2011 Jaguar XK Convertible Review


2010 Jaguar XK

2010 Jaguar XK

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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 the 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. Universally agreed upon as beautiful the first time it was shown, the XK 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 color, when combined with the Caramel interior and tan top, our test Jag came across like the stereotypical car a platinum-haired Bel Air matron would take shopping on Rodeo Drive.

That is, until we started the engine.

Arouse that 385-horsepower V-8 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 5.3-second 0-60 mph time for the 3900-pound grand tourer. Exceptionally well equipped, the XK manages to stay in that weight class thanks to its 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 both cliche, and something of an unfortunate pun. But the fact of the matter is the car displays 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 rivals 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 covers the A-pillars and the windshield frame, and the grain of the deeply polished wood trim matches perfectly all the way across the dash. The convertible top will go up or down in 18 seconds and operates even when the car is moving at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. This enables you to drop the top on the roll, when either pulling away or parking.

Our only complaints concern the Jaguar’s multi-media interface. Touch-screen based, the system is a bit complex and slow when compared to the best of the current systems. While this was a hot setup when the XK was introduced back in 2007, these systems have come a long way in the last four years. The audio system is a bit tinny as well—when compared to other contemporary premium sound systems. 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 Convertible is still one of our favorite cars. If we were forced to choose one car to suit all of our driving needs, this Jaguar 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.

 
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