Full 2014 Jaguar XK Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Jaguar XK line sees the addition of the track-ready, very limited-edition XKR-S GT coupe. Only 25 are slated to be sold in the U.S.
The 2014 Jaguar XK will easily charm you with its sensuous styling, magnificent engines, athletic performance and handsome cabin fitted with all the latest electronic features. Yet despite all this, this cat has been something of a dark horse choice for a luxury sport coupe and convertible. We can speculate as to why the XK has been overlooked. Perhaps it's the questionable reliability reputation of Jaguars past. Or maybe the XK simply got off on the wrong foot, as its performance and cabin design weren't nearly as impressive when this car first appeared in 2007. In any event, the 2014 Jaguar XK deserves a shot from those shopping this segment.
One of the XK's many desirable attributes is what you'll find under the hood. Even the base XK sports nearly 400 horsepower, while moving up to the XKR gets you a boost to 510 hp. Go all out with the XKR-S or new XKR-S GT and there's pavement-wrinkling 550 hp at your command. The latter two models will overwhelm the rear tires (and an inattentive, overly enthusiastic driver) with exuberance. All engines are splendidly smooth and produce a glorious V8 soundtrack as you surge forward.
Complementing the XK's muscular engines is a finely tuned suspension that delivers impressive handling while still proving a compliant and poised ride. The steering is similarly praiseworthy, and the car's relatively lightweight aluminum architecture makes the XK feel like a featherweight compared with the hefty BMW 6 Series and Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. Bear in mind, though, that the all-new Jaguar F-Type convertible is also available for 2014, and it offers even sharper reflexes that are more on par with Porsche's convertible offerings.
Although value isn't necessarily your first consideration when shopping for a luxury coupe or convertible, there's no denying that the 2014 Jaguar XK's pricing is attractive for this class. When new, the XK starts out at about five grand less than a base Porsche 911 and is right in the mix with BMW's 6 Series. Those competitors also typically require multiple extra-cost options to match the Jag's generous list of standard equipment. The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class costs significantly more than the base XK convertible (although its performance, price and equipment line up more closely with the XKR). Finally, given that the XKR-S surpasses the performance of much costlier Aston Martins, the Jag's value proposition becomes even more compelling. Whether it's this relative affordability or the straight-line performance that grabs your attention, this oft-overlooked Jaguar belongs on your test-drive list.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Jaguar XK is available in five trim levels: XK Touring, base XK, XKR, XKR-S and XKR-S GT. All are available as a coupe or convertible, except for the limited-edition XKR-S GT, which is only a coupe and will be produced in a batch of 25 for the U.S. market.
The entry-level XK Touring comes well equipped with 19-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, keyless ignition/entry, automatic bi-xenon headlamps, LED running lamps, rear foglamps, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, a rear spoiler, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and automatic wipers.
Standard interior features on the Touring include leather upholstery, heated 10-way power front seats, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver and front passenger memory functions and dual-zone automatic climate control. Electronic features include a touchscreen interface, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a premium sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The convertible adds a power-operated fabric roof and tonneau cover.
Stepping up to the base XK model substitutes a smaller rear spoiler, but adds 20-inch wheels, upgraded leather upholstery, 16-way power front seats (with adjustable bolsters and four-way lumbar), ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a 14-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system with a six-CD changer.
Optional on the base XK is the Advanced Technology package, which includes adaptive headlights and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning. Also available is the Portfolio Pack, which comes with different wheels, additional chrome exterior accents, a leather headliner and metallic pedal accents. HD radio is also optional.
The XKR adds a supercharged engine, different 20-inch wheels, adaptive headlights and HD radio. Options include the Portfolio Pack, the Dynamic Pack and the Black Pack. The Dynamic Pack adds different 20-inch wheels, a higher top speed, a lowered ride height, an upgraded and more aggressively tuned suspension and a sport body kit. The Black Pack adds unique 20-inch wheels and gloss black trim on areas that would normally be bright or chrome. Stand-alone options include an upgraded exhaust and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning.
