Jaguar XK 2010 - long-term test

Coupé is perfect for golf club car park – but will driver’s drivers fit in boot?

As editor of the UK’s leading motoring magazine, it won’t come as a big surprise to find out that I’m a keen driver!

But I’m not just talking about cars. While I love getting behind the wheel of the latest new models, there’s nothing better than spending some quality time driving 18 holes on my local golf course.

It’s the good life down to a tee! Especially if I can combine both – the perfect car with the most beautiful golf course. On the face of it, there’s no more appropriate vehicle to whisk you from home to clubhouse in style than Jaguar’s XK. Its image has well heeled club captain written all over it.

Except there’s a problem. This driver couldn’t get his drivers to fit into the boot. That’s right – the ridiculously short and shallow luggage bay in the Jag wouldn’t take my full set of clubs. Or golf trolley, for that matter.

Okay, so not everyone is going to want to stuff bulky sporting kit into their XK, but the point I’m trying to make here is a general one. For such a big car, the Jag has very little space inside.

Besides the boot – which is smaller and much less flexible than our more compact long-term Audi TT – the interior of the XK is lacking usable and genuinely useful space.

I’ve also encountered one or two quality issues, such as the flimsy plastic catches which hold the large rear shelf in place. These continually come loose, leaving the shelf dangling in mid-air! And for a car that is only just coming up to the 14,000-mile mark, the driver’s leather seat looks particularly tired and worn.

Yet despite these failings, the good news is that the XK does have a real sense of occasion. The cabin is as British as traditional roast beef, with lashings of chrome over the instruments and controls.

There are neat touches, too, such as the gear selector which rises up out of the centre console when you press the pulsing red starter button. And the Jag has one of the simplest and most user-friendly touchscreen entertainment and sat-nav systems you’ll find in any car.

Outside, the XK is a real showstopper. Few vehicles in the world are as beautiful or attract as much comment. And then there’s the engine – a 5.0-litre V8 which pushes out 380bhp. It sounds wonderful, with a deep rumble that’s enough to shake the neighbours out of their beds as I set off to work in the small hours.

Mind you, fuel economy hasn’t got any better since my report on the Jag in Issue 1,087. It’s still struggling to reach 20-21mpg. With figures like that, this is a car to use with care, unless your credit card is particularly flexible! And that’s another pity about the XK. It’s perfectly suited to carrying you in comfort as a high-mileage cruiser, but you’ll need deep pockets to enjoy it at its best.

Second opinion

I agree with David that driving a car like the XK demands some practical compromises, but for me, it’s more than worth it. While the Jag isn’t perfect, it’s still one of the most desirable coupés on sale today. It’s soothing on long journeys yet invigorating when you want it to be, and the styling uses elements of the company’s heritage without detracting from the modern overall appearance. Inside, I love the classy mood lighting and cutting-edge design, although the level of wear on our car’s driver’s seat is surprising.

Owen Mildenhall Senior road tester

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