Its a good question and one I'm asked quite a lot when people chat with me live at car gatherings. My simple answer is
I own an XK8 and thats the car I wanted rather than the car I could afford.
I have no issue with the XKR. I think they are amazing.
Visually they don't stand head and shoulders above the XK8 as beyond the bonnet vents its all very subtle and easily mimicked on an XK8 if you prefer any element of it (Mesh grill, tiny boot spoiler, ride height change the wheels etc)
Power-wise , we all love more.
I'm no different and I do drive 'spiritedly' when I judge the risks to be tolerable and only to myself. But beyond the odd track day, the XK8 goes as fast as I can drive on public roads and im well beyond caring if a Vauxhall Corsa with blue undercarriage lights wants to try showing up the 'Old man Jag'
I envy the braking performance (or did🤫) of the Brembo equipped cars
But from the point of view of consumable and running costs. I don't crave the brake disc prices or life.
CATS dampers are amazing but not a game changer and again very expensive
Tyre life is significantly lower if you utilise any of the additional torque.
And then there's the problem only for the OCD folk amongst us. A dirtier engine compartment due to rain water and dust and muck entering through the very necessary bonnet grills.🤣
Now I have to caveat all of the above with the following.
I love XKR's.
They are epically fast. and the in-cabin sound is unique.
I bought Purdey the XK8 based on price, condition, colour and because she was so old (yes I know that one is backward but I'm special😁)
If the car I had seen that day had been an 'R' i would still have bought it.
We will never know for sure as there is no such thing as a 1996 XKR. but if i saw two identical cars (even same price) and the only difference was the 'Blower' then im pretty sure i would still plump for the 300Hp XK8.
Im genuinely looking at some X308's right now. and its the same scenario.
I may well end up falling in love with and buying an example of an XJR. but everything being equal I will probably end up with an XJ8.
Unless its a Daimler🤔