The Jaguar XK is a modern day interpretation of the classic Jaguar E-type . It is also the most expensive of Jaguar model being sold today. Our XK was a drop top 4 seater, propelled by a 300 HP V8, packaged in a lightweight aluminum monocoque that produced an exhilarating driving experience. It is nice to see that the XK has not lost any of the fine touches associated with English craftsmanship, since the company was sold to the Indian automaker, Tata Motors , on June 2 of last year.
From the front our Blue Frost XK looks like a fish with its wide reflective headlight eyes and slightly opened mouth lower grill. However the XK is not a silly looking fish like the nagare inspired Mazda 3; instead it is more like a shark; sleek, agile and powerful. The lower lip on the front bumper of the Jaguar is sharp and aggressive. The grill is styled after the unit from the classic Jaguar E-type , a wide oval shape with the Jaguar emblem in the center. The body also features a muscular arch molded into the rear quarter panel that framed the 20 inch 10 spoke Senta wheels on our XK beautifully. From nose to tail every detail of the vehicle shouts attitude and style. The current XK was designed by Ian Callum, the same man responsible for creating both the Aston Martin DB7 and Vanquish ; explaining the likeness between this Jaguar and the Aston vehicles.
The Jaguar XK is finished like a fine English sports car. The materials used to create our XK convertible were of the utmost quality; from the burl walnut trim, to the soft Ivory colored leather wrapped items like the center armrest and even the polished aluminum cup holders, every touch went one step beyond what we have come to expect from ordinary automobiles. Even the plastic switches look like they are made from finer more expensive materials. The steering wheel is a modern touch that goes a long way in the XK, by placing painted triangular shapes inside of the soft leather wrapped steering wheel the Jaguar designers created an item that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also rewarding to take hold of. Another upscale touch for the XK are the door panels, it is nice when they are not covered in plastic or vinyl, but instead carpeted to match the rest of the interior. The front seats are wrapped in perforated leather and have multiple power adjustments, quite possibly the best fine-tunable feature are the adjustable power bolsters that inflate to keep the driver in place during spirited driving.
The Jaguar XK is powered by a 4.2 liter V8 with a modern 4 valve per cylinder design. The engine is adequate for the 3700 pound Jaguar and the sound emanating from the exhaust when downshifting is superb, but the naturally aspirated power plant seems a little too tame. Smoky burnouts and chirping tires are not part of the XK’s regimen; instead the power is better suited for highway overtaking, but will most likely spend the majority of its life idling down Main Street. The Jaguar XK handles superbly; turning into a sharp corner with a little bit too much enthusiasm shows how the lightweight aluminum construction gives the vehicle lots of structural rigidity and solid handling. However the ride is never harsh, even with the 20 inch wheels and low profile tires, thanks to the Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS ) that uses electronically adjustable shock absorbers that continuously adapt to provide the optimum balance between ride comfort and handling performance.
The Jaguar XK was built following the company’s Advanced Lightweight Coupe (ALC) design. Aluminum was the material of choice due to its light weight, and then fashioned into a monocoque from which the entire car could begin to take shape. The designers at Jaguar did not want to construct a convertible that oddly looked like a coupe with the roof removed, so the XK was originally engineered to be a rag top, avoiding the excessive amount of additional bracing and strengthening usually required when converting a hardtop into a drop head coupe.
Inspired by Gatsos and other camera traps found along English motorways the XK features a unique, more fun form of cruise control. Opposite the ignition is a round button with ASL written on it; push the button, set the speed and then floor it. With the automatic speed limiter set, the Jag accelerates like normal to the preset limit and then holds it, leading to up the most fun you can have driving flat out at 40 MPH.
Due to European safety regulations, Jaguar was forced to develop the Pedestrian Deployed Bonnet System. In the event of a collision, the PDBS ensures that pedestrians will not hit their heads on the solid chunk of metal that is sitting right underneath the hood of the XK. Sensors in the front of the vehicle determine if a person is hit which then detonate two pyrotechnic charges at the back of the hood. Within the blink of an eye the large plane of metal is temporarily supported by two small cone shaped airbags that turn the forward opening engine cover into an energy absorbing surface in the event of a collision. Unfortunately for American pedestrians, this feature is only available in Europe.
