I like everything about the new Jaguar XK; everything but the dial-up gearshift mechanism that electronically slides up from the center console when you press the keyless ignition button. Call me old-fashioned, but I want my Jaguar to come with a gearshift positioned on the floor.
Unfortunately, all XK and XKR models now come with this little round wheel that selects the gear for the electronically controlled, six-speed automatic transmission. The saving grace is that there are paddle shifters on the underside of the steering wheel to operate the Sequential Shift function. One more positive — the transmission is maintenance free and comes with a “filledfor- life” fluid.
That said, the Jaguar XK truly is a beautiful automobile loaded with the latest technology. The 2011 lineup includes the naturally aspirated version and the supercharged XKR offered in 2+2 Coupe or Convertible body styles. All of the XKs are built on a lightweight body shell made from a combination of pressed, cast and extruded aluminum, all riveted and bonded together with aerospace techniques for lighter weight and high structural integrity.
Under the hood, the XK continues with the same AJ V-8 Gen III 5.0-liter engines introduced last year. These engines are the most advanced powerplants that Jaguar has ever produced and the most powerful ever offered in the XK models. The naturally aspirated version produces 385 hp and 380 pounds-feet of torque, and rockets the XK Coupe from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds. The supercharged XKR produces 510 hp and 461 pounds-feet of torque and clocks 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds.
The all-aluminum quad-cam V-8 engines combine power with efficiency, using such technologies as spray-guided direct fuel injection and dual independent variable cam timing, plus a variable inlet manifold on the naturally aspirated version. Both engines have 15,000-mile or one-year service intervals, with free scheduled maintenance for the first five years or 50,000 miles under Jaguar’s Platinum Coverage.
In both models, there is an Adaptive Dynamics active damping system that optimizes handling and ride comfort. The system monitors auto body movement 100 times per second and wheel position 500 times per second, and automatically increases the damping rate as the suspension approaches its limits. Adaptive Dynamics also controls “wheel hop” on uneven roads by rapidly varying the damping to move any wheel out of a natural bouncing frequency, thus aiding ride comfort, handling and road grip.
Using the Drive Control interface, the driver can select different modes for Adaptive Dynamics. In the Dynamic Mode, it increases body control for a sportier feel and also provides more responsive accelerator pedal reaction and quicker gearshift responses. The Stability Control system also offers four driver- selectable modes: Normal, Winter, Trac DSC and DSC OFF.
Base price on the 2011 Jaguar XK is $82,150.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.