2013 Jaguar XK Road Test & Review: Introduction
Easily one of the most beautiful cars on the road, the Jaguar XK is both an icon and a paragon. Iconic in that it represents a line of Jaguar grand touring cars tracing their lineage all the way back to the highly coveted Jaguar E-Type sports cars.
At the same time, the Jaguar XK is a paragon because it is the unalloyed embodiment of everything a grand touring automobile should be. The Jaguar is graced with exceptional good looks, whole it is also wholly uncompromised its comfort and luxury. Further, the XK is wholly unrestrained in its performance potential.
In the words of Sir William Lyons, one of the founders of the company, this Jaguar truly is about space, grace and pace. All of these factors combine to make the Jaguar XK one of the most desirable cars available.
And ironically, for what it is—relatively speaking—it’s also one of the most affordable.
2013 Jaguar XK Road Test & Review: Pricing and Trim Levels
For 2013, Jaguar is offering the XK in two levels of trim—XK Touring, and XK.
Starting things off, the $79,00 Jaguar XK Touring ($85,000 in convertible form) features:
- A naturally aspirated, 385-horsepower V8 engine
- A set of 19-inch alloy wheels
- An aerodynamic styling package
- Leather interior trim, including the dash, instrument panel and door panels
- Sport-style 10-way power-adjustable front seats, with three-stage variable heating
- A 525-watt surround-sound audio system with an AM/FM stereo receiver and a single-disc, in-dash CD player
- A GPS navigation systemand trip computer
- Jaguar’s Smart Key System affording keyless entry and keyless start
To all of the above, the $84,500 ($90.500 convertible in convertible form) 2013 Jaguar XK model adds:
- A set of 20-inch alloy wheels
- A finer soft grain leather interior trim for the dash, instrument panel and door panels
- Heated and cooled 16-way power adjustable front seats with memory
- Heated leather steering wheel with switches for audio and cruise control
- A 14-speaker Bowers & Wilkins 525-watt audio system with AM/FM stereo and a six-disc, in-dash CD changer, and Dolby Pro-Logic II 7.1 Surround Sound.
But wait, there’s more—if all of that isn’t enough to satisfy you.
The $2,625 Jaguar Advanced Technology Pack adds Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Forward Alert and Active Front Lighting. ACC is a radar-based cruise control system designed to maintain a set speed when the cr is unencumbered by other traffic. However, when it is, the system will automatically adjust the XK’s speed to maintain a set gap between the Jaguar and whatever piece of crap is in front of it.
Meanwhile, the Active Front Lighting system monitors vehicle speed and steering angle. Then, based on your velocity and steering wheel movements, it rotates the headlights to cast light deeper into corners. This can significantly improve nighttime visibility, particularly when driving the Jaguar on winding roads.
If you’d like to luxe your Jaguar up even more, go for the $4100 Portfolio Pack. This will get you a choice of two exclusive interior color combinations: Truffle soft grain leather with Ivory contrast stitching or Navy soft grain leather with London Tan contrast stitching. The interior also features Italian leather by Poltrona Frau for the headliner on XK Coupe models, and the header rail on XK Convertibles. Twenty-inch polished alloy wheels, chrome exterior rearview mirror covers, chrome grilles, and chrome doorsill plates complete the Portfolio Pack’s bright accent theme.
There are also two higher performing versions of the Jaguar grand tourer—XKR and XKR-S. These are reviewed here separately.
2013 Jaguar XK Road Test & Review: Design
Back in 2007, Jaguar set forth a whole new paradigm for the brand with the introduction of the current XK. Sleekly curvaceous with bulging haunches over its rear wheels, the 2007 XK was easily the most beautiful Jaguar introduced in quite some time.
Additionally, the XK established the design template from which was drawn the XF, the new XJ, and the new F-Type roadster. The XK was universally agreed upon as beautiful the first time it was shown and quite frankly, the car still turns heads to this day.
Interestingly, the fluid styling of the XK might delude some viewers into believing the Jaguar is a genteel boulevardier—particularly in its convertible guise. If ordered in a particularly effeminate color, the Jaguar XK can come across exactly like the stereotypical car a platinum-haired Bel Air matron would take shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
And, truth be told, of all of the cars in its competitive set, (BMW 6 Series, Mercedes-Benz SL, and to a lesser extent, the Audi R8 and Porsche 911) the graceful feline-like curves of the Jaguar XK does make it the most feminine-looking car of the lot.
That is, until you set it into vigorous motion.
Then you’ll see an entirely different side of the Jaguar.
2013 Jaguar XK Road Test & Review: Comfort & Cargo
The exterior promise of this car is more than supported by the interior’s accommodations. Well crafted, finely tailored, and just plain inviting, the interior treatment of the Jaguar XK makes it an exceptionally special place to be.
The suppleness of the leather upholstery is a nice counterpoint to the firmness of the comfortable sport seats. Capable of cosseting you in complete serenity for hundreds and hundreds of miles in a single sitting, the seats in the Jaguar XK are perfectly suited to long distance touring. As is the rest of the car really.
Yes, the rear seats are best considered vestigial at best, but who really buys a car like this with an eye toward putting anyone in the back seat? This is a glam ride for glam occasions, for you and the only person you really want to see sitting beside you.
