Jaguar XK 2006 review

We've already been impressed by the XK, so could the Jaguar XK Coupe be the most exciting new car of the year?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The XK marks a real return to form for Jaguar. Handsome lines, fantastic performance and superb refinement make it a serious, if costly, contender in the coupé stakes. It doesn't offer the driving thrills of a Porsche 911, but it's a great improvement over the old car.

In Convertible form the Jaguar XK beat the BMW 6-Series on its first UK test, but how does the long-awaited Coupe measure up?

The handsome machine looks better in the metal than in photographs, and is best viewed from the rear, where powerful haunches give it a purposeful stance. The aluminium bodywork clearly pays homage to the classic E-Type, especially at the front, but details such as the fussy light clusters and old-fashioned retractable aerial are a disappointment.

With a proper hatch at the back, there's a fine amount of luggage space. And although the token rear seats are fixed - the Coupe is billed as a 2+2 - the contents of the 330-litre boot are hidden from prying eyes. Up front, the cabin is well equipped and, thanks to multi-adjustable electric chairs, getting comfortable behind the wheel is simple. A red starter button fires up the normally aspirated 300bhp V8, which sounds as purposeful under acceleration as it is muted when cruising. Worked hard, the Jag has a serious turn of pace.

There's also a slick six-speed auto' box that boasts a pair of steering wheel-mounted paddles for sequential manual shifts. In addition, our test car had optional CATS suspension, which adapts the damper settings to individual driving style and speed. Even with the bigger 20-inch alloys fitted, it offers impressive ride comfort yet retains a fine handling balance, so the model is still fun to drive.

While not a truly focused sports car, the XK trades on Jaguar's traditional strengths of refinement and comfort. For fans of the brand, the wait is well and truly over.

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