- Gorgeous body
- Available convertible
- Supercharged power option
- Touchscreen controls
- Paddle-shift transmission
- Some front-end details aren’t perfect
- Teensy rear seats
The 2008 Jaguar XK is the brand's best mainstream car ever, with performance equal to its German competitors and looks to beat them all.
The 2008 Jaguar XK coupes and convertibles are some of the car world's most-refined, most beautiful offerings. Unlike previous Jaguar sportcars, they're also taut, brilliant performers, with exceptional acceleration and braking.
The "base" XK coupe and convertible are powered by a 300-horsepower 4.2-liter V-8 engine, and each comes standard with a six-speed ZF automatic transmission with sequential shift manual control and F1-style paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The available power is more than brisk, and the Jaguar V-8 has a lovely sound at speed, part growl and part mechanical roar.
High-performance enthusiasts can step up to the R model, available in both coupe and convertible body styles. It features a supercharged, 420-hp V-8 engine and a six-speed paddle-shifted automatic that push it to 60 mph in about 5 seconds. It rolls on 19-inch rims, with 20s available, and it wears aluminum trim outside and in to distinguish it from the lower-powered car. There's also a Portfolio version of the XKR that gets specific wheels, black paint, and larger brakes, but it's essentially the same performance. Gas mileage is as high as 16/25 mpg with the base coupe, and 15/23 mpg with the XKR Convertible.
The 2008 Jaguar XK's road manners are stunning, particularly when compared with the previous-generation XK. Cornering is flat, though the ride is supple, and braking, even on the base cars, is instant and full of feel. Steering through sharp corners is a joy and in the XK; Jaguar's tuned the highway ride for good tracking and comfort. The paddle shifters on the automatic transmission are good enough to forget the absent manual-transmission option. Its body is made of aluminum and its top is fabric, so it weighs significantly less than some sportscars.
The 2008 Jaguar XK's body is stunning, though some car writers think its headlamps should look more traditional. It's particularly attractive from the rear. The interior is beautifully laid out and trimmed with wood or satin metal. Front and center is a touch screen that controls climate, navigation, and audio systems, and it's a simple touch or two away from most functions, unlike the maddening rotating knobs in Audi and BMW sportscars. The front seats are very comfortable, but the rears are nothing more than upholstered package shelves.
Four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), traction control, stability control, and front side airbags all come standard.