2010 Jaguar XK
Base price: $83,000 – $102,000
As tested: $90,300
MPG: 16 city/22 highway
- Perfect balance of performance and luxury
- Stunning good looks
- Fun to drive
- Mostly impractical
- Nagging reliability history
- Historically poor resale value
By Jim Prueter
XK gets updated styling and more powerful engines
For 2010, the Jaguar XK and its high-performance sibling XKR receive a fairly significant mid-cycle upgrade of the design introduced for the 2007 model. This is highly unusual for the Coventry, England, auto manufacturer, which has a history of going years between model makeovers. This could herald a new way of doing business, with both Jaguar and Land Rover now under aggressive new Indian ownership.
The all-aluminum XK’s exterior has been given more dramatic and forceful appearance details which are evolutionary rather than radical. It sports a new front bumper and fascia design with a lower mesh grille, a front lip spoiler and fascia air dams. Exterior mirrors are more aerodynamic; chrome has been added on the window surrounds along with a pair of side vents on the front fenders. LED taillights with twin reversing lamps are new along with a new rear bumper setup.
Inside, Jaguar claims big improvement in interior quality along with a broader choice of interior color options; rich oak, burl walnut or figured ebony wood interior trim or aluminum knurled pattern with piano black center console finisher are all available. The JaguarDrive Selector,Ô the unique rotary-style pop-up automatic transmission gear selector first seen on the XF model, has been added including button options to select winter and dynamic driving modes.
Door casings are upgraded with saddle-stitched lines and soft-touch trim; the center console has been reworked to be more attractive and better finished. The console-mounted red-lit start/stop button with the Jaguar face pulses like a heartbeat, glowing brighter and dimmer with each beat once the cat is unlocked. Front seats feature a new cooling option. There’s a standard Bowers and Wilkins 525-watt signature speaker system with six-disc in-dash CD changer.
The XK does have a backseat, suitable only for packages or perhaps small children under extreme emergency occasions only.
Under the hood, the XK models get completely new V-8s that are much more powerful than those they replace. Jaguar calls their all-new 5.0-liter engines AJ-V8 Gen III and claims a decrease in both emissions and fuel consumption while delivering 385 horsepower, 85 more than last year’s 4.2-liter V-8. The supercharged version in the 2010 XKR produces 510 horsepower, 90 more than the 2009 model. Jaguar will continue with ZF’s six-speed automatic transmission, which is found in numerous luxury car builders’ products and is noted for its excellent performance. A manual shifter is not available in the XK product line but steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual shifting through the transmission are standard.
Jaguar claims a zero to 60 mile per hour time of 5.2 seconds, and 4.6 seconds in the performance XKR model.
We tested a 385-horsepower XK convertible and found a noticeable performance improvement over the 2008 model we reviewed last year. Still, if you’re a performance purist you’ll be more satisfied with offerings like the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Dodge Viper SRT-10 or Nissan GT-R. All scream to 60 mph in less than four seconds with a top speed of 200 mph. But the Jaguar experience has never been just about brute speed, rather the dynamics of open-road driving with a perfect balance of comfort, performance and superb handling.
The XK gets high marks for drivability. It’s fast, leaping forward with a fury when you step on the polished stainless steel accelerator pedal, sweet sounding with its fully active quad exhausts burbling and growling like a pacing big cat. There’s a new adaptive suspension system for 2010 that Jaguar calls Adaptive Dynamics. It’s intended to better balance handling without sacrificing comfortable ride by electronically varying shock absorber dampening, depending on road conditions and driver demand. Again, the driving feel and handling is very different from the all-out brute force suspension of the Z06, SRT-10 or GT-R.
Both the XK and XKR offerings are available in either coupe or convertible. Standard equipment includes voice-activated controls, 19-inch Tamana-style 10-spoke alloy wheels (XKR), adaptive cruise control, front and reverse park control with graphic display on the seven-inch touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, bi-xenon high intensity headlamps with cornering lamp, and BluetoothÒ wireless technology for mobile phones.
Safety equipment includes dual front and side airbags, rollover protection system, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and dynamic stability control. The government has not tested the XK for frontal, side or rollover crash test ratings as of this writing.
Overall, the new 2010 Jaguar XK was just as much fun to drive as it looked to be. Visually and performance-wise, Jaguar lives up to its British heritage with few disappointments. Of course a Jaguar XK is bought mainly for its looks, which explains why the brand’s new owners infused major changes into both the coupe and convertible versions. At all times a vehicle in this price range must be kept fresh to be competitive. After all, the XK is the crown jewel and halo car for the entire Jaguar brand.