Jag with the split per­son­al­ity

The West Australian - - WEST WHEELS | QUICK DRIVE - EWAN KENNEDY

The Jaguar XK is a large Bri­tish sports car with styling unashamedl­y based on the leg­endary Jaguar E-Type.

From the nose’s big oval open­ing to the rounded tail, the XK’s de­sign works ex­cep­tion­ally well.

In this re­view, we will look at the all-new Jaguar XK launched here in July 2006, partly be­cause those be­fore it are get­ting on in years and as it’s made en­tirely from alu­minium, with pan­els riv­eted and bonded us­ing air­craft-style tech­nol­ogy, the Jag’s mono con­struc­tion body/chas­sis unit.

Not only is it lighter than its fore­bears, it is con­sid­er­ably stiffer, fa­cil­i­tat­ing bet­ter han­dling.

Own­ers say their XKs have a split per­son­al­ity. On the one hand, it is a com­fort­able grand tour­ing car that lopes along with ease. But push it harder on a tight and twist­ing road and it be­comes a sur­pris­ingly ag­ile, fun to drive sports car.

It has a su­perb com­bi­na­tion of han­dling and ride pro­vided by its re­duced weight and the cheek­ily named Com­puter Ac­tive Tech­nol­ogy Sus­pen­sion, with the acro­nym of CATS.

Power comes from a V8 en­gine, in­ter­est­ingly, the first en­gine of this

con­fig­u­ra­tion ever used in a Jaguar as the com­pany had made its name build­ing beau­ti­ful-look­ing straight sixes. Ini­tially, the V8 had a 4.0-litre ca­pac­ity. That was raised to 4.2 litres when the en­gine was heav­ily re­vised in 2002. Fur­ther changes with the new model of 2007 im­proved it again. Even bet­ter is the 5.0-litre V8 im­ported to Aus­tralia from Jan­uary 2010. It is of­fered in nat­u­ral or su­per­charged as­pi­ra­tion.

At the top of the per­for­mance tree sits the Jaguar XKR with R fea­tures. With semi-race sus­pen­sion, Brembo brakes and an em­pha­sis on se­ri­ous mo­tor­ing, it’s a car to dream about from a Jaguar en­thu­si­ast’s point of view.

Jaguar’s dealer net­work in Aus­tralia is long es­tab­lished and op­er­ates ef­fi­ciently. Spare parts aren’t cheap, but we’ve seen worse.

Bet­ter built and more re­li­able than older Jaguars, the lat­est Jaguar XK mod­els are com­plex cars and ser­vic­ing and re­pairs should be left to the pro­fes­sion­als.

In­sur­ance isn’t overly ex­pen­sive, pro­vided you have a good driv­ing record and live in an area where theft is sel­dom a prob­lem. There may be higher charges for the su­per­charged en­gines.

A pro­fes­sional in­spec­tion should be re­garded as es­sen­tial once you have elim­i­nated the duds.

Jaguar XK was dis­con­tin­ued in 2015, with the last im­ports land­ing here in March.

A 2006 Jaguar XK.

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