The XKR-S adds an even more powerful supercharged engine, wider 20-inch wheels in a matte gray finish, an upgraded exhaust, a more aggressively tuned suspension, a carbon-fiber front splitter and rear aero diffuser, a partially carbon-fiber rear wing, an extensive aerodynamic body kit, heated sport seats (ventilation function removed) and unique interior trim. The Bright Pack adds some chrome exterior trim and bright polished wheels in place of the standard darker components on the XKR-S.
The track day-ready XKR-S GT coupe comes with Polaris white paint with black hood stripes, carbon-ceramic brakes (with yellow calipers), upgraded suspension components, unique 20-inch wheels, carbon-fiber body components/accents and suede interior trim.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Jaguar XK is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 385 hp and 380 pound-feet of torque. As with every XK, rear-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic are standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. The convertible achieves 16/22/18.
More power is available from the XKR, which gets a supercharged version of the same engine to bring output up to 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, an XKR convertible went from zero to 60 in a very rapid 4.5 seconds (the lighter coupe should be a smidge quicker). EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15/22/18 for the coupe and 15/22/17 for the convertible.
The 2014 Jaguar XKR-S and XKR-S GT get a more powerful version of the supercharged 5.0-liter good for 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, the standard XKR-S coupe went from zero to 60 in 4.3 seconds. The difference in acceleration numbers between the XKR-S and XKR may appear insignificant, but the former is limited by traction at the drag strip. Believe us, power is prodigious on the XKR-S and it feels much quicker. Fuel economy ratings are identical to those of the standard XKR.
Standard safety equipment on the 2014 XK lineup includes traction and stability control, antilock brakes, front side airbags and active front head restraints. Side curtain airbags are not offered. The convertible adds pop-up rollover bars.
In Edmunds brake testing, an XKR with 19-inch wheels and tires (a no-cost option on this trim) came to a stop from 60 mph in 111 feet, which is a typical distance for this class of car. The XKR-S was about the same.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2014 Jaguar XK's cockpit is well tailored and inviting, with special touches like a rotary gear selector that rises out of the center console upon start-up. There are some ergonomic glitches, however. The multipurpose touchscreen that operates audio, climate, navigation and phone systems works fairly well, but still isn't as user-friendly as some competing systems. Another downside involves the rear seats, which are cramped even for small children. The cabin can also be a little claustrophobic, with a rakish greenhouse and slim windows making the Jag feel more akin to an Aston Martin than a BMW 6 Series.
The XK's power soft top takes a scant 18 seconds to lower and is well insulated for a quiet ride when deployed. The XK coupe's trunk can hold 11.7 cubic feet of cargo -- much larger than the trunks of the 911 and Mercedes SL-Class and just slightly smaller than that of the 6 Series. With the top down, the XK convertible can still hold a respectable 7.1 cubic feet.
The current lineup of V8 engines has created an entirely new definition of Jaguar performance. Even the base XK is impressively potent, with near-instant response and a wide, muscular power band. The supercharged XKR, meanwhile, is a monster, and it can accelerate as rapidly as some of the world's best sports cars.
If the XKR is a monster, then we're not sure what that makes the XKR-S and XKR-S GT -- some sort of Union Jack-waving Mothra, perhaps. You'll need to go easy on the throttle while moving out from a stop; otherwise, you'll likely set the tires spinning futilely as the traction control struggles to rein in all that torque. These cars demand to be driven with respect, and they'll reward your efforts, as their increased abilities yield truly impressive overall performance.
It's no surprise that the 2014 Jaguar XK is an impressive straight-line cruiser. The XK might not be as responsive as a Porsche 911 or Jaguar's new F-Type on a curvy road, but it's more nimble than the latest BMW 6 Series. Ride quality on the XKR-S and XKR-S GT is expectedly firmer than that of the regular XKR, but it's still surprisingly comfortable and suitable for road trips.