2008 Jaguar XK BaseView Vehicle Profile
2007-11 Jaguar XK: Aluminum Jag is the cat’s meow
If there was ever a good incentive to surrender your aluminum pie plates to recycling, the Jaguar XK would be it.
Like the XJ sedan that preceded it, the second-generation XK’s monocoque body shell was constructed almost entirely of aluminum, trimming almost 100 kg of mass. The structure was also 30 per cent stiffer, which made it more crush resistant.
The aluminum unibody was riveted and bonded together like an Airbus (yes, adhesives keep airliners intact), delivering a troika of goodness — lightness, strength and rigidity — which paid dividends in terms of enlivened handling, enhanced acceleration and higher efficiency.
Not to mention aluminum can be shaped into fetching curves. Designer Ian Callum, formerly of Aston Martin fame, reportedly drew inspiration for the XK’s new body from his boyish admiration for actor Kate Winslet.
Unveiled at the 2005 Frankfurt Auto Show, the new XK landed in Canada in early 2006 as a 2007 model. Available as a two-door coupe and convertible, the body had grown 9 cm wider and the wheelbase 16 cm longer, pushing the wheels closer to the corners of the car where they belonged.
The XK retained the long-hood/short-deck profile of the storied E-type Jag, although the coupe actually functioned as a hatchback. The convertible body was 19 per cent lighter than the old steel one, yet boasted 50-per-cent-more torsional rigidity. It continued to offer a power soft-top with a heated glass rear window.
The double A-arm suspension in front and five-link independent rear setup migrated from the XJ sedan, but incorporated steel springs rather than troublesome air bladders.
Inside, the Jaguar tradition of aromatic leathers and rich poplar and walnut finishes remained intact, though buyers could order high-tech aluminum trim, too. Central to the cockpit was a large touchscreen that was easier to work than BMW’s cranky iDrive controller.
Seating up front was roomy, but the tiny rear seats (suitable for munchkins only) could not fold to extend the cargo space behind because of a large structural brace in the way.
Early models offered the familiar, carried-over DOHC 4.2 L V8, but with a 6-hp boost to 300 horses and 310 lb.-ft. of torque. No big improvement, but after the car’s aluminum diet, the XK did feel more caffeinated. All models employed a smooth-shifting ZF six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel paddles for manumatic operation.
The performance-oriented XKR, available in both coupe and ragtop, used a supercharged version of the aluminum 4.2 L V8, good for 420 hp.
The 2010 XK lineup received styling tweaks and a new direct-injection V8 that displaced 5.0 litres. The base engine made 385 hp, while the supercharged XKR pumped out 510 horses. The XKR also featured Jaguar’s new Adaptive Dynamics suspension.
ON THE ROAD
Zero to 96 km/h comes up in 5.9 seconds; for attention-deficit-disorder types, the XKR can accelerate in an astonishing 4.5 seconds, no waiting. The 5.0-litre cars are even quicker: 5.0 seconds naturally aspirated, and 4.0 supercharged.
“Biggest problem was keeping it under the speed limit. The car is most happy cruising at 80-90 m.p.h.,” one delighted owner posted.
It’s easy to mistake the XK for a relaxed cruiser, yet it demonstrates remarkable poise as it juggles the ride-and-handling compromise expertly. The rear-drive chassis is stable at speed and the fast-acting transmission works well with the V8. Braking performance is above reproach.
Perhaps the most surprising facet is the XK’s fuel-sipping ways when driven conservatively. Owners reported better than 32 m.p.g. (8.8 litres/100 km) on highway runs using premium, of course.
WHAT OWNERS REPORTED
Owners raved about the XK’s refined drivetrain, sumptuous interior and characteristic feline styling so unlike the stiff profiles emanating from Germany and elsewhere.
“The Jag has sufficient performance, a solid, rich feel, a growl when it needs one, and is downright beautiful,” one owner boasted online.
Jaguars haven’t always enjoyed sterling reliability, and there are indications the XK may exhibit some nostalgic tendencies. The most commonly reported bugaboos are drained batteries and electrical gremlins affecting the keyless ignition, instrument displays and Bluetooth connectivity.
Droopy door glass may be caused by the glass being out of adjustment, rather than a faulty window regulator. An oil leak may develop at the rear of the engine, which in some cases is caused by engine block porosity; aluminum putty is a reported fix.
Other reported mechanical faults include poorly fitted convertible tops, broken radio antennas, persistent warning lamps and some on-board computers requiring reflashes.
We would like to know about your ownership experience with these models: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Toyota Avalon and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2007-11 Jaguar XK
WHAT’S BEST: Aluminum construction, agile performer, sexy profile
WHAT’S WORST: Tiny cargo space, handful in snow, Brit-car electrical glitches
TYPICAL GTA PRICES: 2007 — $35,000; 2010 — $55,000
Used Jaguar XK All Used Vehicles
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