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April 23, 2008 > Auto Review: Jaguar XK Coupe

Auto Review: Jaguar XK Coupe

The XK Coupe is my new favorite car. It's a great car to drive and I love its bold and masculine styling that is really pleasing to the eye. Look at the photos with this article and I think you will agree with me. Jaguar engineered the sound of the car perfectly. It's not too quiet and not too loud, it's just right as the big cat snarls down the road.

The XK is a 2+2 body style. This means that there is all the room you need in the front two seats - and many available adjustments to get really comfortable - but no room in the back two seats. With the driver's seat moved back to where I feel comfortable, about one inch of rear seat legroom remains. The trunk has an irregular shape; it may be hard to pack a number of suitcases back there.

The XK's ride is very smooth with just the right amount of "sports car" feel. It glides down the freeway but can handle twisty roads with no problems. It is stable and easy to drive fast.

My only real complaint about the XK revolves around the functioning of the electronic traction control system. Traction control does not fully switch off. You can push the button on the console and the indicator light says the system is turned off; and most of the time it will stay off, but at high side g-loadings the system continues to reduce the motor's power output. So when you ask for power (hit the throttle) to correct the XK's front-end push (understeer), Jaguar's lawyers say, "We know more than you so you can't have any power. That way you will not sue us." The traction control shutoff works just fine at anything less than hard cornering. When you do corner hard, not being able to use full throttle is a drastic surprise and very frustrating.

The XK has a few features that I haven't seen before such as a heated steering wheel for those cold morning departures. Another is its "turn lights." Some cars have lights on the sides of the front-end that come on when you signal for a turn. The XK's turn lights come on (when the headlights are on) when you turn the steering wheel more than a few degrees to help you see what is on that side.

The XK coupe is amazingly light for its size. I was surprised that it only weighed 3,671 pounds. I found that Jaguar constructs its monocoque body structure out of aluminum. This increases the chassis stiffness which is good for handling and protects the occupants better in a crash.

The base XK power plant is a 4.2-liter, 4-cam, V-8 that puts out 300 HP and 303 foot pounds of torque. It drives a 6-speed ZF automatic transmission that can be paddle shifted. The coupe will do zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and still deliver EPA mileage of 16 for the city cycle and 25 for the highway city cycle

The coupe starts at a base price of $75,500. If you want wind-in-your hair motoring, the convertible is $6,000 more. Want to go faster? You can add 120 HP and 110 more foot pounds of torque by purchasing the R-Model of the coupe or convertible. This adds a supercharger, intercooler, performance brake system, stiffer springs, and a number of other items for an additional $11,200 to either of the XKs. Yes, the Jaguar XKs are expensive, but if you can afford one, you will love it.

By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists

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