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2015 Jaguar XK: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2015

It would be nice if everything aged like fine wine, but the 2015 Jaguar XK has aged like, well, an automobile. The current XK will be discontinued after 2015, marking its ninth year of production. It's hard for any car to stay relevant after all that time. Truth be told, Jag's 2-door model was technology-deprived even when it debuted back in 2007, and that gap has only widened in this fast-moving luxury segment.

But if you're all about style and performance, the XK may still appeal to you. We felt that the XK had too much Ford Taurus in its snout at the outset, but Jag has made subtle revisions over the years, and these days the XK flaunts timeless sex appeal. It looks like an Aston Martin red-tag special, and we mean that as a compliment. As for performance, the XK is much faster now than it used to be, from the 385-horsepower base model to the nuclear 550-hp XKR-S. It's not bad through the corners, either.

Overall, the XK is still worth a gander. Just don't expect it to have cheated Father Time as successfully as some of Jaguar's Hollywood clientele.

What's New for 2015?

The XK loses its ultra-high-performance XKR-S GT variant, while its equipment roster has been reshuffled to add value. New standard features include adaptive headlights, HD radio and metal pedals. There's also an XKR-based, limited-edition XK Final Fifty model with special black paint and trim details along with extensive standard luxuries.

What We Like

Distinctive and graceful styling; glorious V8 engines; surprisingly nimble handling

What We Don't

Outdated technology; transmission stumbles during spirited driving

How Much?

$85,425-$132,925

Fuel Economy

The rear-wheel-drive Jaguar XK starts with a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 rated at 385 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. The coupe returns 16 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, while the convertible gets 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy.

The XKR steps up to a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 rated at 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque, while the XKR-S goes bonkers with a 550-hp, 502-lb-ft version of this engine. Both supercharged models are rated at 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy.

Every XK employs a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual control.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Jaguar XK is a 2+2 (a 2-seater with a tiny 2-passenger back seat) offered in three trim levels: base, XKR and XKR-S. All are available as either a coupe or a fabric-roofed convertible.

Standard features on the base XK ($85,425) include 20-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive xenon headlights with LED accents, keyless entry/start, wood interior trim, a power-adjustable steering wheel, heated and cooled 10-way power front seats with memory settings, leather upholstery, Bluetooth, metal pedals, a rearview camera, a hard-drive-based navigation system with a 7-in touchscreen and a 525-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio system with a USB port, HD radio and satellite radio.

The XKR ($98,425) steps up to a supercharged engine and a limited-slip differential plus such niceties as electronically adjustable adaptive dampers, performance instrumentation, softer leather upholstery and 16-way front seats.

Options on the XKR include the Dynamic Pack (adding special side sills, a rear diffuser and a larger rear wing) and the Performance Pack (adding an active sport exhaust, sport seats and a suede-wrapped steering wheel).

The XKR-S ($132,925) boasts the top-level supercharged engine plus quad exhaust tips, a lowered sport-tuned suspension (optional on XKR via the Dynamic Pack) and unique exterior and interior trim.

All convertible models cost $6,000 more than their coupe counterparts and feature a fabric roof that can be ordered in numerous colors to either match or contrast with the body to your liking. When it's not needed, the top disappears into the body in 18 seconds, and it can be operated at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.

Trunk capacity is 11.7 cu ft. in the XK coupe and 11.1 cu ft. in the convertible, though the latter figure drops to about 7 cu ft. with the soft-top folded down.

Safety

The Jaguar XK comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and four airbags (front and front-side). The convertible also features two roll hoops that pop up automatically if a rollover is imminent. The XK does not offer any of the high-tech safety features that we've come to take for granted in this segment, such as blind spot monitoring or collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking.

Like every car in this low-volume segment, the XK has not been crash-tested in the U.S.

Behind the Wheel

The XK is the oldest car in Jaguar's stable, and it shows when you're sitting inside. Some of its buttons and switchgears have a downmarket vibe. What's more, the quality of the interior materials is merely adequate compared to some of its competition, detracting from that special feel it had from behind the wheel when it was a new design. At least it has Jaguar's cool and distinctive rotary-shift knob, which dramatically rises out of the center console upon ignition.

All versions of the XK model's V8 are simply brilliant, with seemingly endless thrust and a NASCAR-grade wail when floored. The R and R-S versions add an endearingly audible supercharger whine as they pin your ears to your head. The standard XK is said to hit 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds from a standstill, with the XKR hitting mile-a-minute speeds in 4.6 seconds and the XKR-S in an even quicker 4.2 seconds. Only you can decide if the XKR-S model's modest acceleration edge and slightly louder noises are worth the additional tens of thousands (if you can even find one), but we wouldn't dissuade you from spending the dough if you have it.

Whichever version you select, a 6-speed automatic transmission will handle the shifting duties, and it's unfortunately a poor match for the sensational V8 engines. Kick-downs are sometimes delayed and then abrupt when passing, while downshifts in manual mode can feel rough. To be fair, it's seamless in relaxed driving. But kick things up a notch, and it sometimes feels a step behind.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 BMW 650i -- Boasting a beastly twin-turbo V8, the 650i is a very fast car (not to mention the even beastlier M6), and its interior is vastly superior to the Jaguar's. But if attractive styling is a priority, we think the Jag wins without a fight.

2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class -- The latest SL's styling hasn't grown on us yet, but its retractable hardtop, delectable engine choices and Mercedes-Benz prestige make for one tough rival.

2015 Porsche 911 -- The iconic 911 is more of a luxurious grand-tourer than a pure sports car these days, which means it's more of a threat to the XK. But if you're looking for a comfortable cruise, the XK still takes the cake.

Used Maserati GranTurismo -- Maserati's luxury coupe would ordinarily be priced a bit out of the XK's league, but thanks to the magic of depreciation, you can find a low-mileage used specimen for the same cost as a new Jag.

Autotrader's Advice

The XKR seems to occupy the sweet spot in the XK lineup, offering supercharged power that's too alluring to resist. We just couldn't see spending another $35,000 or so to get an XKR-S, however, given that it uses essentially the same engine with a bit more oomph.

Find a Jaguar XK for sale

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Used 2015 Jaguar XK Series R Convertible
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$64,995
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Jaguar XK: New Car Review - Autotrader