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Smooth, sleek and sexy, the 2006 Jaguar XK-Series maintains considerable appeal despite its advanced age.
Divine exterior shape, smooth V8 engine, good balance between luxury and performance.
Some low-grade interior materials, cowl shake in the convertible, useless rear seats.
Available XK-Series Models
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Minor interior and exterior refinements, as well as a new limited-production Victory Edition model, mark the changes for 2006.
When Ford acquired struggling Jaguar in late 1989, no one could have predicted the modern-day reformation that is now upon us. Jaguar had been cranking out luxury cars along with the aged XJS for years under the management of British Leyland Motors, and more recently, as an independent company.
Under the guidance of the Blue Oval, the Jaguar XK-Series was unleashed upon the world and heralded a new era for the British brand. When Jaguar debuted its XK coupe for 1997, hearts quavered and salivary glands went into overdrive as we witnessed one of the most beautiful vehicles ever introduced. Replacing the 21-year-old XJS, the XK hearkened back to the sinuous lines of the spicy E-Type and XK120 (the former residing in the Museum of Modern Art as an example of the pinnacle of automotive design).
Also debuting was the impressive AJ-V8 engine, only the fourth all-new engine in Jaguar's history, which is the unit that powers the current XJ8 and S-Type 4.2. Like other Jaguar cars, the XK coupe and convertible offer a more luxurious driving experience than a sporting one. If you can envision yourself seated in the soft leather driver seat, surrounded by rich wood surfaces, while enjoying a smooth ride down a coastal highway and the purr of the V8, you won't be disappointed in the least by the 2006 Jaguar XK-Series. An XK Victory Edition package makes a limited-production run for 2006. The Victory Edition features upgraded leather appointments, special badging, elm wood veneer and a choice of four exclusive exterior colors.
Available as a coupe or a convertible, the Jaguar XK-Series offers a lengthy list of standard equipment. Among the highlights are 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, 12-way power/heated seats with memory for the driver, automatic climate control, reverse-parking sensors, one-touch power windows and a 320-watt Alpine stereo with a six-disc CD changer in the trunk. The convertible has a power-operated top. Options include xenon headlamps, adaptive cruise control and a DVD-based navigation system. A Victory Edition package offers unique trim and badging, along with a choice of four exclusive paint colors.
All Jaguar XK models get a smooth 4.2-liter V8 engine rated for 294 horsepower and 303 pound-feet of torque. A standard six-speed automatic transmission routes power to the rear wheels. Fuel economy is good for a V8-powered car -- expect about 18 mpg in the city and up to 26 mpg on the highway.
Reining in the horses are four-wheel ventilated disc brakes at all four corners, supplemented by ABS and BrakeAssist. Stability and traction control are standard, as are seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants. Missing from the equipment list of this luxury car are side curtain airbags and a rollover protection system for the convertible. The Jaguar XK has not been crash tested.
The XK's cockpit has an opulent ambience with supple leather used on the seats, center console, door panels and steering wheel. The leather is matched up with extensive inlays of wood, along with various plastic panels that seem more suited to a Ford than a Jaguar. Occupants will find plenty of room to stretch out in front, but the small rear seats are designed more for shopping bags than real people.
The 4.2-liter V8 offers plenty of acceleration in just about any situation, and the six-speed automatic delivers smooth shifts without fail. The double-wishbone suspension provides a luxurious, well-controlled ride that is perfect for highway cruising. Want to take a quick drive up the coast or into the mountains with that special someone? We can think of few cars more romantic than a 2006 Jaguar XK-Series. At the same time, those who want a sporting driving experience should look elsewhere at cars like the Mercedes SL roadster, Cadillac XLR or even Jaguar's own performance-tuned XKR.
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