2010 Jaguar XK | road test

Posted on May 10, 2009 by

Facelifts to cars aren’t usually anything to get wildly excited about. A revised bumper here, some new headlights there, and done. The result is not a new car; just a tweak to an existing one to keep it looking fresh.

Much of this theory can be applied to the 2010 XK, but there’s an important difference – as well as the cosmetic retouches, Jag has brought out a brand new, homegrown engine with more power and better fuel economy than its predecessor.

So, gone is the 4.2-litre V8 and in comes a brand new 5.0-litre V8 lump, putting out 385bhp – an increase of 26% over the outgoing model.

The hot XK-R sees a supercharger strapped to the new unit, to produce a stonking 510bhp – up 23% on the old R.

Additionally, the 2010 XK gets the JaguarDrive Selector – the controversial transmission control from the XF, consisting of a milled aluminium dial that rises slowly from the centre console when you start the engine, like a monster from a shiny wooden lagoon.

Outside, the design remains completely recognisable, but with some nice tweaks, the most obvious being the front-end treatment. Stand the 2010 XK next to the previous version, and you’ll notice a new bumper and some funky looking LED rear light clusters that look particularly cool at night, as well as a revised back bumper. The wing mirrors are also new, housing LED side repeaters. The trademark side vents remain, and are joined by chrome-surrounded vents on the front bumper. More chrome is splashed around the windows too.

The top-of-the-range XK Portfolio that we drove comes with heated and cooled front seats, which will be good for the Arabian summer and help reduce flesh-leather sticking incidents. Ours was a convertible, with a (weight-saving) fabric that folds down in a few seconds.

These are all new little sugar pieces on the giant cake that is the original XK. As a reminder, it’s a 2+2 sports coupe (or a convertible)  – Jag has made a token effort at back seats, but they’re completely unusable for anyone with legs. Or a head.

The car is built on an aluminium structure, which makes it light, aiding performance, handling and fuel economy.

The interior is all leather and real wood veneers, with plenty of luxury to the atmosphere – don’t let the high horsepower numbers fool you into thinking that this is a hardcore sports car. There’s more than just an element of grand tourer to the XK.

 

 

The luxury doesn’t detract from the fun though. The new XK is fantastic to drive. It’s weight makes is light and responsive through the steering wheel and the new engines are fantastic and work in harmony with your right foot through a much-improved gearbox. We’re used now to smooth and fast gearshifts with the number of double-clutch affairs that have sprung up recently. The XK’s box is a traditional auto, but one of the best I’ve ever used. It’s quick to respond to your demands when shifting manually, using the wheel-mounted paddles, and the change itself is lightning fast.

The XK’s body remains composed when you press on through the curves, but the suspension is refined enough to avoid crashing over the myriad speed humps we came across during our test.

The seats are comfortable, the stereo is superb (and has iPod connectivity). There’s even room in the boot for golf clubs. So far, we’ve only had a couple of hours to try the regular XK on the launch event, and a brief blat in the XK-R, but we struggled to find much to complain about. We’ll be getting a new XK in to the office soon, when we’ll put it through a more rigorous test and see if it really is as good as it first seems.

Price: TBC – 445,000AED

Engine size: 5.0

Engine type: V8

Driven wheels: Rear-wheel drive

Max power (bhp): 385

Max torque (Nm): 515

Trim levels: XK, XK Portfolio, XK-R

Standard safety features: ABS, Active Differential Control, driver and passenger airbags, emergency brake assist, side and thorax airbags, Adaptive Restrain Technology System, Protect head restraint system

* Prices are indicative and may vary at the time of purchase. All prices are ex-Dubai showrooms. Please check with your local dealer for current prices and offers.

 

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