Used 2007 Jaguar XK-Series Convertible
- 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.
Edmunds' Expert Review
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.
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.
Trim levels & features
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.
Performance & mpg
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.
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.
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.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Like too many Jaguars of the past 30 years, the old XKR relied on charisma to cover its crudity. Although it dressed in modern designer clothes, its chassis had been conceived in the time of Dick Nixon. And while its style appealed to a baby-boomer generation that had grown up lusting after the Jaguar E-Type, it was never a threat to the German sport coupe hegemony.
The new car, though, is different. Developed alongside the standard XK — Jaguar's first all-new coupe in three decades — it combines feline beauty with a thoroughly modern driving experience. It is billed as an XK "plus 30 percent" and rivals the BMW M6, Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG and Porsche 911.
Last month, Inside Line was given an exclusive insight into the new car with the XKR's chief program engineer, Russ Varney. Now, for the first time, they've handed over the keys to a right-hand-drive XKR.
A cat with claws
For some Jaguar enthusiasts, the XKR's overt aesthetics will come as something of a shock. While the old XKR was graceful but largely anonymous, the new car makes no secret of its sporting intent. There are some potent identifiers, such as the aluminum "power vent" behind the front wheel arches, the "R" brake calipers and the quad tailpipes. Much of this jewelry belies designer Ian Callum's eye for detail. Note the mesh grille, the new front foglights and the lovely hood louvers embossed with the word "supercharged." In coupe form, this rear-drive Jaguar looks like a car priced from $86,500 (the convertible starts at $92,500).
Callum has also seen fit to enliven the interior with some "R" accessories. The new aluminum "weave" trim looks much better than it sounds, and the primary controls are now labeled with "R" badges. The heavily bolstered sport seats are also unique to the XKR, but the overall ambience is still disappointingly downmarket. The cabin lacks a sense of occasion and there's evidence of cost-cutting in some of the plastics.
Anyone looking for a practical alternative should note that while the trunk is accommodating, the rear seats are all but useless.
A button on the center console engages the starter motor and breathes life into Jaguar's familiar 4.2-liter V8. Varney and his team spent a long time honing the engine note. The prominent supercharger whine of the old car tended to polarize customer opinion, so it's recast in a supporting role. Taking the lead is a distinctive V8 rumble that crescendos nicely as the revs rise. It sounds good.
And it generates some impressive statistics. The introduction of twin air inlets and Variable Inlet Camshaft Timing have increased the power output of the supercharged 4196cc AJ-V8 to 420 horsepower, while the peak torque output grows to 413 pound-feet. This is 100 hp more than the naturally aspirated XK can muster, and 70 hp more than a Porsche 911 Carrera S. The XKR scampers from zero to 60 mph in a Porsche-matching 4.9 seconds and reaches 155 mph before an electronic limiter intervenes.
The torque output is the key to this car's character. The merest tickle of the throttle delivers a determined surge of acceleration. You tend to drive this car as you might a contemporary turbodiesel, relying on its flexibility and midrange urge to affect an overtake. Drivers used to the high-revving freneticism of a normally aspirated power plant will find themselves adjusting their style.
Praise should also be lavished on the six-speed ZF automatic transmission with driver-selectable programming. "Drive" offers a smooth compromise for everyday driving, while the "Sport" and sequential paddle-shift modes cater to the more committed. The latter, controlled by paddles on the steering wheel, is particularly effective, achieving rapid-fire shifts with impressive smoothness. This system is all but a match for Audi's brilliant DSG system, and a much more satisfactory solution than the single-clutch semiautomatic in the BMW M6.
Ride and handling
According to Jaguar's chassis guru, Mike Cross, the XKR is all about "accessible performance." Cross had sought to develop a car that's less overtly sporting than the 911 or BMW M6, but more focused than the Mercedes SL. To achieve the requisite mix, Jag has uprated the XK's spring rates by 38 percent at the front and 24 percent at the rear. The steering and CATS electronic damping have been retuned and a rear suspension brace has been added to stiffen the structure. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are standard, but our car rode on the optional 20-inch rims that are likely to be chosen by most customers.
Cross and his team have got the balance about right. At low speeds, it's noticeably firmer than a standard XK, to the point where it occasionally feels fidgety, but it's not nearly as harsh as an M6. And there is an important trade-off in improved body control at higher velocities.
Where the old car occasionally felt crude and clumsy, the newcomer is poised and nimble. It's still not as agile as a 911 or an Aston Martin Vantage, and the steering lacks the ultimate communication of the Porsche, but the Jag is now an engaging back-road companion. You can attack a difficult section with fluency and confidence, rather than relying on a point-and-squirt technique. There's also no shortage of grip from the 255/35ZR20 front and 285/30ZR20 rear tires.
The brakes — a major bugbear of previous XKRs — are also much improved. Larger front discs — now 14 inches — are asked to stop a coupe that weighs 3,671 pounds, 154 pounds less than before. There is no doubting their stopping power, although enthusiasts would still value a firmer pedal response.
Jag's technical gurus are particularly proud of the Dynamic Stability Control program. There's a standard mode for everyday use and a new "Track DSC" mode that allows some slip before it reins in proceedings. The fully committed are also able to turn the system off completely.
The engineering team was commissioned to build a "sports GT for the real world" and it's a brief they've fulfilled admirably. This is a Jaguar that need not rely on character and old-world charm to seduce customers. Some Porsche drivers might still find it a little too soft for their tastes, but it's much easier to live with than an M6 and more exciting than an SL. The XKR could be just the car that Jaguar needs to kick-start a renaissance.
Used 2007 Jaguar XK-Series Convertible Overview
The Used 2007 Jaguar XK-Series Convertible is offered in the following styles: XK 2dr Convertible (4.2L 8cyl 6A), and XKR 2dr Convertible (4.2L 8cyl S/C 6A).
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Should I lease or buy a 2007 Jaguar XK-Series?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.