That said, with 11.7 cubic feet of space, the trunk is just adequate for weekend getaway for two, if we’re discussing the coupe. Unfortunately, the storage well for the convertible roof eats into the trunk’s capacity quite a bit. When the top is stowed, you’ll only have 7.1 cubic feet of space to work with—soft luggage only in that version of the car please.
2013 Jaguar XK Road Test & Review: Features & Controls
Seated behind the wheel when the car isn’t moving, the eye is treated to an amazing level of craftsmanship. The seats and dash are swaddled in hand-stitched leather, a suede-like material upholsters the A-pillars and the windshield frame, and the grain of the deeply polished wood trim matches perfectly, all the way across the dash and onto the door panels as well.
The convertible versions of the XK feature a top capable of raising or lowering in 18 seconds—at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour—enabling you to erect, or drop the top on the roll, even as you’re pulling away from a parking space or preparing to pull into one. Plus, it is extremely well constructed and insulated very nicely. Driving the car with the top deployed, you’d be hard-pressed to determine the Jaguar is a convertible.
Our only complaints about the interior concern the Jaguar’s multi-media interface. Touch-screen based, the system is a bit complicated and slow when compared to the best of the current systems. This was a hot setup when the XK was introduced but these systems have come a long way in the ensuing years.
Further, the adoption of the Jaguar Drive Select dial system for the automatic transmission leaves you with no place to rest your right hand when the car is cruising. However, the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel do a more than adequate job of controlling the six-speed automatic when you decide to select gear ratios for yourself.
Besides, you can always hold hands with your significant other—right?
2013 Jaguar XK Road Test & Review: Powertrain and Fuel Economy
Rouse that 385 horsepower V8 and you’ll hear a roar more befitting an angered bear than any member of the feline family. The sound of the XK’s powerplant leaves no doubt as to its cylinder count, nor does it permit any miscalculation of its performance potential. Displacing 5.0-liters, Jaguar quotes a 5.3 second zero to 60 for the 3900-pound grand tourer.
A six-speed automatic transmission routes the output of the engine to the rear wheels. You can either set it and forget it, or you can take control of it yourself using the paddles behind the steering wheel.
The EPA says you can expect to see 16 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on the highway with the coupe. You’ll drop two miles per gallon on the highway with the convertible. It’s rated at 22.
2013 Jaguar XK Road Test & Review: Driving Impressions
The light weight afforded the Jaguar, thanks to its aluminum construction, also enables it to handle like a car a quarter of its size. Saying the Jag grips the road like a cat swinging on curtains is an unfortunate pun as well as something of a cliché, but the fact of the matter is the car has an amazing amount of grip.
This; coupled with its outstanding acceleration, accurate steering, and prodigious braking ability; gives the XK a driving experience easily equaling its beauty. Thing is, even with all of this dynamic capability seething just beneath the surface of that beautifully erotic shape, cruising around town, you’d never know it was there.
The Jaguar XK absolutely is the best of both worlds. You’re pampered in palatial luxury as you go about your day-to-day mundanities. Then in the evening, when you decide to jam, you’ll like music played loud by this Jaguar’s band. It really is a wondrous thing the way a car with this much performance potential can be so utterly—well— genteel. It’s smooth and quiet when you need it to be, and outrageously dynamic when you want it to be.
If the Jaguar XK were human, it would be in therapy for schizophrenia—big time.
2013 Jaguar XK Road Test & Review: Safety Equipment
Standard safety equipment on the 2013 XK lineup includes traction and stability control, antilock brakes and front side airbags. Side curtain airbags are not offered. The convertible adds pop-up rollover bars.
2013 Jaguar XK Road Test & Review: Final Thoughts
All in all, the XK is still one of our favorite cars.
If we were forced to choose one car to suit all of our driving needs, the XK would definitely be on our A-list. Stunningly beautiful, outfitted like the palace of a sultan, and capable of pavement-shredding performance, we’ve no qualms about saying the XK is very close being to the perfect GT car.
Sadly though, the old girl is starting to get a bit long in the tooth. Introduced at the 2005 Frankfurt Auto Show, some of her age is starting to show. The interface for the touchscreen telematics system is glacially slow to respond. Further, the interior trim bits looked so fresh and original in 2005—but they are eight years old now.
Jaguar seems to be milking everything it can out of the design, with yet another special edition of the Jaguar XK (XKR-S GT) slated to appear for the 2014 model year. They’ve cut holes in the body, changed the lighting instruments, and supercharged the beJesus out of the engine, all in an effort to keep interest up in the model. However, the simple truth of the matter—particularly in this category—is the newest car out there gets the love. The rest just get polite nods of admiration.
Unfortunately, even as wonderful a car as this is, that’s where the Jaguar XK is right now. It remains to be seen what Jaguar’s new owners have in mind for the car (keep in mind this version was developed under Ford’s ownership). There is one bright spot though, the new F-Type roadster is one seriously gorgeous piece of work—hopefully the next XK will be along soon to top it.
2013 Jaguar XK Road Test & Review: Pros & Cons
• Timeless exterior styling
• Palatial interior accommodations
• Exceptional comfort
• Fast convertible top, can be operated on the move
• Limited cargo space
• Aged touchscreen interface
• Best if consumed before date rapidly approaching