2007 XKR New Car Test Drive
The outgoing Jaguar sports car, the XK8, is 10 years old, and in its later years, had become a patchwork as new technologies like satellite radio, navigation and airbags had to be adapted to it. Its V8 horsepower number began with a 2 instead of a 3, putting it way behind the competition. There were new safety and emissions goals to be met. So they threw out the XK8 and replaced it with a brand new car from the ground up, the first aluminum-chassis sports car in Jaguar's six decades of production. They've changed the name, too, in the process, from XK-8 to XK 4.2.
The all-new 2007 Jaguar XK 4.2 is the successor to every XK dating back to the first one in 1948 and, as such, it is Jaguar's franchise player. The XK's main competitors are the Mercedes-Benz SL, the BMW 650, and the Cadillac XLR.
The new XK is a tasty combination of Jaguar style, traditional British luxury car touches like wood, leather, and quietness, with every system in and under the car updated and improved to meet that very serious competition. It's design, while very, very pretty, is derivative of all previous generations since the XK-E, with some Aston Martin and Ford design cues thrown in (Jaguar's Scottish chief designer Ian Callum designed both the Aston Martin DB-7 and DB-9 sports cars).
As with the last generation, the new 2007 Jaguar XK will come as both a coupe and a convertible, now with a disappearing top that hides behind the second row of seats under a steel cover, instead of piled up under a tonneau cover.
Riding on a much longer wheelbase, the 2007 XK offers substantially more interior space than the 2006 model. The new seats are more comfortable, the gauges are nicer and everything works better. Benefiting from the lightweight chassis, the 4.2-liter V8 propels the XK from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds, Jaguar says. Its rigid chassis and the latest CATS adaptive suspension provides a smooth ride and demonic cornering, coupled with accurate steering and powerful brakes.
The 2007 Jaguar XK 4.2 coupe ($74,835) and convertible ($80,835) come with a 300-horsepower version of the old standby AJ V8 engine, now combined with a very flexible six-speed automatic transmission. The familiar J-gate shifter has finally been replaced by a new floor shifter that offers a Sport mode, plus steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the first time on any Jaguar model.
Also available is the high-performance XKR coupe ($85,835) and convertible ($91,835).
Standard equipment includes DVD navigation, keyless entry and keyless start, a seven-inch video display, Bluetooth capability, cruise control, a 6-CD/MP3 player, rear park assist, cruise control, and electronic parking brake.
Options include adaptive cruise control with a forward-alert system that sounds an audible warning, full soft leather upholstery, and a 520-watt Alpine sound system with eight speakers.
Safety features include front and side air bags, ABS with EBD, traction control, dynamic stability control with a track feature, and electronic rollover mitigation. If the convertible should roll over, two rollover bars come blasting up through the rear glass to stabilize the rear of the compartment, a special feature not shared with the coupe.