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CAR OF THE MONTH June 2006

2007 Jaguar XK Review

Gorgeous Fast Cat

By Alain Gayot

In short: A stylish sports GT convertible.

The Jaguar design team in Coventry, England, decided not to rest simply on its laurels when creating the new XK. Instead, they combined elements of its legendary past with the latest technological advancements, the most important being its unit body all-aluminum structure. This new platform makes the Convertible and Coupe very rigid, and more solid performers than the XK8 they replace.

Jaguar design director Ian Callum not only faced a wide array of safety restrictions, legal requirements and aluminum bending limitations when penning the XK, but he also dealt with the arduous styling task of replacing the decade-old XK8’s classic lines. His final masterpiece retains Jaguar’s distinctive E-Type oval grille, but adds in plenty of modern lines and edges.

“The car was not only going to be a beautiful one, but also one that looked strong,” Callum said. We think that has been achieved, especially in the Coupe, which reminds us a lot of the Aston Martins (DB7, DB9 and V8 Vantage) that Callum also designed.

Under the skin, you will find a perfectly balanced front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2+2-seat automobile that combines a sports car and GT into one. Due to its relatively lightweight aluminum body and performance-tuned driving dynamics, the XK is very agile, fun to drive and best of all, feels planted. Replacing Jaguar’s trademark “J gate” shifter is a six-speed Sequential Shift automatic transmission with three different settings. You can cruise at a leisurely pace in simple Drive, or kick into Sport Auto mode, where you’ll get more responsive shifts optimized for fast driving. For those who like to orchestrate the show themselves, Sport Manual mode allows the driver to shift the close-position gears via steering-wheel-mounted paddles.

Like the exterior, the interior is a blend of contemporary materials and classic touches including our Convertible test car's luxurious Burl Walnut trim. Overall, the interior is understated and simplified with intuitive controls that allow you to concentrate on the driving experience. The instrument cluster is easily decipherable and many functions are assigned to the center console touch screen powered by Macromedia Flash. For convenience, a passive keyless entry system and engine start button get you going without having to fumble around in your purse or pocket for the key fob.

Swiveling bi-xenon headlights, reverse parking assist and optional radar-based adaptive cruise control make the driver’s job easier and safer. Further peace of mind is provided by a whiplash reduction system, Dynamic Stability Control, Computer Active Technology Suspension (with the apt acronym CATS) and the Convertible’s Roll-Over Protection System (ROPS) that extends roll hoops in the event of an unfortunate capsizing.

Eventually, a more powerful XK with a supercharged engine — similar to the outgoing XKR — will most likely be offered. Until then, the base price for the 300-horsepower Convertible is $80,835, or about $6,000 more than the Coupe. Our Jaguar Racing Green tester came with a few options like adaptive cruise control that pushed the price up.

As Chief Program Engineer Russ Varney said of the XK, “This is the most technologically advanced Jaguar ever built.” With their recent gains in customer satisfaction, we urge you to test drive this exhilarating gorgeous cat.

Read a review of the Jaguar XKR

Warranty/Service: Five-year/50,000-mile new vehicle warranty; one-year free schedule maintenance; 24-hour roadside assistance.


QUICK SHEET
Base Price: $75,500

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door convertible

Engine: 4.2-liter V8
Horsepower: 300 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 310 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters

Curb weight: 3,759 lbs
Wheelbase: 108.3 in
Length/Width/Height:
188.6/81.5/52.3 in
Turning circle: n/a

Brakes: four-wheel disc with ABS and electronic brake assist
Suspension:
independent front and rear
Traction:
traction control, vehicle stability control


Safety:
front airbags, front side abdomen airbags, whiplash reduction system, tire pressure monitor

0-60 mph: 6 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph (governed)

EPA City: 18 mpg
EPA Highway: 26 mpg

Likes: luxurious style; road holding behavior; simplified instrumentation

Dislikes:
wind noise from the old-school antenna; could be more comfortable; needs more horsepower

Jaguar XK Coupe
Jaguar XK Coupe

An XK's aluminum frame at Jaguar's Castle Bromwich factory in England
An XK's aluminum frame at Jaguar's Castle Bromwich factory in England
that used to be home to Spitfire production during World War II.

Check out other Jaguar models
See all of our Automobile Reviews
Visit the Jaguar website

Photography: AlphaMedia

P041806
(Updated: 12/15/11 NW)

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