feel like it. I never really know whether they are going to drop or close any time I utilize the top.
  2. Battery minders are required if you don’t use the car as a daily driver. Even a slight drop in voltage from the battery can cause various electronic gadgets to malfunction.
  3. In addition to the problem with the timing chain followers, the front shock mounts tend to disintegrate at about the 40 – 50,000 mile mark.
  4. Parts for these cars are, as you would expect, rather pricey. And if you need a spare key or key fob, you can pretty much forget about it.
  5. Other electronic problems arise from time to time. For instance, the windows are supposed to drop about 1/2 inch when you open the doors. They are then supposed to rise when the door is closed. Other times, the windows seem to have minds of their own, and need to be re-set from time to time.
  6. Mechanics who understand these cars are few and far between, and those that do work on them really hate fooling with them.

All of this being said, they are delightful cars to drive. And, in my personal opinion, they are way more attractive than the more recent iteration. The fact that I am now on my second one (the first got totaled) shows how much I love this car. But, try to find a model built after 2001. You won’t be sorry.

Dinklesmith
Dinklesmith
28 days ago

I just bought a 2001 XK8 for $8500 just two weeks ago. They’re absolutely amazing cars and the maintenance and reliability are surprisingly decent, given the Ford parts under the skin

Peter d
Peter d
28 days ago

Tom,

I was going to curse you because you almost sent me down a path that may be rewarding, but with lots of cash and and time repair/maintenance sucks – thank goodness these do not fit tall people! Otherwise I might be searching one right now….

Although, this means I am once again probably going to have to spend real money on a European (German) car because these are the ones that actually come closest to fitting me.

pizzaman09
pizzaman09
28 days ago

I was cross shopping these supercharged Jags, XJR and XKR against eight gen Civic Si sedans when shopping for a replacement car recently. I found the Civic I wanted before the Jag, but the price range the the same. It was a trade off of power and comfort for having a manual and potentially be good at autocross.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
28 days ago

Memento is a much better film. The Jag is driven by the hero. No wait, is he the villain ? I forget.

Bryan McIntosh
Bryan McIntosh
28 days ago

I found out about the XKR when it was released as a free downloadable car for the PC version of Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit. Back in Ye Olden Times the server EA stored these on would almost always be busy, and I had to download the car via a dial-up connection that was capped at 28.8 kbps (the provider would later upgrade to v.90 56k, but I think it was after I grabbed this car). I had zero luck getting it on evenings or weekends, so I needed to wait for a snow day or other school holiday to stand a chance of being able to get it from the EA server’s download link. Once I got the car for the game it was glorious, but the process was a real trial!

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
28 days ago

I have a 2000 XK8 convertible, but I would like to graduate to an XKR Coupe – those things are simply drop-dead gorgeous and supercharging makes everything better. The base-convertible has been a lot of fun though. For $4,000 I got a surprisingly nice looking one with working everything! Just ignore really slow-moving top, the persistent taillight gremlins, the weird issue with the headlights going out when the turning-signals are activated, and the couple of quarts of oil it consumes every 1000 miles.

I’ve made it through 3,000 miles so far and besides, none of the above matters when I hit the gas and wake the big cat up. Even the non-supercharged version brings a stupid-wide smile to one’s face. And that interior – my daughter used nearly the same words as yours: “this is a special place to be”, when she rode in it for the first time.

Btw, the Autopian has been kicking even more ass than usual the last couple of days. Cadillacs, Jaguars, and a classic Citroen DS commercial? Glad someone there noticed my birthday is almost here!

Last edited 28 days ago by Boulevard_Yachtsman
Dinklesmith
Dinklesmith
28 days ago

I have an ’01 XK8 that I bought 2 weeks ago. My god does the engine sound cool on it

Russ Evenhuis
Russ Evenhuis
28 days ago

I’d love to have a convertible, especially one as beautiful as this Jag but the note that it’s not for tall people gives me pause. I’m 6’4. What convertibles would be for tall people? I had a 2000 Mustang convertible that fit pretty well but then I drove my mom’s 2005 Thunderbird but couldn’t get the seat low enough to look through the windshield. The Miata she had before that actually fit better but I felt like a ping pong ball on the highways.

Beer-light Guidance
Beer-light Guidance
28 days ago
Reply to  Russ Evenhuis

I rode in one several times back when they first came out and I don’t remember headroom being an issue (I’m 6’3″). This is in contrast with the time I had some dreams die when I sat in an F-Type that had the top down and realized that the windshield stopped at about the middle of my forehead.

