By EWAN KENNEDY, Marque Motoring
C. 2015 Jaguar XK
Jaguar XK is a large British sportscar with styling that’s unashamedly based on that of the almost legendary Jaguar E-Type. From the nose with its big oval opening, to the rounded tail the XK’s design works exceptionally well.
In this review we will look at the all-new Jaguar XK launched here in July 2006, partly because those before it are getting on in years as it’s made entirely from aluminium, with panels rivetted and bonded using aircraft style technology, the Jag’s mono construction body/chassis unit. Not only is it lighter than its forebears it is considerably stiffer, facilitating better handling
Owners say their XKs have a split personality. On the one hand it is a comfortable Grand Touring (GT) car that lopes along with ease, transporting the occupants in comfort and luxury.
But push it harder on a tight and twisting road and it becomes a surprisingly agile, fun to drive sportscar. It has a superb combination of handling and ride provided by its reduced weight and the cheekily-named Computer Active Technology Suspension, with the acronym of CATS. (Jaguars are colloquially called ‘cats’ by those who love this great British marque.)
The front of the cabin has a spacious feel about it, but this is certainly not the case in the rear seats, due to a serious lack of leg room typical of such sportscars. There’s even less room in the back of the convertible than the coupe.
Power comes from a V8 engine, interestingly, the first engine of this configuration ever used in a Jaguar as the company had made its name building beautiful looking straight sixes. Initially the V8 had a 4.0-litre capacity. That was raised to 4.2 litres when the engine was heavily revised in 2002. Further changes with the new model of 2007 improved it again.
Even better is the 5.0-litre V8 imported to Australia from January 2010. It is offered in natural or supercharged aspiration.
At the top of the performance tree sits the ‘Jaguar XKR with R features’. With semi-race suspension, Brembo brakes and an emphasis on serious motoring it’s a car to dream about from a Jaguar enthusiast’s point of view.
Jaguar’s dealer network in Australia is long established and operates efficiently. Spare parts aren’t cheap, but we’ve seen worse.
Better built and more reliable than older Jaguars, the latest Jaguar XK models are complex cars and servicing and repairs should be left to the professionals.
Insurance isn’t overly expensive – provided you have a good driving record and live in an area where theft is seldom a problem. There are may be higher charges for the supercharged engines.
By all means do your own initial checks of XKs you are considering, but a professional inspection really should be regarded as essential once you have eliminated you find are duds.
Jaguar XK was discontinued in 2015 with the last imports landing here in March.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Look for signs of previous crash repairs, such as mismatched paint or ripples in the finish.
Ideally anything other than very minor crash repairs of the aluminium body should be carried out by a specialist in the material.
Check the condition of the interior trim, carpets and dash-top for excessive wear and/or rough treatment.
Hard driving can slide luggage around and cause tears and scratches.
If there are water stains on the convertible’s seats ask the seller to remove the carpets so you can check underneath.
Be sure the engine starts promptly, idles smoothly and does not blow smoke from the exhaust when the big Jag is accelerated hard.
Gearchanges should be all but imperceptible under normal driving, but may be felt under harsh acceleration. If in doubt get a professional checkout.
A genuine Jaguar battery should be fitted as other units may not provide enough power and the electrical relays may not work. Try the complete electrical system for correct operation if you suspect a non-genuine battery is fitted.
Budget on spending from $22,000 to $31,000 for a 2006 Jaguar XK8 coupe; $25,000 to $34,000 for a 2016 XK150 coupe; $34,000 to $47,000 for a 2008 X150 convertible; $46,000 to $61,000 for a 2009 XKR X150 coupe; $55,000 to $74,000 for a 2013 V8 X150 coupe; $73,000 to $97,000 for a 2014 V8 X150 convertible; $80,000 to $196,000 for a 2014 SC V8 X150; and $91, 000 to $123,000 for a 2015 XKR SC V8 X150.
CAR BUYING TIP
Classic cars frequently attract keen owners who set up a club for the marque. Their members are a fount of information and may well know the car that you’re considering.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/