Driven: 2010 Jaguar XK Coupe Page 2

February 19, 2010
This year, the XK Coupe also gets some slight front-end changes, new side mirrors, and better-detailed, LED-powered tail lamps. Otherwise, the XK has changed little for 2010, and that's a good thing.

Take a look at the XK Coupe's interior very closely, and you still won't be disappointed. The door trim has real stitches holding together the pieces of leather of the trim, and it's kind of comforting to see that they're ever slightly irregular; the wood is glossy but has a real grain to it; and even the carpets and headliner are noticeably plush compared to what you get even in other luxury cars. Oh, and the uniformly heated steering wheel was lovely. We'll post more on this sumptuous interior next week.

Jaguar has replaced the old Jaguar 'J' gate shifter with the simple, elegant JaguarDrive Selector knob that made its debut in the XF sedan. Press the ignition button and the shifter knob ascends from the center console to about two inches high; just after you turn off the ignition it descends to flush.

Our only complaint with the 2010 XK was that the 525-watt Bowers and Wilkins sound system felt a little lacking in bass, and we kept having to adjust the bass way up and the treble and mid-range down to get what we thought of as a balanced equalization. We hadn't noticed the same issue at all in the XF.

The back seat is strictly 2+2 territory, and any backseat passenger is likely to be kissing knees; we can't even see how it would be large enough to mount most child seats back there, even if it might have the proper anchors. And while the huge strut-supported hatch provides a mammoth opening into the back, actual cargo space is impractically tight, with the hatch coming down quite low at the back for paper grocery sacks (watch those eggs, and the window), and the cargo floor quite high (and containing a step just behind the seat where it would be deeper). All said, the XK has just enough daily practicality for personal users who don't have to wrangle kids or pets, but want space for their weekend bags.

One thing we noticed in driving the 2010 Jaguar XK Coupe is that people it earns envious looks, even when driven in places where political correctness reigns king. There's a certain classy, romantic appeal, crossed with quintessential British understatedness, that the XK carries no matter what, and you don't have to be driving it fast to enjoy that. While the XK feels opulent and lavish, it doesn't offend people the way that other displays of luxury do, and we appreciate that.

Simply put, you can drive the 2010 XK Coupe like a sports car and get nearly as much real-world satisfaction as some hard-core track stars; then when you tire and just want to cruise in comfort and quiet it won't break a good mood. Whichever way you look at it, we're still quiet smitten with the XK.

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