Even in its most potent XKR-S form, fitted with a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 rated at 550 horsepower, the XK series just doesn’t meet our definition of what a sports car should be. It’s plenty fast, but it’s also a bit too big and a bit too heavy to be entertaining around a race track or an autocross course.
If we had to classify the XK, we’d put it in the “Grand Touring” category, since it stacks up well against others in this class. Jaguar apparently agrees, and the introduction of the new F-Type (which fills the sports car vacancy in Jaguar’s product line) has the automaker pondering where to position the next-generation XK.
As Autocar reports, Jaguar's design director, Ian Callum, sees an opportunity for the XK to “become a bit more special than a GT.” In fact, Callum seems an opportunity for the XK to grow further in size and in amenities, targeting the luxury market.
Could that ultimately position the next XK against former sibling Aston Martin? Perhaps, although we’re not sure how much opportunity there is for growth in the ultra-luxury grand-touring segment.
We’re not sure that growing the XK much in size makes much sense, either, since big luxury coupes aren’t exactly a high-demand product these days. Besides, Jaguar already offers the XJ sedan for luxury buyers needing more than a 2+2 seating configuration.
As we see it, the introduction of the Jaguar F-Type frees the XK to go just a bit upscale, since content, not price, can be used to pitch the car. Deviate much from the car’s current GT positioning, and you risk alienating repeat buyers to attract potential new ones. As cliche as the saying may be, the XK isn’t broken, so why fix it?