When the XK first appeared to the world back in 1996 it created a whole new era for the history of Jaguars sports cars. With 91,406 XK's finally rolling off the Browns Lane assembly Line it goes without saying that it has been a phenomenal success. Now approaching its 15th Anniversary, a whole new generation of XKs has been unveiled under the leadership of Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum. At her unveiling speech at theFrankfurt Motor Show back in September 2005, Bibiana Boerio, Managing Director Jaguar Cars said "this is a sports car with the heart and soul of every great Jaguar." Ian Callum followed by saying “It’s just like a Jaguar should be – powerful and exciting”.
Well, what is new on the XK (project X150)? Does it indeed live up to these statements? How does it compare to the current version? Well, inside the new XK, the interior has been totally redesigned. Fine luxurious stitched leather does continue (as you would expect) but some more high-tech trim surfaces have also been introduced. The XK’s stance is now longer, wider and taller across its two-door Coupe and Convertible forms.
The main design change has been the introduction of the allaluminium monocoque body which was previously introduced on the XJ. The 4.2 litre V8 still thrusts out a maximum speed limit of 155mph (shame) but with a 0-60mph time of 5.9 seconds. Jaguar state that the quarter-mile time can be reached in 14.4 seconds, less than half a second off the pace of the previous supercharged 4.2 XKR (a sure challenge test for us to in future months ahead?). The familiar ‘J’ gate has been replaced with a new Sequential Shift system allowing the driver to use steering wheel-mounted paddles to change gear (F1 style). The car sits on 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, with the option of 19 or 20-inch wheels available. Other luxuries include a high and optional premium-quality audio system and built in Bluetooth based communication. There are three veneer options – Aluminium, Burr Walnut, and the more modern wood.
The aluminium option offering a high-tech appearance (not so keen on that idea)! Jaguar has also introduced a new feature called the “Pedestrian deployable bonnet”. An imaginative design that aim’s to lessen the severity of injuries to pedestrians in the event of a collision with a car. The idea being that in the unfortunate event of a pedestrian impact, the deployable bonnet automatically ‘pops’ up a few inches, to increase space between the engine and the bonnet. This helps to isolate the pedestrian from hard points in the engine compartment (not sure if I want to see that in action!). Will existing X100 owners be rushing to dealerships to trade in their old ones? The proof of its success since 2006 I think speaks for itself.