German tuning house Arden, a specialist in massaging British cars for over 30 years, has just taken the collar off its latest effort: the AJ 20 Coupe, a modified Jaguar XJ. As if the svelte panther wasn't adored enough in autodom, Arden is now offering a long list of enhancements to the engine, suspension, exhaust, body and interior to turn the XJ's stealthy purr into a screaming growl.
We'll start by popping the hood (or the bonnet, as our friends in the isles would say), where Arden has squeezed ninety-six extra horsepower out of the XK's 4.2-liter 298-hp V8 by boring it out to 4.5 liters and fitting new connecting rods and pistons, bringing peak output up to 392 horsepower. Buyers can also opt for a who-needs-an-XKR supercharger from Krefeld to bring the power up again to 480. Either way, Arden also upgrades the lubrication and cooling systems to cope with the extra catnip and tinkers with the engine management system. The naturally-aspirated 4.5-liter Arden drops nearly a second off the sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) at 5.3 seconds; the supercharger takes off another half second, with top speeds of 285 and 295 km/h respectively. That places the modded XK squarely in Porsche territory, where its big-brother Aston V8 Vantage had once dreamt to play.
At the four corners, Arden fits new springs to drop the suspension by 30 mm. They're also working on a full sports suspension with custom shocks. The AJ 20 comes fitted with 21-inch "Sportline" competition-style rims. Around back, Arden has installed a new silencer system with either two tips or four, and offers a full exhaust refit with new catalytic converters.
The body also gets its share of tweaks to make clear the car's more aggressive intentions. A new front airdam and spoiler, side sills down the rocker panels and a rear apron are all fitted with bigger air intakes. Arden also incorporated contrasting air vents on the hood (like the XKR) and on the front fenders (like the XJ Portfolio). There's also a pronounced rear lip spoiler on the tail to keep the cat's rear end planted.
Inside, Arden's interior department offers a host of options including reupholstering the seats in leather or Alcantara and a choice of custom wood-veneer or carbon-fiber dashboard trim, depending on the customer's tastes.
All in all, Arden's modifications to the Jaguar XK sharpen this cat's claws in a way that scratches us just right. (If only they could have done something about that unfortunate Ford Taurus nose.)
Follow the jump for a couple more pics.