The Jaguar XK is simply stunning. In these days of sameness and mediocrity among so many cars, the XK is a thing of beauty.
I test drove the four-seat coupe – there’s also a cabriolet – which shows off the best in 21st century British design. It looks every inch the powerful car it is.
The XK is sleek and distinctive, seamlessly combining retro sports coupe style redolent of the classic E-Type with modern dynamics. Personally I prefer the tin top – these are currently more in vogue than ragtops, as well as being more practical.
The bonnet is long and sharklike, the roofline low, and the rear slopes sharply. From the back the wide tyres and flared arches give the car a distinctive presence on the road.
Inside, the car has a modern feel, with low, but very comfortable, electrically powered wraparound seats in sumptuous leather. Visibility, with narrow windows and the large sloping rear screen, is adequate without being wonderful. Controls are neatly laid out and the steering wheel is electrically reach adjustable. Rear passenger room is not great but you wouldn’t expect it to be. The sloping rear screen restricts headroom in the back, and legroom is tight to say the least.
My XK test car was powered by a very sprightly lightweight 5.0 litre V8 engine which revs smoothly but still makes enough noise to let you know it means business. This is a sports car after all, and has been limited to a top speed of 155 mph where legal. The engine develops 385 bhp and will take you from 0-60 mph in a shade over five seconds. Linked to a superb six speed automatic gearbox, it has an awesome burst of power on kickdown which will press you back into your seat.
Handling is superb, thanks to a stiff all-aluminium body, and coil spring suspension. Cornering is crisp and pleasing. Low profile tyres on beautiful 20 inch silver alloys complete the look.
That big, sloping back end gives you long and wide boot, though it’s not particularly deep. Interior stowage space is good, including a large locking glovebox and stowage compartment in the central transmission tunnel.
Specification includes keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, heated powered mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic bi-xenon headlamps, all-round parking aid with camera, memory settings for the powered front seats, heated leather steering wheel, touch-screen satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. A DAB radio comes at an extra £360.
Despite its undoubted power, the XK returns a just-about-respectable 25.2 miles to the gallon in mixed driving. Needless to say, sporty Jaguar driving comes at a price. You’ll pay £70,550 on the road.