I had high hopes for the XK when Jaguar delivered a 2007 convertible to my house for a weeklong test drive. I had seen the XK ads on TV. They depict a hip, urban couple in ecstasy as they drive a "liquid silver" XK along the bleached-out California coastline to the sounds of the indie group Spoon. That could be me, I thought. If I owned an XK I would be that cool. It didn't happen. After my week with the XK, I was still me--a slightly pudgy editor of a legal magazine who lives on a tree-lined street in a Chicago suburb.
That's XK's major flaw. It is a great car, but not a transformative one. During the test I never felt I was driving an ultra hip, $81,000 British sports car (the coupe starts at $75,000).
Here's the problem. The exterior turns heads with its long, sloping front end, oval grille and muscular haunches. It also has a heap of power, thanks to a stiff, but lightweight aluminum body and 4.2 liter, V8 engine. But it lacks the finesse and razor-sharp handling of a Porsche or BMW. At times I felt like I was driving a Mustang or Corvette--a lot of brute power, but little else.
The luxurious interior doesn't help the situation. I expected something more Bavarian--dark, aggressive, simple and encompassing. What Jag delivers is very British--fine stitched leather on the seats and dashboard, a splash of exotic wood trim throughout the cabin and a plush carpet--giving the interior a refined, stately feel. The cabin also was light and spacious, a little too spacious for a sports car.
My wife perhaps summed up this car the best. She said it felt a little too much like a Ford--which isn't too hip.