Look out Simon, Dannii and Co... there’s a new X Factor star in town!
Have to confess. I am a bit of an X Factor fan.
No weekend is complete without the pouting Dannii Minogue, chirpy Geordie lass Cheryl Cole, Ireland’s very own Louis Walsh – and not forgetting Mr Nasty himself, Simon Cowell.
But now, the TV show is facing a bit of X-tra competition for my attention. Yes, there’s a new ‘X’ factor in my life. And the question is: Will it be as big a hit with me as the talent show?
The newcomer is Jaguar’s mighty XK Coupé. It has just arrived on our long-term fleet, and for the next few months I’ll be looking after the keys (or rather the keyless start fob!).
I’m the perfect keeper for the big cat, because my previous charge was Audi’s gorgeous TT. How will the Little and Large of the coupé world compare? Well, both are real lookers.
The XK comes with all the exterior tweaks introduced for the 2010 model year, including sleeker, meaner-looking front and rear bumpers and neat touches such as the body-coloured, chrome-trimmed side power vents.
There are also bi-xenon integrated cornering headlamps and LED tail-lights. Plus, the car is equipped with 20-inch Kalimnos wheels, which look fantastic. But I think the maker should rename them Calamity-nos – as I’ve already managed to kerb one of the ultra-low-profile rims!
Under that long, long bonnet sits Jaguar’s throaty, rumbling 5.0-litre V8. It’s a masterpiece of engineering, with huge reserves of power, but also a big thirst.
Initial checks show we’ll be lucky to average much more than 20mpg. And all that power also means a huge £400 road tax disc.
This cat is not a cheap proposition to own or run, but your creaking bank balance is forgotten as soon as you climb inside the Jaguar.
It’s very different from the TT, but no less impressive. The Audi’s impeccable hi-tech design and build quality is replaced in the XK by a sumptuous, well equipped and finished cabin.
It’s early days with the XK, but first impressions are that it is not as alert as the TT I have just stepped out of. In fact, it perfectly reflects the car’s character as a powerful, comfortable GT cruiser.
At nearly £65,000, the Jag is more than twice the price of the TT, yet it comes loaded with luxurious extras. In the months ahead I am looking forward to using its touchscreen sat-nav, Bluetooth phone connection and premium Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
So, who needs Simon, Dannii, Cheryl and Louis to add something X-tra to the weekends?
I think the addition of the rotary gearshift and start button from the XF make a big difference to the Jaguar’s cabin, providing a welcome extra dose of quality and interest.
Unusually, our test car already has more than 12,000 miles on the clock, so it’s well run-in. It’s no slouch, but we’ll have to wait for its first proper road test to find out just how fast it is.
James Disdale Road tester