Jaguar XK Coupe
The future of Jaguar maybe in the balance but the latest model to hit the showrooms is afantastic example of classic motoring, says Danny Cobbs...
Sussex Life, October 2006
RECENTLY, rumours about Jaguar have been flying around like plates at a Greek Wedding. Ford, who has owned the iconic British car manufacturer since 1989, has their own set of financial problems and after investing the best part of £4 billion into Jag, have decided the time has possibly come to ditch the Jag badge.
To their credit, Ford has been more than patient. Over their 17 years of ownership, Jaguarhas racked up trading loses of about £1.6billion, with Ford continually making those good by most recently putting in £1.2billion in December last year. Ford, it seems, has written out their last cheque to bail them out and quite rightly said enough is enough; let someone else have the aggravation.
Since the news leaked that Jaguar might be on the open market, the rumour mill has gone into meltdown. It's been reported Land Rover (another Ford company) might have to be thrown onto the table to sweeten the deal. Renault and Hyundai are both said to be sniffingaround, and just for good measure, the Russian mafia are showing a healthy interest. Who'll be that brave or that stupid, is still in the laps of the Gods but one thing is for certain; the Jaguar image is much stronger globally today than it has ever been. The problem is, along the way they have managed to loose the sporting essence that made them so sought after. The XType is just a redressed Ford Mondeo, the retro S-Type lacked the appeal of BMW 5 series or Audi A6 and the XJ, despite its wonderful ride quality and aluminium body, has become a 'so what?' car compared to its German rivals.
But before we line up to hammer the coffin lid down, there's a new Jag just been unleashed,and my-oh-my, what a Jag it is. The impressive new XK shows exactly what could or should have been achieved. The looks are stunning, the coupe in particular is a mass of bulging metal straining to be unleashed, while the convertible has a sporty but more elegant line.
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View it from any angle and it sends shudders down your spine - it's totally beautiful. Beyond the feline gracefulness of its contours lies a superb 4.2 litre V8 engine that at any given opportunity will roar into life. A gentle touch of the accelerator and this supreme sports car leaps from a standing start to 60 mph in an impressive 5.9 seconds. Make no mistake; it would go so much further than its 155 mph top speed if it wasn't electronically limited.
The XK is a car you can drive fast and with minimal effort. The V8 snarls as you change through the gearshifts executed by pressing the paddles behind the steering wheel. The cabin is the same classically understated British ambiance found in its predecessor, the XK8. The burr walnut is still available as an option but the sharper, hi-tech aluminiumtrim lends itself much more to this car. The controls are more focused towards the driver and the dashboard wraps around like a cockpit from a jet fighter. The overall internal dimensions have increased but it's only the driver and front seat passenger who'll enjoy...