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New and improved, the 2007 Jaguar XK takes a balanced approach to luxury and performance, and the results are impressive. Luxury coupe and convertible shoppers will certainly want to give it serious consideration.
Pleasing balance of luxury and performance, relatively light curb weight, beautiful body lines, convertible's speedy top operation.
Modest output from standard V8, minimal rear-seat room, side curtain airbags aren't available, poor touchscreen operation.
Available XK-Series Models
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The Jaguar XK-Series has been fully redesigned for 2007. Highlights for the new model include all-aluminum construction, more interior room, new styling and more luxurious features. An all-new version of the high-performance XKR arrives later in the model year in both coupe and convertible form.
A 10-year duration might be a good thing for the effects of a redwood deck-sealing product, but it's a rather distressingly long time for a luxury car to be in production awaiting a full redesign. And indeed, the Jaguar XK8, sold from 1997-2006, was increasingly outclassed in its later years. Change is afoot for the 2007 model year, though, with the introduction of the new, second-generation XK. The 2007 Jaguar XK (the "8" has been dropped from its name) is still a two-door luxury car sold as either a coupe or a convertible. It's also still V8-powered, rear-drive and, in standard form, priced well under the $100,000 barrier. The high-performance XKR is reborn as well, and as before, has a potent supercharged V8. The most important changes on the redesigned XK relate to its new aluminum body structure, larger interior and more luxurious features.
Like the XJ sedan, the Jaguar XK features all-aluminum construction for its body structure and body panels. In the XK's case, the main advantages to aluminum construction are weight reduction and body stiffness. The 2007 Jaguar XK is a bit lighter than the previous-generation XK8 and noticeably lighter than its main competitors. Jaguar also claims that the extra body stiffness has improved handling, ride quality and crashworthiness. Bigger brakes and a more sophisticated Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) are also part of the upgrade, and a lengthened wheelbase has freed up considerably more room for front occupants.
These changes, along with a more comprehensive features list, have dramatically changed the fortunes of Jaguar's coupe. Previously, this luxury coupe and convertible had eye-catching styling and not much else to recommend them. Now, the XK is more luxurious and entertaining to drive. (In an odd twist, though, Jaguar's attempt to make the new XK more aggressive-looking has made it less attractive to some eyes.) Certainly, there's a wide range of coupes and convertibles available for those buyers with about $90,000 to spend.
For the power-hungry, though, the standard XK's carryover 300-horsepower V8 and lack of a manual transmission will probably be off-putting alongside cars like the BMW 6 Series, Maserati Coupe and GranSport, and Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class and SL-Class. And while the Jag feels stable and secure when going around corners, its handling limits are still lower than many peers in this price range. The faster and more firmly tuned XKR coupe and drop top start to close the performance gap, but when properly optioned, they easily hit six figures, treading dangerously close to more serious performers like the M6, CLK63 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage. In addition, those shoppers wanting the latest in techno-gadgets will find this new Jag comes up a bit short in this regard as well.
Still, for most people, the sleek-bodied XK should strike a nice balance between performance and luxury, especially in a segment where appearances are everything. If a high-dollar luxury coupe or convertible is in your future, there's no doubt the 2007 Jaguar XK is one you'll want to consider.
The 2007 Jaguar XK is available as a two-door coupe or a two-door convertible. Each body style comes in standard and high-performance XKR form. Highlights of the standard XK's equipment list include 18-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension system, bi-xenon HID headlights, rear parking sensors, keyless start, leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front seats with memory settings for the driver, Bluetooth connectivity, a DVD navigation system and an in-dash six-CD changer with MP3 compatibility. In addition to its supercharged V8, the XKR adds 19-inch wheels, a firmer suspension (with recalibrated settings for the adaptive dampers), retuned steering, larger front brakes, upgraded adaptive headlights, aluminum mesh grille and fascia inserts, "Supercharged"-embossed hood louvers, quad exhaust outlets and sport seats.
Major options on all XKs include various 19- and 20-inch wheel designs, an adaptive front lighting system, adaptive cruise control, upgraded front seats with higher-quality leather and a premium Alpine surround-sound system. Buyers are also able to choose between burl walnut and poplar wood trim.
All Jaguar XKs are rear-wheel-drive. The standard XK coupe and convertible are powered by a 4.2-liter V8. It develops 300 hp and 310 pound-feet of torque. The 2007 Jaguar XKR has a supercharged version of that engine rated for 420 hp and 418 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all XKs, and steering-wheel-mounted paddles allow drivers to shift manually should they desire. Switched to its sport mode, the transmission matches revs on downshifts. The standard XK coupe and convertible accelerate to 60 mph in the low 6-second range, while we've timed an XKR convertible at just 4.9 seconds for the 0-60 run.
The Jaguar XK comes with front-seat side airbags (that provide both head and chest protection), whiplash-reducing front seats, a tire-pressure monitoring system, traction control, antilock brakes and stability control. The standard XK's stability control system has two stages, one of which gives the driver more responsibility for the car's handling before the system activates. The setup is similar on the XKR, though its system gives the driver even more leeway and allows him to disable it completely if desired. All XK convertibles have two aluminum hoops that auto-deploy in the case of a rollover accident to better protect occupants.
Inside the new XK, traditional craftsmanship and contemporary luxury materials contrast with a choice of high-tech trim surfaces. The layout is driver-focused and sporty. Unquestionably, it's a big improvement over the previous car, but even in the elite XKR, the overall ambience is still a bit downmarket for this price range and there's evidence of cost-cutting in some of the plastics. The control-organizing Driver Interface Center system is simple in concept, but our editors have found it frustrating to use in practice, as the touchscreen isn't as sensitive to touch as it should be and, in the three XKs we've examined, rife with electronic glitches. On the other hand, consumers used to the XK8's cramped quarters will be pleased to find that the XK is much more accommodating, though the two-position rear seat is still suitable only for children or emergency use. The XK's trunk can hold about 11 cubic feet of cargo. With its top down (a process that takes less than 18 seconds), the XK convertible can still hold 8 cubic feet.
Accelerating hard through the gears, the standard Jaguar XK's V8 makes up for its relatively modest punch with an enjoyable intake and exhaust soundtrack. As you'd expect, the supercharged XKR feels much quicker, as the merest tickle of the throttle results in a determined surge of acceleration. In both cars, the six-speed transmission is impressive, delivering quick, firm shifts that keep the engines in the thick of their power bands.
Sent through corners, both the standard XK and the XKR display the advantages of aluminum construction, as both versions of the car feel more agile and precise than their predecessors. High-speed sweeping turns remain the XK's preferred playground, however, as its rather large size and strong predisposition toward understeer make it feel out of its element around tight corners. Even the XKR delivers more of a luxury ride than a sporty one, its adaptive suspension tightening up only when conditions dictate. The trade-off is that the 2007 Jaguar XK is quite forgiving on the highway, and for most buyers, this will be fine. Those seeking a more athletic drive should look at the offerings from BMW, Maserati, Mercedes and Porsche.
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