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2007 Jaguar XK - New Car Review, Specs, Photos

2007 Jaguar XK New Car Test Drive

by Jessica Howell

Gorgeous.” Gorgeous. I’m sure that I can hear someone whisper it into the wind as I make my way down Highway One of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, along the rocky coast of the Pacific.

2007 Jaguar XK - New Car Review, Specs, Photos

You’ve seen the fast paced Jaguar ads that manipulate television screens in a mélange of sexy women, dashing young men, flamboyant wealth and closely cropped shots of automotive detail. Like all effective advertising does, it speaks to the id in us, connecting almost instantaneously with the explicitly human desire for all that glitters. And the tagline for the product – the all-new Jaguar XK – is splashed in such obvious grandeur across the mast of the ads that it almost seems subliminal: gorgeous. Not simply a word, let alone a meager adjective, it represents a lifestyle.

And I’m sold.

The all-new 2007 XK is Jaguar’s answer to the previous model that was the brand’s fastest selling sports car ever, but ceased production in June of 2005. Even more stunning than its predecessor, the 2007 XK is available as either coupe or convertible – same as before – but offers a lighter, faster and more spacious Jaguar that combines the luxe elements of a grand tourer with the aggressive, but captivating, attitude of a sports car.

Fleeting glances are non-existent on XK’s turf. What might begin as a momentary look-over is sure to quickly develop into a lusty, visual affair. Whether ragtop convertible (top stowed) or classy coupe, the XK is right where Jaguar intended – straddling the line between sultry sports car and elegantly appointed four-seater.

Let’s start with the exterior. The coupe demonstrates classic, low -to-the-pavement proportions that streamline a taut and lean muscular body hugging underneath mechanics. Jag’s oval grille opening standardizes the vehicle’s façade but gives way to a body that highlights aggressive rear haunches and smooth, tapered rear; you’ll also notice Jaguar’s new signature front-wing power vents, a nod to special edition XJ Super V8 Portfolio that will likely pop up on future models as well.

The convertible mimics the same design and gets an even prettier profile with top stowed. XK designer Ian Callum reveals that the convertible was designed first since it’s easier to put a hard-top roof on a convertible than to swipe one off of a coupe. He scores points for unmatched fluidity – the convertible stands secure in its design – hardly the ragtop option that accompanies competitor models. These are two separate machines, both brilliantly designed to accentuate their most striking features.

Inside is a 2 + 2 setup that boasts moderate space for driver and front-seat passenger but offers space in the backseat for little more than the notion of practicality. (The trunk, by the way, was created to be large enough for two golf bags. We didn’t test the theory, but measurements account for ten feet or seven feet in the convertible with the roof down – which stows in 18 seconds with the press of a single button.)

There’s no arguing that drivers won’t be comfortable, however. This is a driver’s kind of car and so it can only be assumed that the cockpit was given special attention and created to be driver-focused.

Slip into the low-slung, body-hugging front seat and you’ll reap a wide-open view of the road before you. Airy and spacious, there’s more room for head and legs than in the previous model. The necessities surround you – functionality is at a premium, allowing simple access to what matters most – like a touch-screen that rids the console of rarely touched buttons and switches. Seven inches wide, the touch-screen serves as system center for the car, allowing control of climate, audio, nav, telephone (Bluetooth based) and vehicle settings within as few pushes as possible. Weary eyes will like that icons enlarge upon touch.

2007 Jaguar XK Interior - New Car Review, Specs, Photos

Choose an interior color scheme that suits your personality – contrasting Ivory and Charcoal for a mod look; Ivory and Slate Blue speaks of fresh contemporary, Charcoal for the brooding sportster or Caramel for a warm, comfortable setting. Veneers come in one of three choices: Aluminum, Burl Walnut and the edgy Poplar wood.

All-aluminum construction makes this XK lighter than competitor Mercedes SL and BMW 6 Series by a difference of nearly 500 lbs. which translates into better handling and performance, as well as increased fuel efficiency. Lighter, however, doesn’t mean looser. The all-aluminum body does wonders for stiffening construction, creating a coupe that is 30 percent stiffer than the previous model and a convertible that garners a hefty 50 percent increase in torsional rigidity.

Safety soars, too. The upgraded strength advantage lends a hand to lower-speed accident repair costs and the fact that there is only a single welded joint in the body (a cosmetic roof joint at that) means greater protection in impacts. Developed by aircraft industry pros, Jag coins this “Lightweight Vehicle Technology.”

There’s no need to pound on this pedal. Tap lightly and you’ll feel the XK spring into action beneath you – spurred by its naturally aspirated 4.2L V8 offering 300-hp that goes from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds. You’ll find the engine standard in both models – coming in less than a half second slower than the previous XKR, Jag’s pumped up performance version.

Accompanying pedal-to-the-metal driving is the healthy roar of the V8. Not noisy enough for discomfort, but loud enough to remind you that of the pouncing feline feist beneath the hood. You have the new Semi-Active Exhaust system to thank for that. It works to vary the flow of gases and features acoustically tuned tailpipes to musically tantalize those left in your dust.

Work the gears with the XK’s new six-speed automatic transmission that features Bosch Mechatronic shift whose adaptive properties respond to road conditions and different driving styles to shift as smoothly as possible. Playful drivers can get a feel for XK’s throttle potential by throwing the gearshift into new Sport mode and toggling steering wheel-mounted shift paddles to up- and downshift. Designed to operate with no torque interrupt, the Jag’s Sequential Shift feels smooth and steady – and completes a shift from touch to turn in approximately 600 milliseconds, making it the fastest automatic transmission available, and quite possibly the fasted Sport shift around.

A world first, Jaguar’s new Pedestrian Contact Sensing is a deployable bonnet that helps soften the severity of impact injuries between pedestrians and car. If triggered, the bonnet automatically releases upward by a few inches which makes more space, consequently protecting the pedestrian from the engine. A front bumper sensing system is in place to discriminate pedestrian accidents from front-end collisions.

Anti-lock Braking (ABS), Trac Dynamic Stability Control (TracDSC) and traction control are all standard. Keyless entry and keyless start are also standard. Standard also is the Adaptive Restraint Technology System (ARTS) for driver and passenger safety. Measuring driver position and weight in reference to steering wheel, ARTS deploys airbags at the most efficient energy levels. In addition to these two front airbags are two combined front-seat head and thorax side airbags. Pop-up bars for rollover protection are standard on the convertible.

If the ad doesn’t lie, and my opinion says it doesn’t, you’ll be feeling quite gorgeous in the all-new XK; and you’ll feel safe and protected too. That’s important – because the whispers of the wind can be quite distracting.

2007 Jaguar XK
Coupe and Convertible 2+2 Sports Car
108.3 inches
Overall length:
188.6 inches
Engine size:

DOHC 4.2L 90-degree V8

6-speed ZF automatic with Jaguar Sequential Shift with paddle shifts standard
Bosch® Servotronic 2 power-assisted, speed-sensitive, variable-ratio rack and pinion
Air bags:
Adaptive Restraint Technology System (ARTS)
2 (fr) 2 (side/thorax)

Coupe: Starting at $75,500
Convertible: Starting at $81,500