The 2008 Jaguar XK, now in its second year following a 2007 overhaul, is a high-priced luxury sports car that drives as well as it looks. Ground-hugging reflexes, an exceptional automatic transmission and an intoxicating exhaust growl add to its eye-catching looks. A convertible with a fabric roof and a higher-performance XKR version are also available.
Changes are modest for 2008 and include four new soft-top colors and a limited-production Portfolio version of the XKR that adds exterior touches, including exclusive 20-inch wheels, and attempts to address complaints by adding some richer materials inside.
(Skip to details on the: XKR)
Often mistaken for an Aston Martin, the XK's styling garners almost universal admiration. The oval grille opening is similar to that on other Jaguar models, but the broader front bumper distinguishes it from the preceding generation, called the XK8, and is responsible for its resemblance to Astons.
Pronounced haunches promise the power that the car thankfully delivers. Apart from the wheels, there are no options to dress up the XK. The XKR is distinguished by a more aggressive bumper and plasticky silver grille — which frequently draws criticism.
The XK's interior isn't the roomiest in its class, though its front-seat legroom is far better than average and its dimensions are more than workable for adults. The backseat is such only in name. There's no legroom at all unless the front occupants slide forward, and the seat cushions have oddly shaped contours. It's a "2+2," which means Jag doesn't expect you to think they're real rear seats. The convertible's soft top is thick enough that interior noise is not much different than the coupe's.
Design and ergonomics are good, thanks in part to a touch-screen controller, but some of the interior materials could be better in quality — especially in the more expensive XKR.
Keyless push-button door unlocking and engine start are standard with the Jaguar Smart Key system.
Bluetooth wireless technology for mobile phones is standard in all models. An Alpine Dolby Pro Logic II sound system and Sirius Satellite Radio are optional.
Under the Hood
The XK is powered by a 4.2-liter V-8 that produces 300 horsepower. It can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
The XK is equipped with an exceptionally fast-acting six-speed automatic transmission. Manual shifting is possible via steering-wheel-mounted paddles, which are a little too easy to trigger by accident.
Four-channel, ventilated antilock brakes are standard, and all models include brake assist to aid in emergency stops. Optional active headlights can swivel depending on road speed and the angle the steering wheel is turned. Additional safety options include a tire pressure monitoring system, run-flat tires and a dynamic head restraint system that protects occupants against whiplash injuries.
Jaguar's XKR builds upon the XK with a supercharged version of the 4.2-liter V-8 that makes 420 hp, along with a modified suspension that firms up the ride but sharpens the handling. Other changes include a modified exterior with plasticky mesh grilles, modified fog lights, larger wheels, quad exhaust and dual hood louvers. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and Jaguar says the XKR accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds (5.0 seconds for the convertible).
In addition to the exterior and interior upgrades, the XKR Portfolio adds Alcon-brand brakes, a Bowers & Wilkins premium stereo and exclusive black paint. Only 255 will be imported to the U.S. Back to top