Car reviews - Jaguar - XK - range
10 Jul 2006
By TERRY MARTIN
IN THEORY at least, Jaguar’s all-new XK reached Australian showrooms this week, however unless an order was placed months earlier for the $200,000-plus high-performance coupe or convertible, the waiting time for getting hold of one will be at least eight months.
That’s right. The first allocation of 40 XKs – made up of 20 coupes and 20 cabriolets – were sold at least three months before docking Down Under, meaning orders are now being taken for the second batch due in March 2007.
Stiffer, stronger and lighter than its long-running predecessor, the all-new and all-aluminium XK 2+2 is being billed as the most advanced vehicle the British brand has ever built.
Underneath what is claimed to be the world’s first pedestrian-saving "pop-up" bonnet – which in a split-second rises a few inches to create a cushioning effect between the hood and the hard components underneath – lies the Ford-owned manufacturer’s familiar natural-breathing, fire-breathing 4.2-litre quad-cam AJ-V8.
Now with multi-hole fuel injectors that are claimed to improve power and reduce consumption compared to the previous XK’s 4.2 V8, the revised engine can churn out an equivalent 224kW at 6000rpm and 420Nm at 4100rpm, with more than 85 per cent of that torque delivered between 2000rpm and 6000rpm.
As before, it combines with a six-speed sequential-shift automatic transmission (with steering-mounted shift paddles) and drives the rear wheels ... fast.
Its kerb weight kept down to 1595kg, the coupe can accelerate from 0-100km/h in a claimed 6.2 seconds, crossing 80-110km/h in 3.1 seconds and reaching the quarter-mile in 14.4 sec. The 1635kg convertible is 0.1 seconds behind on all three measures, while both vehicles are limited to a 250km/h maximum.
Both are also claimed to decelerate from 100km/h to zero in 36.6m and return 11.3L/100km across the combined EU fuel consumption standard.
Compared to its predecessor, the new XK coupe’s chassis is said to be 31 per cent more rigid while the convertible is 50 per cent stiffer. The coupe’s "body in white" weight is 19 per cent lighter than before, while the power-to-weight ratio is rated as a 10 per cent improvement. The front/rear weight distribution is 52.6/47.4 for the tin-lidded version and 52.1/ 47.9 for the softie.
Now resting on a longer (2752mm) wheelbase, the XK is longer and taller, has wider tracks and much more interior room than before.
The familiar suspension configuration of unequal length wishbones at the front and unequal length wishbones (using the driveshafts as upper links) at the rear continues, with conventional coil springs and telescopic dampers all round.
The most recent version of Jaguar’s CATS (computer active technology suspension) two-stage adaptive damping system is also fitted, allowing control over all four dampers individually rather than in pairs.
Active headlights, bigger disc brakes, the latest four-channel ABS (with analogue control and electronic brake-force distribution) and 18-inch wheels – with 19s and 20s also available – round out the mechanical highlights.
The minimalist cabin is as luxurious and well specified as one would anticipate at this level. Dual-zone climate control, a high-grade stereo, seven-inch onboard monitor (for telephone, navigation etc) and leather trim are all standard. There are several interior colour schemes and veneer finishes available.
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