Jaguar XK Convertible review
Jaguar has plenty to be proud of. The XK is great to look at, modern, desirable and sure to be a success.
Driving: The growl emitted by the twin exhausts when you press the starter button immediately makes you feel special. The 294bhp 4.2-litre V8 is silky smooth, and acceleration is impressive. The Jag's automatic transmission offers smooth shifts and reasonable manual control with the steering wheel-mounted paddles, too. Cruising ability is superb and, with minimal road or wind noise, makes for a very refined car. However, don't think the XK is only enjoyable on a straight road, because a stuff all-aluminium chassis means it handles capably, too. It has excellent balance and always feels composed. There steering, while light, is direct, and the brakes offer good feel and plenty of stopping power. There is a small trace of suspension patter and steering kickback over really rough surfaces, but the ride is excellent, and the active damping ensures body roll is controlled. It's an accomplished all-ropunder indeed.
Marketplace: The XK looks stunning, and is an attractive leap forward over its predecessor. It manages to look much better in the flesh than in pictures, and a shapely curve to the roofline means the Coupe has greater visual appeal than the still-muscular Convertible. Cleverly, traits such as the oval grille, with chrome bar and centre badge, hark back to the E-Type. The range is currently simple, with a 4.2-litre V8 powering either the Coupe or Convertible. Both feature a standard six-speed auto; the only mechanical option is adaptive suspension. Rivals naturally include the Porsche 911, Maserati Coupe, BMW 6-Series and Mercedes SL.
Owning: The driving position is accommodating, the design modern and ergonomically sound. The centre console is smartly arranged around a touch-screen monitor, which controls audio, sat nav and climate settings. Materials are expensive and build quality is excellent. There's a lot of plastic on display and the Jag can't match the tailor-made feel of a Maserati, but otherwise we can't fault the cabin. The rear seats are only useful for storage, but with a 300-litre boot and hatchback tailgate, the XK is reasonably practical. Well-equipped too, with heated, leather, electric and memory seats standard, plus xenon lights, sat nav and a CD changer. 10,000-mile service intervals are relatively short, but the bills are affordable for a sports car, while retained values are excellent. But, despite the lightweight construction, that thirsty V8 will still cost you. And, sleek as it is, we can't understand why the firm has fitted an old-fashioned electric pop-up aerial - it looks ugly and out of place on the elegant bodywork.