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Jaguar models, news & reviews
By Tim Pollard
11 March 2009 00:01
We've always liked the Jaguar XK at CAR Towers. Those Callum curves, that lightweight aluminium build, the effortless performance... To be honest, there wasn't much wrong with the outgoing XK sports cars, so we were anxious to make sure the new, facelifted-for-2010 coupe and roadster didn't meddle with a winning formula. Now we've driven the new XK coupe, complete with the 5.0-litre iteration of the AJ-V8 and numerous detail changes inside and out, and can deliver the verdict...So Jaguar's XK has gained a 5.0-litre V8? Hardly downsizing, is it?True, but the devil's in the detail. The AJ-V8 III might have swollen from 4.2 to 5.0 litres, but it's also gained a direct-injection head complete with independent variable valve timing. The upshot is a serious trip to the gym, the new V8 cranking out a reputable 380 ponies and pounds (up from 296bhp and 303lb ft).So the new 2010-spec XK is nearly as fast as the old XKR, tipping the 0-60mph sprint from 5.9sec to 5.2sec while top whack remains pegged at 155mph. It feels this quick on the road. The ZF auto box slushes with the best of them (far more comforting at a waft than even the 911's new PDK tranny), but step on the loud pedal and the naturally aspirated XK transforms into a hard-edged sports car.They've fiddled with the acoustics to give the exhaust timbre a deep, woofling bent eight burble when you're on it and the switch from cruise ship to Cruise missile is more pronounced than before. This brilliant V8 is an endearing companion up front, and suits the bi-polar demands of a 2+2 sports car.A new car in 2009... guess they're bragging on CO2 rights?Of course they are! Smelly stuff at the exhaust falls to 264g/km and combined economy stands at 25.2mpg. Jag says that's 7% better than the Mercedes SL500. We say it's 15% worse than the strangely purebred Porsche 997 Carrera 2, which has also gained direct injection. We're slightly perplexed why Jaguar chose to upsize the V8 in an age when most people are downsizing, which could have guaranteed even lower emissions. But we guess the decision was taken back in a booming economy, and there's no arguing with the improvement in key figures. UK buyers can choose between the XKR and this 5.0, but US dealers will still offer the choice of the old 4.2. And the XK range will get even more interesting in the coming year when Jag finally launches the new 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel XK...>> Click 'Next' to read more of our first drive of the new Jag XK review
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