Drive – Jaguar XK Coupe Review

10 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Jaguar XK Coupe Review
Jaguar XK

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A different type

It’s not every day that a new Jaguar sports car hits the streets. Since the definitive E-Type of 1961, we’ve seen just two follow-ups, the XJS of the 1970s and ’80s and the XK sold between 1996 and 2005.

Now, finally, we have another to ponder, the all-new XK. It’s got a lot to live up to.

In its time, the superseded XK was the fastest-selling Jaguar, so the new model must address its shortcomings without significantly altering the formula that attracted buyers in the first place.

On paper, at least, things look good. The body, following on from its XJ sedan brother, is now made from aluminium. Not only is it significantly stiffer than before, but it’s lighter, weighing a trim 1595 kilograms.

Throw in a revised V8, high-tech cabin (look Dad, no wood), improved safety – led by a pedestrian-friendly pyrotechnic bonnet – and a new sequential shift auto and there’s plenty to talk about.

For many, though, the prime attraction will be looks. Hugely sexy, spectacular and graceful all at once, it’s mighty hard to imagine any buyer not liking what they see.

Under the bonnet is a revised version of Jaguar’s 4.2-litre V8. While power remains the same at 224 kW, the new engine is cleaner and meets more stringent Euro IV emissions standards. Next to sportier rivals, the Jaguar’s performance – 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds – isn’t amazing (that tough-boy job is reserved for the supercharged XKR).

However, it’s not exactly slow and is rather nice to pedal, with marvellous refinement, a mighty mid-range and a delicious V8 yodel when pushed.

Economy is also pretty good. While we couldn’t match the claimed 11.3 L/100 km, our test average of 12.6 L/100 km isn’t bad at all for a big, V8-powered coupe.

The XK’s smart and treacle-smooth six-speed automatic ditches Jaguar’s traditional J-gate selector for a regular quadrant supplemented by steering wheel paddles. In manual mode it works brilliantly, even blipping the throttle on downchanges.

The XK’s auto transmission, overly light steering and cruisy demeanour won’t endear it to ultra-keen steerers, but it’s very well sorted. Push it into a corner and you’ll find it responds keenly, with bags of grip, a highly predictable balance and little in the way of unwanted body movement.

More surprising is the ride which, despite 20-inch wheels on our test car, was quite lush. While lumps and bumps are felt, the suspension superbly blots their impact.

Add respectably muted noise levels and you’ve got a great urban cruiser and long-distance tourer. Indeed, the only real downer is the finer details of the cabin. That’s a pity because for front-seat space, comfort, ambience, control layout and boot space the XK delivers.

However, the back seat is no better than a plush luggage bench and, despite more leather than an SM club, various bits lack the quality feel you’d expect. A tacked-on parcel shelf that refused to stay put and a supremely noisy passenger window (for some reason, it would only occasionally rise all the way when the passenger door was closed) were other blemishes.

In the wider scheme, the XK succeeds. It’s not the sportiest player, but few play the grand tourer role better.

Price and equipment

Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars

Jaguar XK

Next to similarly priced sportsters, the XK Coupe#8217;s on-paper pitch isn#8217;t amazing, with several rivals offering more power and the promise of a sportier driving experience. That#8217;s not to damn it, though, because the Jag packs all the expected luxuries (sat nav, TV, power heated seats, parking sensors) and is bang-up-to-date technology-wise. And its supremely sexy looks can be compared to vehicles costing a lot more.

Under the bonnet

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Jaguar#8217;s familiar 4.2-litre V8 isn#8217;t a powerhouse by class standards, touting the same 224kW as its predecessor.

However, thanks to the new aluminium body#8217;s reduced weight, performance is improved. In the end performance isn#8217;t searing, but the Jaguar is anything but tardy in a straight line. It can#8217;t be denied, either, that it#8217;s rather nice to pedal, with marvellous refinement, a mighty mid-range and a delicious V8 yodel when pushed.

The mandatory six-speed auto won#8217;t impress self-shifting fans but is smart, super smooth and boasts handy steering wheel paddles for manual shifting.

How it drives

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The XK#8217;s auto transmission, overly light steering and cruisy demeanour won#8217;t endear it to ultra-keen steerers, but push it into a corner and you#8217;ll find it responds keenly, with bags of grip, a highly predictable balance and little in the way of unwanted body movement. More surprising is the ride, which superbly blots out impacts. Add respectably muted noise levels and you#8217;ve got a great urban cruiser and long-distance tourer.

Comfort and practicality

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The XK#8217;s new cabin is decidedly high-tech by Jag standards (look Mum, no wood!) and rates well for space, comfort, ambience and control layout. However, the back seat is basically a plush luggage bench and, despite more leather than an SM club, some bits and pieces #8211; notably the switchgear and the tacked-on parcel shelf #8211; lack the quality feel you#8217;d expect.

Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK
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