The Jaguar XK-Series offers a lengthy list of standard equipment. Like all great Jaguar sports cars, the focus of the all-new XK is firmly on the future, while acknowledging the marque’s rich history. It heralds a new era for Jaguar in terms of both design and engineering, and it is the most technically advanced Jaguar ever built. Among the highlights are 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, 12-way power/heated seats with memory for the driver, automatic climate control, reverse-parking sensors, one-touch power windows and a 320-watt Alpine stereo with a six-disc CD changer in the trunk. The convertible has a power-operated top. Options include xenon headlamps, adaptive cruise control and a DVD-based navigation system.
Under the hood, the new XK features Jaguar’s AJ-V8 engine, making 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The chassis is composed of aluminum castings and extrusions, bonded to its alloy body with a combination of rivets and heat-cured epoxy adhesives, reducing the convertible’s weight by 308 lb. and the coupe’s by 200 lb., down to 3605 lb. and 3516 lb., respectively.
Front and front side head and chest airbags, powerful four-wheel vented antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control systems, and a driver-settable automatic speed limiter are standard safety equipment in the Jaguar XKR. An adaptive cruise control system that automatically resets speed to keep distance in traffic is available. The XK is a quick car, 300bhp ensures that, but in reality that’s not enough to unstick that wide rubber in anything but wet weather.
The all-new XK continues the Jaguar tradition of beautiful, powerful, ground-breaking sports cars, but behind its stunning looks, it bristles with practical, intuitive, modern technology, clearly focussed on enhancing the driving experience. It delivers significant improvements in performance, dynamics, safety, exterior and interior design and equipment, and product quality. When it is launched in early 2006, this first of the next generation of Jaguars will become the sporting flagship of the Jaguar brand.
The XK’s bigger too. Though the length is little changed, it’s wider and more bullish than before. It’s got attitude. Under the skin the differences are even greater. For starters the whole car is built of aluminium rather than steel.
The XK’s cockpit has an opulent ambience with supple leather used on the seats, center console, door panels and steering wheel. The leather is matched up with extensive inlays of wood, along with various plastic panels that seem more suited to a Ford than a Jaguar. Occupants will find plenty of room to stretch out in front, but the small rear seats are designed more for shopping bags than real people.
Wood trim on the dash and steering wheel come in traditional dark walnut as well as light-colored poplar, or—for a more technical look—brushed aluminum. The instrument panel has a central touch-screen for climate, 6-CD audio, GPS, etc., but most of the crucial, can’t-wait controls are simple round knobs. Overall, it’s pretty straightforward and non-irritating, menus and all.
The advantage with Jaguar’s choice is that if you want ultra smooth, ultra easy automatic driving, you just stick the lever in Drive and forget it. Or move it to Sport and you get changes higher up the rev range and a willingness to drop down a gear as you are braking, so that you are in the correct gear to power away out of the corner. It works peachily well. But pull on one of the paddles and you are in full manual control. Up and down changes happen at lightning speed – faster even than BMW’s SMG gearbox on its brutal extreme setting – yet the XK system is smooth and sophisticated.