2012 Jaguar XK Styling

On Styling

Even those of you lucky enough to shop with an American Express black card, and travel by Gulfstream as often as you do by the gulf stream, will be pressed to come up with a more lithe, more appealing grand tourer than the 2012 Jaguar XK.

The XK is sculpture, an industrial-design exercise for the ages. From one stunning curve to the next essential line, it flows with barely an off-note detail. The rear quarters have all the base, raw emotion of a Camaro, while the undulating panels from the side are pure Coventry. The only disruptions are intentional: designer Ian Callum sliced off part of the teardrop headlamps so you'd notice them more, and fix your attention there a bit longer.

Near-flawless looks and a cabin of the gods: the 2012 Jaguar XK renders other sultry sports cars second-rate.

In 2010, Callum tinkered mildly with the XK's front end, clefting its chin more deeply. We'd have left it unchanged, since the mini-lift opens big air intakes on the front end, competing with the classic Jaguar oval grille and propping up the sloping hood. Now for 2012, it's been altered again, with LED headlamps and a front fascia bracketed by dewlapped air intakes, and the vents on the front fenders have been flipped on their axis so they run horizontally. That's a detail we've seen in sketches of the C-X16 concept that one day will spawn a smaller Jaguar, and it looks like the groundwork is being laid on today's sportscar.

The XK's cabin hasn't been smudged one bit since it was new in 2007. It's organized beautifully, stripped down to elemental shapes and shorn of as many buttons and switches as it could be. The dash is paneled with walnut or metallic trim, and bright trim glints tastefully from around the cabin--on the knurled rollers that control the audio from the steering wheel, on the chromed switches that operate the power seats from the door panels.

A large LCD touchscreen dominates the cockpit, and gives passengers fingertip control over the audio, navigation, and climate controls. White-lit gauges read like collector timepieces. The JaguarDrive gear selector from the Jaguar XF fits elegantly into the console, though it's missing the rotate-to-life air vents found in the XF sedan.

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