Built as a convertible or as a coupe, the XK is a sculptural exercise for the ages. It flows from stunning curve to essential line, with barely a surface out of place. From the rear quarter, the convertible has some Camaro emotion in its undulating panels; from most other angles it's pure Coventry, with the disruptions of the straight-edged headlamps and taillamps put in place specifically by designer Ian Callum to stop and hold your attention.
Last year Callum tinkered with the front end mildly, giving the XK a deeper chin. It's the detail we'd have left unchanged; the slight makeover adds big air intakes that demand equal time from the oval grille and sloping hood, and they're just not up to the same snuff.
The XK's cabin escapes without a smudge. The cockpit is organized beautifully, stripped down to some elemental forms with as few buttons and switches as possible, and paneled with walnut or metallic trim. Knurled chrome rollers control the audio from the steering wheel, and chromed switches work the power seats from the door panels--both are loving nods to tradition.
On a major 21st-century tangent, the bright, big LCD touchscreen lets drivers tap their way through audio, navigation, and climate controls. The XK's gorgeous gauges are brightly illuminated in white and read cleanly like a collector timepiece; the transplanted JaguarDrive wheel from the Jaguar XF is an easy fit in the console, though the XK doesn't have the rotate-to-life air vents of the XF sedan.