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Since the iconic XKE went to cat heaven some four decades ago, its spirit lives on in a newer breed of sleek Jaguar coupes and convertibles. The latest Jaguar XK maintains classic design cues like the oval grille, but adds a modern all-aluminum body and high-tech features designed to better appeal to today's premium brand car buyers.
Provided you are looking at the 2010 and later versions, the Jaguar XK boasts substantial performance capabilities that don't come at the cost of luxury or charm. Although it's certainly not perfect, Jag's much-improved XK deserves serious consideration.
Used Jaguar XK Models
The current-generation XK dates back to 2007. The most significant changes since then involve what's under the hood. For 2007-'09, the standard XK came with a 4.2-liter V8 churning out 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, while the XKR's supercharged version of the same engine pumped out 420 hp and 418 lb-ft of torque. Also for that period, the six-speed automatic transmission was attached to Jag's quirky and mostly lamentable "J-gate" shifter.
In road tests and reviews of these earlier 4.2-liter V8-based cars, we found the standard XK a little disappointing; the coupe's 0-60-mph time of 6.4 seconds is about a second slower than some competitors' times. The XKR model was naturally much quicker, going from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Just as with the current car, these XKs provide entertaining back-roads handling or serene road trip comfort on long interstate journeys.
Apart from minor trim level and features shuffling, post-2009 XKs are very similar to the current offerings. For 2010, a major boost in power arrived as, in addition to minor styling tweaks, the XK and XKR received the more powerful 5.0-liter V8 engines. The rotary-style gear selector debuted that year as well. The following year brought the XKR175 coupe to celebrate Jaguar's 75th anniversary. This limited-edition (yes, 175 of them) XKR included special black paint, unique exterior/interior trim and an increased top speed.
The road-ripping XKR-S debuted for 2012, as did updated front and rear styling, upgraded interior materials and a standard-for-all-trims rearview camera. The following year brought a lower-priced Touring trim and the Portfolio Pack, which featured fancier interior trim and access to unique color combinations. The big news for 2014 was the appearance of the track-ready XKR-S GT coupe; only 25 were produced for the United States.
For more information on older, first-generation XKs, please see our review of the XK-Series.