You'll Like The 2009 Jaguar XK If...
If you favor premium sports cars that match sensual design cues with outstanding creature comforts and you will happily trade a measure of brute force for more sophisticated ride and handling characteristics, the only choice you'll need to make is for an XK Coupe or an XK Convertible.
You May Not Like The 2009 Jaguar XK If...
Those whose tastes run to harder-edged supercars would likely find something with a German or Italian pedigree, or even America's bang-for-the-buck champ, the Chevrolet Corvette, better suited to their upscale desires. If what you really want is XK ambiance with a serious dose of attitude, consider one of its more powerful and more intense XKR counterparts.
Outside, the 2009 Jaguar XK gets a new Ultimate Black Metallic paint option, a Front Park Control system and power-folding side mirrors. The inside updates make the previously-optional 525-watt Premium Surround Sound System standard equipment, add SIRIUS Satellite Radio, a USB port, air-quality sensing auto-recirculation for the climate control and make Satin American Walnut veneers available.
Contemporary with classic overtones, the XK interior has a bounty of high-tech elements framed by polished hardwoods and supple hand-stitched leather. Its driver-oriented layout incorporates white-on-black analog main gauges split by a supplemental information display complemented by a logically arrayed center stack with audio and climate controls and topped by a seven-inch touch-screen for the standard navigation system. Although the cabin's somewhat intimate proportions will easily accommodate six-foot-plus occupants up front, its rear seats are suitable mainly for small children, briefcases or duffel bags. A liftback eases access to the Coupe's 10.6 cubic feet of cargo space, while the Convertible's trunk can stow a maximum of 10.0 cubic feet with the top up, less with it tucked away.
Few cars of any kind can match the exotic visual character of the 2009 Jaguar XK's sleekly contoured aluminum bodywork. Classic long-nose/short-deck proportions impart a sporting flair to both the Coupe and Convertible that hearkens back to the marque's legendary E-Type. A large grille with bright mesh insert, prominently flared fenders and 19-inch cast-alloy wheels wrapped in Z-rated tires sized 245/40 in front and 275/35 in the rear serve as primary accent ingredients in this styling recipe that's guaranteed to turn heads, whether it's the sleek Coupe, or the Convertible with the power-activated soft top that raises and lowers in 20 seconds at the press of a button.
More sports car than supercar in either body style, the 2009 Jaguar XK embodies the Grand Touring ethos with a total package that's capable, comfortable and exceptionally rewarding, whether you're in high-profile cruise or hard-charge mode. Tap the starter button and the potent V8 springs to life with a throaty, enthusiastic rumble. It's superbly complemented by the six-speed sequential automatic that plays a great support role in this quick-response team. Jaguar's Computer Active Technology Suspension (eCATS) instantaneously tunes the XK's shock absorbers to match changing cornering demands while maintaining impressive levels of ride comfort. Rounding out this stellar dynamic mix are well-mannered stability and traction controls, nicely weighted steering and confidence-inspiring anti-lock brakes. Caveats include modestly compromised driver sightlines, particularly in the Convertible with the top up, and a navigation-system display that can be difficult to read in bright sun. But those downsides pale when compared to the overall rewards either of these Jaguars delivers to anyone behind the wheel.
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the 2009 Jaguar XK Coupe starts at just under $78,000, while the XK Convertible opens slightly below $84,000. Those figures put each very close to the base prices of their BMW 650i and Porsche 911 Carrera counterparts, although all six of those vehicles are nearly $10,000 above the Lexus SC 430 that features a retractable steel hardtop. Adding the Aluminum Luxury Package and Advanced Technology Package will bump either Jag's price by nearly $10,000. Historically, Jaguar residual values have been significantly below those of BMW, Lexus and Porsche. However, it's also true that many people who favor Jaguar's style and spirit might be inclined to prioritize the gratification of driving one of these Top Cats in the near future over worrying about the steeper depreciation it may suffer at trade-in time.
Function and fashion elegantly interface in the stunning XK package. It starts with rich leather and wood or aluminum accents plus a full complement of power assists, including 10-way power front seats. Richening the mix are dual-zone automatic climate control, DVD-based navigation and a 525-watt Alpine Surround Sound audio with Dolby Pro Logic II circuitry. Supporting the XK's 300-horsepower V8 and paddle-shifted six-speed automatic is Jaguar's sport-tuned Computer Active Technology Suspension (eCATS), variable damping and driver-selectable stability and traction controls. Safety features include powerful anti-lock disc brakes with Emergency Brake Assist, front and front-side airbags and active anti-whiplash front head restraints, plus automatic-deploying rollover hoops on the Convertible.
Jaguar offers three XK upgrade groups. The Luxury Package includes soft-grain leather trim, a leather-covered instrument panel, 16-way power seats with adjustable bolsters and a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, while the Aluminum Luxury Package swaps wood-grain interior accents for aluminum dimpled veneers and replaces the standard 19-inch aluminum wheels with 20-inch alloys. Choosing the Advanced Technology Package brings corner-following Active Front Lighting and distance-maintaining Adaptive Cruise Control. Stand-alone extras include alternative 19-inch or 20-inch wheels, a Bowers & Wilkins Premium Signature speaker system and either dimpled aluminum or (at no charge) the choice of Burl Walnut or Satin American Walnut veneers.
Impeccable sense of style
Coupe or Convertible, inside or out, there's something special about the XK's appearance that transcends mere automotive design and endows each of them with a captivating presence.
Extensive use of lightweight aluminum throughout the XK – from its exceptionally stiff bonded unit construction to its striking bodywork to its primary suspension bits – helps trim performance-robbing mass and optimize handling responsiveness and precision.
Under the Hood
The 2009 Jaguar XK variants share an identical 4.2-liter all-aluminum V8. Jaguar's sophisticated 32-valve double-overhead-cam engine makes 300 horsepower, 310 pound-feet of torque and uses variable intake-valve timing to spread that output over a broad rev range. The responsive ZF six-speed sequential automatic transmission includes a Sport mode that delivers lightning-quick upshifts and downshifts through a pair of levers mounted on the steering wheel, and incorporates a throttle-blipping feature to smooth transitions on the downshifts. While both XKs share 16/25 mpg city/highway EPA marks and a top speed of 155 mph, the 3,671-pound Coupe can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, while the 3,759-pound Convertible needs 6.0 seconds to hit that mark.
300 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
310 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25
Recently acquired by India's Tata Motors, Jaguar is currently embarking upon an unprecedented new chapter in its illustrious history. While the pivotal vehicle in determining Jaguar's ultimate fortunes will likely be the new XF luxury sedan, this legendary automaker's stunning XK Coupe and Convertible remain its most powerfully emotional driving statements. Sensational styling, impressive V8 engines (supercharged in the XKR variants, reviewed separately), and finely tuned suspensions allow these luxuriously appointed 2+2 grand tourers to vie for the attentions of potential upscale owners against prime competitors that include the BMW 650i, Lexus SC 430 and Porsche 911. As always, the Jaguars do it with a distinctly – and distinctive – British accent that gives them an abundance of sheer, unmitigated charisma.