Jaguar XK owners are looking for a well finished sub $100,000 sports car that is just as capable carving mountain roads as it is cruising down the boulevard with the added benefit of going topless. Porsche’s 911 Cabriolet , the Mercedes Benz SL550 and the BMW 650i convertible all fall into this category mainly due to their mix of luxury and performance. The vehicles also fall into the same price range and are powered by V8s. The only exception is the Porsche, with its 3.6 liter flat six, but it still makes 45 more horsepower than the XK’s naturally aspirated 8 cylinder engine. XK shoppers should also consider the Lexus SC , although it is on the lower end of the spectrum due to the $70,000 asking price.
Why to buy
Who wouldn’t want to drive a fine English sports car, especially a convertible? The Jaguar XK is the perfect car to enjoy a relaxed comfortable drive while appreciating the sights and smells along the way. Unlike competitors, the XK’s ride is soft and smooth, whereas the 911 in particular is a more frantic car to drive; it is possible to loose oneself in the Jaguar experience. It doesn’t hurt the XK that it looks very similar to an Aston Martin, and when compared dollar for dollar, and starting at around $80,000 the Jaguar is a much better deal.
If you are after a vehicle that performs even better than it looks, or enjoy the thrill of having too much power, the XK is not for you. However; the XKR, with an extra 120 supercharged horses should be enough to push the ALC chassis and make the tires beg for mercy in this Jaguar sport coupe.
Topspeed final verdict
The Jaguar XK convertible is a great car. It could use some more power, but for all intents and purposes the XK is a beautifully styled convertible that is as much fun to drive as it is to be seen in. It is also a vehicle that is very capable from a performance standpoint. However owners of the Jaguar sports coupe will most likely never push the vehicle anywhere near it’s limit, so for the typical Jaguar owner, the XK will do just fine.
The Jaguar XK Coupe and Convertible models have entered their final year for 2015, and Jaguar is commemorating the end of production with the XK Final Fifty limited edition. For the rest of the 2015 XK line, Jaguar has streamlined model choices, augmented standard equipment and reconfigured options to make personalizing a 2015 XK model easier.
The 2015 XK Final Fifty limited edition will be the last 50 XKR models produced for the U.S. market, including 25 Coupes and 25 Convertibles. The 2015 XK Final Fifty limited edition commemorates the evolution of Jaguar coupes and convertibles that emerged after the E-Type, starting with the XJS in the 1970s and then the XK8 in the 1990s. All have combined distinctive 2+2 style and luxury with high power and polished performance.
The rest of the 2015 Jaguar XK lineup includes the standard Coupe and Convertible with a 385hp 5-liter V8; the XKR versions with a 510 Supercharged 5-liter V8 and chassis upgrades, and the ultra-performance XKR-S models with a 550hp supercharged V8, upgraded chassis and exclusive aerodynamic elements.
For 2015, Jaguar added standard features that had been popular as options. All XK models now come standard with HD Radio, Active Front Lighting and bright metallic pedals. Active Front Lighting directs the headlight beam to focus in the direction of steering input1.
Final Fifty In Detail
In creating the XK Final Fifty limited edition, Jaguar took inspiration from the special final edition of its iconic E-Type sports car in 1974. Fifty E-Type roadsters were made, 49 in black over cinnamon trim and one in British Racing Green, each identified by a special plaque.
These limited edition models will be painted Ultimate Black, with the Convertible featuring a black top. Styling is enhanced by the louvered hood from the 2014 limited-production XKR-S GT model, a design highlight that was inspired by the classic E-Type. Inside, all standard XKR luxury is present, with each of these limited edition models identified by a special badge on the center console and an inscribed doorsill tread plate.
XK Final Fifty limited edition vehicles will also come equipped with performance upgrades such as the Dynamic Pack and Performance Pack with are typically optional on XKR models. The Dynamic Pack widens the car’s performance envelope. Special side sills, a rear diffuser and larger rear wing provide the improved aerodynamics needed for Jaguar to provide a 174 mph limited top track speed capability3, compared to the standard 155 mph limited top track speed3 for the standard XKR.