Dinklesmith
Dinklesmith
28 days ago

I’m 6′ and my head scrapes the fabric top when I’m in my XK8. The top bar of the windshield blocks a lot of stop lights too. It fits me better than a Miata, but going much taller than I am wouldn’t be pleasant

Last edited 28 days ago by Dinklesmith
Russ Evenhuis
Russ Evenhuis
28 days ago
Reply to  Russ Evenhuis

I remember reading that they had to take the stuffing out of the seat cushion in the Ferrari on Magnum PI so the car fit Tom Selleck

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
27 days ago
Reply to  Russ Evenhuis

Have you tried the BMW Z3/Z4? I haven’t been in one, but when I was kicking around the idea of getting a ‘vert, these looked like a solid possibility. Reviews said headroom was good with the top up. Germans tend to be above average in height.

Russ Evenhuis
Russ Evenhuis
27 days ago

I haven’t but I’ll take a look

Sklooner
Sklooner
28 days ago

One for sale in my province $41000 coupe but that’s Canadian dollars

Maymar
Maymar
28 days ago

I know it was used most prominently in Die Another Day, but this will always be Simon Skinner’s car from the far better Hot Fuzz (as portrayed by ex-Bond Timothy Dalton!). Alternatively, also from Entrapment, also with ex-Bond Connery.

Either way, I’m a total sucker for a decent GT, and this might be the best GT value for money.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
28 days ago

Die Another Day was such a shockingly bad movie. Even adolescent me knew it was crap. Casino Royale kind of made up for it, but to me the Brosnan era is more or less when the Bond franchise died.

That being said, the cars were amazing. I look at listings for XKs and XKRs from this era often. They’re ridiculously tempting, particularly in drop top form. You can get a V8, RWD, British luxury coupe with timelessly elegant styling and a gorgeous, wood forward interior for borderline “fuck it” money.

If we ever have more space/find ourselves in a financial place at which my wife won’t fire me into the sun for buying weekend car purely for the lolz, these are high on my list. I just wish there were manuals….

Data
Data
28 days ago

I still feel like Goldeneye is great, but the rest of Brosnan’s run, not so much.

Bryan McIntosh
Bryan McIntosh
28 days ago
Reply to  Data

I agree that Goldeneye is awesome, and I also have a soft spot in my heart for Tomorrow Never Dies purely for its awesome parking garage action scene featuring a BMW 750iL:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN63LoWs1XU

Maymar
Maymar
28 days ago
Reply to  Bryan McIntosh

Also, Elliot Carver’s foolproof plan of media consolidation rather than putting his proto-iPad on the market, because newspapers are endlessly profitable and tech is a dead end.

Hiram McDaniel
Hiram McDaniel
28 days ago

I have the big brother of this, a 2001 Jaguar XJR. Same engine, though. And let me tell you, that MFer PULLS. It is a truly addictive motor. And the Sport button next to the transmission J-gate makes a huge difference. Interesting trivia on the MB sourced transmission, in non-S mode, it always starts in 2nd gear. Put it in S, it starts in first, and stomping the angry pedal puts you back in the seat,

Last edited 28 days ago by Hiram McDaniel
Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
28 days ago
Reply to  Hiram McDaniel

I think that’s a calibration choice by Jaguar. the ZF8 in my F Type does the same thing. You really notice the difference in S and with the car in dynamic mode.

Toecutter
Toecutter
28 days ago

If this car were built to about 3/4 scale and lost 1,000+ lbs, but kept the same engine, it would be a much more attractive proposition. As is, it is fully more than 1,000 lbs heavier than a classic E-Type.

Although, I could see these appreciating in value nicely in the medium to long-term future given how few survived.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
28 days ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Miata swap?

Toecutter
Toecutter
28 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

I like the Miata, but it was designed to look a lot less sexy than the Jaguar. The Miata Italia kit IMO looks a lot better than a stock Miata, and it wasn’t hard to outdo the stock Miata. There seems to be this unwritten rule in the industry that drop-dead gorgeous cars are NEVER to be offered at relatively inexpensive prices, and those beautiful cars designed get saved exclusively for expensive models intended to be purchased exclusively by rich people.

This is in stark contrast to the mid-20th century offerings when they were new. And this has been mostly true ever since the 1970s Malaise era.

But at least these expensive cars do filter into the used market. It’s a shame they were designed to be so expensive to repair though, as that makes most of them pre-destined for the scrapyard instead of providing joy to someone who would otherwise gladly appreciate them

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
27 days ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Actually I was thinking of the folks who are putting Jaguar AJ-V6 engines into Miatas, which is of course a totally different engine.

Thebloody_shitposter
Thebloody_shitposter
28 days ago

I commuted to work with my 4.6 X150 XKR this morning. Highway was empty and so I gave it some beans, it just felt so damn good. God I love that car, what started as a fun weekend car is now “drive every chance I get” car.

Last edited 28 days ago by Thebloody_shitposter
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