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HOT Motoring - Jaguar XK Coupe
Sporting Flagship

Jaguar is a brand that has been making great sports cars for so long it has a global reputation and, now under Ford's ownership, it claims the XK heralds a new era in terms of both design and engineering. It is, they say, the most technically advanced Jaguar ever built...

A quick glance at the standard spec shows the level of quality we would expect from Jaguar. The engine is a 4.2-litre, 294bhp V8 with six-speed automatic transmission. There are 18-inch alloy wheels, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), an electric tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a 320-watt sound system, automatic climate control and little gadgets like rain-sensing windshield wipers and reverse park control.

The XK continues the Jaguar tradition of beautiful, powerful, sports cars, but behind its stunning looks, it bristles with practical, modern technology. It delivers significant improvements in performance, dynamics, safety, exterior and interior design and equipment.

This first of the next generation of Jaguars is designed to become the sporting flagship of the Jaguar brand. A major key to the all-new XK's character is its aluminium monocoque body structure, which makes the body shell a third stiffer than the previous XK's and gives a 10 per cent improvement in power to weight ratio.

Jaguar's Chief Engineer Mike Cross, says: “What the team has looked to engineer is a sports car with true all-round ability. That means it must be fast, outstandingly agile, and truly exciting to drive. It has to go quickly, stop quickly, and do everything in between in the way a Jaguar should!”

The XK reaches 60mph from standstill in 5.9 seconds and completes a quarter mile sprint in 14.4 seconds. The top speed of 155mph is electronically limited and you are quite likely to get just a glimpse of this car as it disappears over the hill. That may be enough to tell you that the new XK is a giant leap forward.

For my generation, the E-types were not only the defining Jaguar marque but also the definition of what a sports car should be. Only time can decide whether the XK will become such a design classic but it is visibly more assertive and sporting than the model it replaces. It is also elegant and understated. It has classic, ground-hugging coupe proportions, with a long bonnet, steeply raked windscreen and rear window, arch-filling wheels, and minimal overhangs.

The front-wing power vents are a new Jaguar styling signature; the distinctive oval grille opening, prominent bonnet power-bulge and practicality-enhancing rear liftback door all echo the E-type; while details like the sweeping front and rear light shapes and powerful stance establish Jaguar sports car design firmly in the XXI century.

Inside it uses traditional craftsmanship and luxury materials like finely stitched leather, contrasting with a choice of more high-tech trim. This is a 2+2 with a longer wheelbase, wider track and taller roofline, and it is truly a coupe, a car you could tour forever at high speeds.

Inside the cabin the minimalist instrument cluster houses two round dials either side of a high-resolution colour display, split into several zones showing information such as gear selection, cruise control information, low tyre pressure warnings and satellite navigation instructions. A centrally mounted touch-screen allows selection of climate, audio, navigation and telephone settings, and this is yet another car with keyless entry that starts with a push-button starter.

The XK is powered by Jaguar's naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 engine, based on that fitted to the latest generation Xi saloon. For the first time in a Jaguar, drivers are able to use steering wheel-mounted paddles to change gear with the new Jaguar Sequential Shift transmission. In either Drive or Sport Manual modes, very fast gearshifts are achieved by combining the use of one-touch paddles with an automatic blip of the throttle from the drive-by-wire engine management system during downshifts.

The fully automatic Drive mode adapts to individual driving styles, while a Sport Auto mode offers a more responsive fully-automatic shift A giant leap forward strategy, also utilising the automatic blip of the throttle to maintain ultra-smooth gear shifts.

The 2006 Jaguar XK line will again be available in four models — the XK8 Coupe and Convertible as well as the supercharged XKR Coupe and Convertible, and is as much the luxury grand tourer as it is the agile sports car. Speed-sensitive, power-assisted steering also helps make the car feel lithe and nimble, particularly when pressed hard on Southern Spain's tight, twisty, gravelled back roads.

The 2006 XK is not assembled at Jaguar's spiritual home — the Browns Lane plant, near Coventry, England. They are now built at the company's state-of-the-art Castle Bromwich plant on the outskirts of Birmingham. Such is progress, and when it produces a car like this, it's a journey well worth making.

Please note: Every effort was made to check the accuracy of the information contained within our archived HOT Properties Magazine articles at the time of originally going to press, but may well have been superseded over the ensuing years. They are now made available as historical archival information only. The said information has not been reviewed subsequently for present day accuracy nor has it been updated and we expressly disclaim any duty or obligation to do so. VIVA cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, nor for the authenticity of any claims or statements made by third parties. We therefore strongly recommend that readers of these archived articles make their own thorough checks before entering into any kind of transaction. Prices were correct at the time of publication but may now vary due to circumstances beyond our control. The views and opinions of editorial contributors do not necessarily reflect those of VIVA .

HOT Properties Magazine Issue 57 - 2006

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