1 Oct 1996
By CHRIS HARRIS
Jaguar’s XK coupe and convertible wasn’t so much an all-new replacement for the 1975-era XJS as a thorough evolution of it, since it – along with the beautiful 1994 Aston Martin DB7 – came off the same platform.
Yet looking at the XK would make anybody wonder otherwise – until the relatively short wheelbase and narrow body and track begin to betray the XJS origins – even if only 20 per cent of it is shared.
As a result taller folk have no hope finding room in here.
But the engines were all new. The 4.0-litre DOHC 32V AJ-V8 produced 216kW of power and 393Nm of torque, and was mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox – whether you’re talking traditional XK ‘Classic’ or racier XK ‘Sport’ trim.
Like the XJR sedan of the day, the XKR from May ’98 used a supercharger to boost power and torque – in this case the 4.0-litre’s output rose to 276kW and 525Nm.
Minor trim changes and new jewelled tail-lights summed up an upgrade in November 2000.
From October ’02 the second-generation AJ-V8, first seen in the all-new XJ sedan that debuted a month earlier in Paris, found its way in the slightly facelifted XK Series II.
The now-4.2-litre DOHC 24V V8 produced 224kW and 420Nm, driving the rear wheels via a ZF six-speed automatic gearbox, while the supercharged 4.2 version’s power and torque shot up to 298kW and 553Nm.
A further round of refinements were introduced during 2004, keeping the XK going until the X300 XJ-based aluminium XK Mk2 debuted in the last half of 2006.