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Smooth, sleek and sexy, the XK is more of a gran turismo than a true sports car.
Attractive shape, powerful V8 engine, new navigation system.
No side airbags, limited interior space, not really a sports car.
No major changes.
This year, fans of Jaguar's XK-Series have two models to choose from: the XK8 and the newly added XKR.
Now in its fourth year, the XK8 comes in two styles: the curvaceous coupe or the sleek convertible. The convertible features a power-operated top that lowers, raises and locks into place with the push of a button. Both cars come with a 4.0-liter V8 engine that produces 290 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. A smooth-shifting and intuitive five-speed automatic is the only transmission available. Acceleration from zero to 60 takes about 6.5 seconds.
Stylistically, the XK8 is one of the best-looking luxury coupes available. Headlights slope off with a feline's squint and lead to lines that hark back to earlier Jaguars.
Wood and Connolly leather -- standard equipment on all Jags -- give the cabin a warm feel. Like most coupes, legroom for the front passengers is excellent, but rear-passenger accommodations are minimal. The main options for 2000 are a new 320-watt Alpine sound system and a new navigation system.
Braking ability is enhanced in 2000 with larger front brake rotors and a new ABS system. Additional safety improvements for 2000 come in the form of electronic seatbelt pre-tensioners. It should be noted that the XK8 is the only car in Jaguar's lineup without side airbags, however.
The XK8 is a fine car in either coupe or convertible form. Its closest competitors are the Lexus SC 400 and the Mercedes-Benz SL500. In price, the Jaguar is more expensive than the Lexus and cheaper than the Mercedes. Ford has done much to improve the reliability of Jaguar the last few years, but the XK8 still won't match the Lexus in terms of things not breaking. However, we still feel the XK8 -- with its combination of luxury, power and style -- is a car that buyers should seriously consider.
Attractive and powerful, the XKR is the performance version of the XK8, much like the XJR is the performance version of the XJ8. And like the XJR, the XKR's calling card is its engine. Supercharged with twin intercoolers, the 4.0-liter V8 develops 370 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque; it's mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The XKR leaps from zero to 60 in approximately 5.4 seconds, and is quicker than just about any other car on the road.
Visually, special trim and 18-inch wheels differentiate the XKR from the XK8. The car's lines flow smoothly to give it an aggressive, yet classic feel. With the XKR Convertible, drivers will be able to lower the top to get the feel of wind in the hair.
The closest competition to the XKR is the Porsche 911. The 911 is certainly the more sporting of the two, and it can also be ordered with a manual transmission. However, the Jaguar does have that extra English flair. For high-speed cruising with class, check out the new XKR.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.