Jaguar has worked hard over recent years to shake their conservative tag and develop truly modern vehicles capable of great performance whilst maintaining the traditional style that has always provided a European counterpoint from the Germanic severity of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. This year the Jaguar XK convertible and its sibling coupe have received a few upgrades to keep it up-to-date, and although performance may not be class-beating, it remains a stylish competitor to the European convertibles like the Volvo C70, BMW M3 and Audi A5.
2009 Jaguar XK Convertible Performance
The 2009 Jaguar XK convertible features a 4.2-liter V8 engine that generates 300hp and 310lb-ft of torque. This engine provides plenty of available speed, however the convertible has been criticized for being slow off the mark. This is not the fastest sports car on the road, but it feels solid and powerful enough to take on the best. Transmission comes as a standard six-speed automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters and has no trouble shifting quickly and at the right time.
The nimble handling and acceleration is significantly helped by the aluminum panels which Jaguar calls their 'Lightweight Vehicle Technology', makes the XK both light (even lighter than previous XK convertibles) and with enough stiffness that this convertible does not require extra stiffening panels. Nevertheless the XJ Convertible is more comfortable on straight highways and city driving than being thrown around corners, and the suspension is most certainly more on the comfort than performance side.
Jaguar has stuck with a canvas soft top roof for their XK convertible while many of the competition are opting for a hard top, however this convertible is comfortable with its identity and does not need to look like a coupe - especially since it has a coupe brother. Remaining lightweight has been a major preoccupation, and the canvas top keeps it light and sporty with three layers of insulation and an 18-second power retraction. It is also available in a range of colors including maroon, dark beige, green or grey. A Rollover Protection Device pops out aluminum roll-bars to protect occupants in case of rolling even when the soft top is up.
Fuel economy is not the XK's strong point, with 16/25mpg in the XK and 15/23mpg city/highway for the XKR.
2009 Jaguar XK Convertible Interior and Features
Standard on the XK convertible is 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, 10-way power adjustable and heated front seats, Bluetooth, 8-speaker stereo system, bi-xenon headlights, front and rear parking assist, adaptive suspension, dual-zone climate control, iPod adapter, universal remote control, remote access and starting, and navigation system with seven-inch LCD. Real wood trim is also standard, along with keyless entry and start.
A number of option packages are available like the Technology Package that adds adaptive cruise control and adaptive steering-linked headlights that allow the headlights to follow the direction of the steering. Run-flat tires, upgraded stereo and 19 or 20-inch tires are available on most trims.
Overall the interior ambiance of the 2009 XK series is as stylish as you expect from a Jaguar but not quite as conservative, with a modern looking dash that features a touchscreen display to control the audio, climate and navigation systems. The wood and aluminum add a sophisticated image to the modern features, and the seats are extremely comfortable. All XKs have a rear seat, however one wonders why they bother really, with it almost impossible to reach from the front doors, and once in adults basically have to sit crosslegged given the almost non-existent legroom.
2009 Jaguar XK Convertible Safety
The 2009 Jaguar XK includes a range of safety features including dual front and side airbags, ABS, brake assist and antiskid system as well as electronic stability control with different activation settings so as not to limit sports driving. Rollover bars pop up in an accident, and there are active head restraints, front and rear obstacle detection and daytime running lights.
- Dual front and side airbags
- Adjustable stability control, ABS, brake assist and anti-skid
- Rollover bars
- Active head restraints
- Tire pressure monitoring
- Front and rear obstacle detection
Overall the 2009 Jaguar XK convertible is a classy and impressive performance machine capable of serious sports driving, whilst not disappointing the Jaguar purists with its traditional styling.