- Paddle-shift transmission with rev-matching
- Touch-screen controls
- Gorgeous contours
- Are those rear seats or ledges?
- little missing in the details
On par in performance with its German competitors but far better looking, the 2009 XK is simply the best mainstream Jaguar ever.
TheCarConnection.com's editors drove the new Jaguar XK in order to give you an expert opinion. TheCarConnection.com's performance car experts researched available road tests on the new Jaguar XK to produce this conclusive review and to help you find the truth where other car reviews might differ.
Unlike previous Jaguar sport cars the 2009 Jaguar XKs are excellent performers with phenomenal acceleration and braking. The combination of outstanding performance and sex appeal makes either XK coupe or convertible a car to own.
A 300-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 engine powers the standard XK models. Acceleration is brisk, throttle response is prompt, and the Jaguar has a lovely sound at speed—part growl and part mechanical roar. The V-8 engine is mated with a six-speed ZF automatic transmission with sequential shift manual control and F1-style paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
The handling and road manners of the 2009 Jaguar XK are superb. And this is one of the few cars in which TheCarConnection.com isn’t up in arms over the lack of a manual gearbox; the paddle shifters with the automatic transmission provide reasonably quick shift control and engine braking, and the setup even rev-matches for downshifts. Steering through sharp corners is a joy and in the XK; Jaguar's tuned the highway ride for good tracking and comfort. Cornering is flat, though the ride is supple, and braking, even on the base cars, is instant and full of feel. The XK’s body is made of aluminum and its top is fabric, so it weighs significantly less than some sportscars.
Although some wish the headlamps and front end to look a little more traditional, the 2009 Jaguar XK's body is stunning—particularly 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.
For those who lust for even more performance Jaguar makes R model, also 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 five 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 mpg city, 25 highway for the base coupe, and only as low as 15 mpg city, 23 highway for the XKR convertible.
Four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), traction control, stability control and front side airbags all come standard on the XKR, which hasn’t been crash tested by either of the major programs.