The car’s handling prowess is elevated by adopting chassis features and tuning from the XKR-S model, including a 10mm lower ride height, forged and fully machined front suspension components with dedicated spring and damper settings and an upgraded Adaptive Dynamics suspension system1. The Dynamic Pack also adds ’Vortex’ 20-inch forged wheels.
The Performance Pack contributes Performance seats, Performance Active Exhaust and a Jet Suedecloth steering wheel. The Diamond Sew stitch pattern on the front seat backrests and head restraints and on the rear-seat backrests is rendered in Ivory white stich over Ivory white soft grain leather.
With exhaust valves that open at higher engine speeds, the Performance Active Exhaust system issues an especially powerful note. In addition, a special acoustic filter at the rear of the engine, tuned to "tenor C," feeds some intake sound to the cabin under hard acceleration.
XK Design Imbues Modernity with Brand Heritage
Melding classic Jaguar design with lightweight yet highly rigid aluminum construction and near-bespoke finishes and luxury, the XK models exemplify the Jaguar tradition of offering outstanding performance, agility and value in the premium luxury category. The current-generation XK was the first Jaguar vehicle designed under the auspices of Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum, whose signature adorns the Final Fifty limited edition interior badge. The long-hood, short-deck theme echoes classic Jaguar sports cars while providing a luxurious 2+2 cockpit and usable luggage space.
The standard Xenon automatic headlights include a power wash function and dynamic leveling. Corner lights improve visibility while cornering. Distinctive LED signature running lights, integrated into the headlights, provide a bold and modern look when the XK is in motion.
The XK Convertible provides a generous 11.1 cubic-foot trunk (with top up), and the Coupe offers 11.7 cubic-feet of space, with the added convenience of rear liftback access.
The ultra-high-performance XKR-S gets a racetrack-ready appearance courtesy of a functional aero treatment. The front splitter, rear air diffuser and rear lip spoiler all are made from lightweight, high-strength carbon fiber. The broad, vertical side intakes ahead of the front wheels and twin nacelles at the leading edge of the hood combine with the aerodynamic spoilers to reduce lift by 26 percent and increase directional stability at high track speeds3.
Advanced Aluminum Structures and Engines
Advanced chassis technology, combined with the inherent weight and stiffness benefits of the aluminum structure, allows the Jaguar XK models to shine through corners while providing a very comfortable ride. The XK models are based on a lightweight body shell architecture constructed from a combination of pressed, cast and extruded aluminum alloy components. These are riveted and bonded together using aerospace industry techniques adapted for automotive use by Jaguar, and the materials and processes produce a light body shell with very high structural integrity. The structure’s strength, rigidity and lightness provide the foundation for the XK models’ exciting performance and its occupant safety systems.
5-liter V8 in Three Forms
The naturally aspirated version of the AJ-V8 Gen III 5-liter in the XK produces 385hp and 380 lb.-ft. of torque. An XK Coupe can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and has an electronically limited maximum track speed of 155 mph3.
The all-aluminum four-cam Jaguar V8 engines combine high power with high efficiency, thanks to such technologies as spray-guided direct fuel injection and dual independent variable cam timing. The naturally aspirated version also employs a variable intake manifold to help optimize torque across the engine speed range.
All Jaguar XK and XKR models employ an electronically controlled, fully adaptive six-speed automatic transmission with the unique cast alloy JaguarDrive Selector™ as well as the Jaguar Sequential Shift™ function operated by steering-wheel paddles. The transmission is designed to be maintenance-free with "filled-for-life" fluid.
The XKR supercharged version of the AJ-V8 Gen III 5-liter V8 engine produces 510hp and 461 lb.-ft. of torque, the latter sustained from just 2,500 rpm through 5,500 rpm. A twin vortex system (TVS) supercharger and twin water-cooled intercoolers are efficiently packaged in the engine’s V. The XKR can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds3 and, with its standard Dynamic Pack, can achieve a top track speed of 174 mph3.
The XKR-S offers the ultimate in XK engine performance, with its specially tuned supercharged V8 producing 550hp from 6,000-6,500 rpm, and 502 lb.-ft. of peak torque available from 2,500-5,500 rpm. The XKR-S Coupe can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds and is electronically limited to a maximum track speed of 186 mph5. This ultimate-performance machine is EPA-rated at 22 mpg in highway driving and carries no Gas Guzzler Tax6.
