2011 Jaguar XK Convertible Road Test Review

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Back in 2007, Jaguar set forth a whole new paradigm for the brand with the introduction of the current XK. Sleekly curvaceous with bulging haunches over rear wheels, the 2007 XK was easily the most beautiful Jaguar introduced in quite some time. Additionally, the XK established the design template from which was drawn the XF in 2009, and the all-new XJ just last year. The XK was universally agreed upon as beautiful the first time it was shown and still turns heads to this day.

In fact, the fluid styling of the XK might delude some viewers into believing the car is a genteel boulevardier-particularly in convertible guise as was our Frost Blue test car. A particularly effeminate colour, when combined with the Caramel interior and tan top, our test Jag came across exactly like the stereotypical car a platinum-haired Bel Air matron would take shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

That is, until we started the engine.

Rouse that 385 horsepower V8 and you'll hear a roar more befitting an angered bear than any member of the feline family. The sound of the XK's powerplant leaves no doubt as to its cylinder count, nor does it permit any miscalculation of its performance potential. Jaguar quotes a 5.4 second 100 km/h sprint for the near 1,800-kilo grand tourer. Exceptionally well equipped, the XK manages to maintain low mass thanks to an all-aluminum body.

The light weight afforded the Jag also enables it to handle like a car a quarter of its size. Saying the Jag grips the road like a cat swinging on curtains is an unfortunate pun and something of a cliché, but the fact of the matter is the car has an amazing amount of grip. This, coupled with its outstanding acceleration, accurate steering, and prodigious braking ability, gives the XK a driving experience that easily equals its beauty.

Behind the wheel, when the car isn't moving, the eye is treated to an amazing level of craftsmanship. The seats and dash are swaddled in hand-stitched leather, a suede-like material upholsters the A-pillars and the windshield frame, and the grain of the deeply polished wood trim matches perfectly, all the way across the dash and on the door panels as well. The convertible top will go up or down in 18 seconds and operates even with the car moving at speeds up to 40 km/h, enabling you to drop the top on the roll, when pulling away or parking.

Our only complaints concern Jaguar's multi-media interface. Touch-screen based, the system is a bit complicated and slow when compared to the best of the current systems. This was a hot setup when the XK was introduced back in 2007, but these systems have come a long way in the last four years. Further, the adoption of the Jaguar Drive Select dial system for the automatic transmission leaves you with no place to rest your right hand when the car is cruising. However, the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel do a more than adequate job of controlling the six-speed automatic when you decide to select gear ratios for yourself.

All in all, the XK is still one of our favourite cars. If we were forced to choose one car to suit all of our driving needs, the XK would definitely be on our A-list. Stunningly beautiful, outfitted like the palace of a sultan, and capable of pavement-shredding performance, we've no qualms about saying the XK is very close being to the perfect GT car.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Convertible, Jaguar, 2011, XK Convertible, $75,000 - $99,999,

Organizations: Jaguar

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