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2010 Jaguar XK Review

2010 Jaguar XK(select to view enlarged photo)
2010 Jaguar XK

SEE ALSO: Jaguar Specs, Pics and Prices-Jaguar buyers Guide

By John Heilig

MODEL: 2010 Jaguar XK
ENGINE: 5.0-liter V8
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 385 hp @ 6500 rpm/380 lb.-ft.
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
WHEELBASE: 108.0 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 187.0 x 81.5 x 51.0 in.
TIRES: P245/40ZR19 (F)/P275/35ZR19 ( R)
CARGO VOLUME: 313 liters
STICKER: $89,300 (includes $850 destination and delivery charge)

BOTTOM LINE: The XK is physically beautiful with hints of the legendary E-Type in its DNA. There’s also a lot of the XF sedan, which makes the “sports car” XK far more civilized than one might expect. The days of super-sporty Jags may be behind us, but it’s still a pleasure to drive.

I admit to a fondness for Jaguars, and according to several people I spoke with during the week I had the XK, it’s a disease that’s catching. Never mind that Jags have had a well-deserved reputation for quality issues (since eliminated thanks to years under Ford’s umbrella) and, of course, the dreaded Lucas electrical system (also eliminated). Jaguars have a certain panache that any manufacturer would love to emulate.

The 2010 XK is a perfect example of the direction Jaguar has been heading over the past few years and where it has positioned itself. For example, at one time it would have been unthinkable for a Jaguar XK not to have a stick shift. The new XK now has Jaguar DriveSelect, first introduced on the XF. This consists of a knob that rises out of the center console when the engine fires. Simply turn the knob to choose your gear (automatic, of course). Even after a week I found myself reaching for the lever that I felt should have been on the steering column. I guess you learn…

Firing the engine is simple. Just push the button located in front of the shifter. That’s a different location too (not on the dash somewhere) and something that must be learned.

Everything, not just the transmission, is automatic in the XK. Of course, this means that there is more to go wrong, but in the New Jaguar it’s no longer a concern. There is automatic climate control, automatic rain-sensing wipers and automatic folding exterior mirrors (if you unlock the doors with the key fob). Thankfully, there’s also front and reverse park so you don’t damage the Jag’s nose or tail.

Sitting in the sweet-smelling leather front seats is a thrill. They’re comfortable, with excellent side support. Even with the trend toward automation, this is still a Jaguar, with excellent power and handling.

The back seats are another story. There’s barely enough leg room to accommodate my 2-year-old granddaughter, so putting an adult back there would pose a problem. But this is an XK, a SPORTS CAR, folks, and to those purists still among us, back seats are de rigueur.

Even though the XK is larger, the trunk isn’t. We headed for our golf game and couldn’t put one bag in the trunk, much less two.

There’s a pleasant Jaguar growl from the new 385 hp 5.0-liter V8 under the long hood. The XK isn’t the quietest car on the road because of this, but it’s a “problem” that any driver would be willing to live with. There’s also considerable tire noise from the wide rubber when the top is down (and we put it down every chance we could), but again, live with it.

Sadly, you can’t use all the power in this era of speed limits and over-protective police. But you can enjoy great acceleration up to the limit, and get the most out of the hand ling by pushing the posted limit a bit on winding roads.

When the top is up, however, not only does it add to the look of the car, but the cloth top is well padded and insulated, making the cockpit a lot quieter. Because of the joy of driving topless, there’s a serious right rear blind spot with it up.

Raising and lowering the top is a simple affair; just push a button. Be careful with your fingers, though. It’s convenient to rest your hand on the top of the windshield when the top’s reattaching, and if you’re not careful your fingers can get pinched.

The audio system is excellent with all its features; iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, radio, CD, etc.

Gauges are classis “Jaeger” white-on-black round affairs, with a matching analog clock in the center of the dash.

Even though it’s more automatic than in the “good old days,” the Jaguar XK is a pleasure to drive. It retains all the classic “Jaguarness” of its ancestors, which can only be a good thing.

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate

SEE ALSO: Jaguar Specs, Pics and Prices-Jaguar buyers Guide