Advanced Chassis Dynamics
The standard Adaptive Dynamics active suspension damping system in all XK models optimizes handling agility and ride comfort1. The system is designed to monitor body movement 100 times per second and wheel position 500 times per second and automatically increases the damping rate as the suspension approaches the limits of its travel. Adaptive Dynamics also controls wheel hop on uneven roads by rapidly varying the damping to move any wheel out of a natural bouncing frequency, benefiting ride comfort, handling and tire grip.
From the JaguarDrive Control™ interface, the driver can select different modes for Adaptive Dynamics. In Dynamic Mode, Adaptive Dynamics increases body control for a sportier feel and also provides more responsive accelerator pedal reaction and quicker gearshift responses. The Dynamic Stability Control system offers four driver-selectable modes: Normal, Winter, Trac DSC and DSC OFF. Winter Mode yields a more damped accelerator pedal response to provide progressive control in slippery conditions, with different shift settings that delay and soften gearshifts, also for better control on low grip surfaces1.
In the XKR, XK Final Fifty limited edition and XKR-S models, Adaptive Dynamics operates in tandem with Active Differential Control (ADC) to optimize available traction at each rear wheel, improving acceleration on low-grip surfaces while enhancing cornering ability. The clutch-type electronic differential is operated by an internal electric motor and ball-and-ramp mechanism and transmits torque to the wheel with the most traction. This proactive system differs fundamentally from conventional traction control, which uses the brakes reactively to counteract slip. The ADC goes beyond the capability of mechanical limited slip differentials by actively vectoring torque to improve traction and cornering, especially during spirited driving and in inclement weather1.
The Jaguar XKR-S was developed at the Jaguar Test and Engineering Centre at the Nurburgring racetrack in Germany. That development work included designing the proprietary software for Jaguar’s Adaptive Dynamics to optimize body control, traction and grip. Compared to the XKR, the XKR-S chassis tuning features 28 percent higher spring rates and 10mm lower ride height.
The Dynamic Pack option for the XKR Coupe and XKR Convertible (standard with Final Fifty) delivers a comprehensive performance upgrade. Special side sills, rear diffuser, lower front splitter and larger rear wing provide the added stability needed for Jaguar to unlock a 174 mph top track speed capability3. The Dynamic Pack further bolsters the performance credentials of the XKR by including the XKR-S Adaptive Dynamics1 and suspension tuning. The package’s ’Vortex’ 20-inch forged wheels show off the package’s red brake calipers.
As in Jaguar XF and XJ models, the XK models greet the driver with a "handshake" sequence. Enter the XK using the standard keyless entry and keyless start system, then press the pulsing start button, and the cast alloy JaguarDrive Selector™ rises from the console. When the engine is stopped, the JaguarDrive Selector™ lowers automatically.
Standard equipment includes a dual zone automatic climate control system, auto dimming electro-chromatic power-folding exterior mirrors and front and rear Park Assist with touch-screen visual indicators and rear backup camera1.
Heated and cooled front seats with 16-way power adjustment and memory are standard equipment on XK and XKR models; XKR-S models have standard heated front seats. The XKR models have a unique R-style seat design, and XKR-S models feature a Performance seat with additional bolstering. The XKR instruments emphasize the car’s performance character with red pointers, while all models feature white instrument gauge illumination.
The Convertible’s triple-lined fabric top can be powered up or down in less than 18 seconds at speeds up to 20 mph. When lowered, the top stores in the bodywork behind the rear seats under a smooth cover. The raised top provides a level of fit that minimizes wind noise and road noise even at high speeds, and its luxurious interior finish is nearly indistinguishable from that of a closed coupe.
Using the 7-inch touch-screen, the driver or front passenger can access functions for the climate control, navigation system, Bluetooth® mobile connectivity and for Jaguar’s Portable Audio Interface, which are all standard2. The Portable Audio Interface provides iPod® connectivity and enables connection of other music storage devices through a USB port to the audio system, with full touch-screen control2.
The standard Bowers & Wilkins® audio system features 525W maximum output, Dolby® ProLogic® II Surround Sound, Kevlar® midrange speakers and aluminum tweeters. SiriusXM® Satellite Radio and HD Radio™ receivers are standard.