With a 300-horsepower, naturally aspirated V-8, the 2007 Jaguar XK is not the fastest or most powerful car in its class, but its relatively lightweight body means that a squeeze of the accelerator at 2,000rpm will push driver and passenger back into their perforated soft-grain leather seats. From a standstill and at lower revs, we found that the V-8 displayed an inkling of throttle delay when called upon for brisk acceleration--perhaps a byproduct of Jaguar's drive-by-wire engine management system.
Nevertheless, The XK 's 4.2-liter variable valve-timed V-8 propels the car to 60mph in 5.9 seconds and takes it through a quarter mile in 14.4 seconds. (This week, Jaguar also officially unveiled the Eaton-supercharged 2007 XKR, which will take a full second off the XK Coupe's 0 to 60 figure.)
The 2007 XK features Jaguar's 6-speed ZF sequential shifting transmission that automatically blips the throttle when shifting to deliver smoother gear changes. While the automatic mode delivers a smooth ride on the highway, we preferred to flip the shifter over to the manual sport setting for driving the mountain roads: the XK is the first ever Jaguar model to feature steering wheel-mounted paddles for manual upshifts and downshifts, and we heartily approve.
Having forced the Big Cat to stop and start around the urban jungle for a while, we took it through its paces on the twisting roads of California's Marin headlands and found it more than equal to the challenge. Jaguar's Electronically Computer Active Technology Suspension (eCATS) with automatic damping comes as standard on the XK and made for precision turn-in and firm, balletic handling through the winding mountain roads.
Engine diagnostics (such as engine warning, low engine oil pressure, and low brake fluid) and trip information are relayed to the driver via an LCD driver information display, which sits between the two main dials in the instrument panel.
The EPA says that the XK will get 18mpg in the city and 27mpg on the highway. In our 200 miles split between city driving--where the V-8 felt cramped and unhappy--and challenging mountain roads, we observed just over 15mpg. Whether carving through serpentine mountain roads high above the Pacific or trying to back into a spot outside Starbucks, it's nice to know that the 2007 XK comes with a formidable array of safety features.
Electronic safety features include a tire-pressure monitoring system and a radar-based visual rear view parking system as standard. The XK's rear parking meter is one of the most advanced we have used. Rather than indicating proximity from an obstacle by a series of beeps, the radar-based system actually displays a visual representation of an object by showing its distance from the rear bumper and its relative lateral position (left/right center/left center/left) to the car.
Our car also came with the optional Advanced Technology Package ($2,500), comprising adaptive cruise control--enabling drivers to program a preset distance when following other cars on the highway--and adaptive front lights, which actively correspond to the direction of the car's steering wheel to better illuminate the road when cornering. Also assisting night driving is the XK's standard self-leveling Bi-Xenon headlights.
Other standard safety systems are hidden from view with antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), and TracDSC--Jaguar's own version of dynamic stability control--all working to keep the Big Cat's paws on the road. The driver and the front passenger also get standard front- and side-impact airbags with a front occupant-sensing system. At the time of this writing, the 2007 XK had not been rated by the NHTSA for impact or rollover safety.
The 2007 Jaguar XK comes with a comprehensive four-year/50,000-mile new-vehicle limited warranty, with complimentary maintenance for the first year or 12,000 miles. Jaguar also insures parts wear and service adjustments for one year, and the XK's battery is covered for four years or 50,000 miles. A corrosion warranty covers the car for six years with unlimited mileage.