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2012 Jaguar XK Series

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2012 Jaguar XK Series Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 7/6/2012


In a category defined by supreme levels of prestige, opulence or performance, the 2012 Jaguar XK delivers on all counts. Boasting elegant exterior styling and an interior to match, the Jag XK adds an inimitable Britannic dimension to the grand touring segment. The latest addition to the XK lineup represents the pinnacle of Jaguar performance engineering in the limited-edition XKR-S. Available in coupe or convertible form, the XK's wealth of standard equipment coupled with a reasonable starting price fare well against such well-entrenched competitors as the Mercedes Benz SL-Class, BMW 6 Series and Porsche 911. With three distinct versions to choose from, the 2012 Jaguar XK offers the comfort and grace of a grand tourer, the stirring dynamism of a high-performance sports car, and virtually everything in-between.

You'll Like This Car If...

If a distinctive sports car with a near-perfect balance of performance and comfort sounds enticing, place the 2012 Jaguar XK at the top of your list. The most challenging component of your purchase is choosing between the open-air freedom of the convertible or the streamlined good looks and added rigidity of the coupe.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If razor-sharp handling and visceral feedback are prerequisites for your next sports car, you will find the Jaguar XK comes up short. We recommend the Porsche 911 or the considerably less expensive Chevrolet Corvette to sufficiently arouse your senses. Moreover, the XK's appealing upfront cost is offset by notoriously low residual values.

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Jaguar XK series adds a new 550-horsepower XKR-S variant to the top of the roster. Changes to the base XK and sporty XKR include a restyled front end with revised headlights and LED running lights. Similarly, the interior receives a slight refresh, with upgraded materials and a rear backup camera as standard on every trim level.

Driving It Driving Impressions

Apart from the range-topping XKR-S, the Jaguar XK is more of a grand tourer than a pure sports car. Unlike a dedicated sports car, the XK's harmonious blend of performance and luxury provides a substantial measure of adaptability. The silky and powerful V8 emits a throaty, enthusiastic rumble. It works well with the 6-speed automatic transmission, which delivers quick, smooth shifts. The stability and traction control systems tolerate a suitable amount of latitude before taking the reins, while the nicely weighted steering and adaptive suspension system deliver remarkable ride comfort as well as handling prowess. On the down side, some driver sightlines are blocked, especially in the convertible with the top up, and the navigation display can wash out in bright sunlight. All things considered, however, the Jaguar XK is a beautiful cruiser that you'll undoubtedly love to drive.

Favorite Features

A MYRIAD OF COMBINATIONS
Resorting to the aftermarket for individual expression is a superfluous matter with the Jaguar XK. With 18 exterior paint finishes, seven interior trims, nearly a half dozen wheel choices and four interior color schemes, you can custom tailor your XK to suit your individual taste.

BOWERS & WILKINS SURROUND SOUND
Not all premium audio systems are created equal. Dazzlingly high speaker counts and wattage outputs topping the quadruple-digit mark look impressive on paper, but the final word in sound quality is ultimately determined by the listener. Much in the way moms prefer Jiff peanut butter, choosey audiophiles choose Bowers & Wilkins.

Vehicle Details Interior

While it may not share the same level of architectural sophistication as the XJ flagship, the Jaguar XK's interior feels particularly upscale with a pleasing mix of contrast-stitched leather overlays and polished hardwoods. The analog controls are straightforward and intuitive, though most interior functions are operated via the frustratingly lethargic touchscreen interface. Comfort, on the other hand, is top-notch. The 16-way adjustable front seats provide endless arrangements and strike a pleasing balance between plush and firm support. Cramming two adults into the rear seats might pass for cruelty, but luggage or small children will fit fine. The coupe's hatchback design affords a slightly larger cargo area than the convertible, where top-down driving further trims overall trunk space.

Exterior   photo

The XK's short rear deck and extended nose combine to produce a contemporary interpretation of Jaguar's legendary E-Type. The XKR distinguishes itself from the regular XK with exclusive wheels and quad exhaust outlets, with the XKR-S featuring gunmetal-painted wheels, a ventilated hood, unique bodywork, and a carbon-fiber rear spoiler. Convertible variants include a power soft top that can be raised or lowered in less than 18 seconds and is operational at speeds up to 15 mph.

Notable Standard Equipment

Functional and fashionable, the 2012 Jaguar XK comes predictably well equipped. Customers can choose from aluminum or a variety of wood trims to go with the rich leather upholstery. Aiding passenger comfort is a dual-zone climate-control system with humidity control and 16-way power front seats that are both heated and cooled. Tech features consist of bi-xenon headlights, a rather outdated DVD-based navigation system with a 7-inch touch screen and a 525-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio system. The Convertible has self-deploying roll hoops for added protection in the event of a rollover.

Notable Optional Equipment

With so much standard equipment, the XK offers very few options. An Advanced Technology Package comes with Active Front Lighting that points into turns and Adaptive Cruise Control that maintains a safe following distance from traffic ahead. Stand-alone options include HD Radio, a heated windshield for icy climates, 19- and 20-inch wheels and aluminum interior trim.

Under the Hood

All 2012 Jaguar XK models are powered by a 5.0-liter all-aluminum V8. This smooth and sophisticated engine features direct fuel injection and variable camshaft timing to produce 385 horsepower in base form, while the supercharged XKR and XKR-S up the ante to 500 and 550 horsepower, respectively. The responsive 6-speed ZF automatic transmission has a sport mode that delivers quick upshifts and downshifts and can be manually shifted via a pair of steering-wheel-mounted paddles. The gearbox also incorporates a throttle-blipping feature to smooth transitions on downshifts and enhance vehicle stability.

5.0-liter V8
385 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
380 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg (coupe), 16/22 mpg (convertible)

5.0-liter supercharged V8
510 horsepower @ 6,000-6,500 rpm
461 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg (coupe), 15/22 mpg (convertible)

5.0-liter supercharged V8
550 horsepower @ 6,000-6,500 rpm
502 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg (coupe), 15/22 mpg (convertible)

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2012 Jaguar XK coupe starts just north of $85,000, while the XK convertible starts at closer to $91,000. Those prices make the XK a few thousand dollars more expensive than the Porsche 911 Carrera, but considerably less than the Mercedes-Benz SL550. As a special order, limited production car, the XKR-S commands a lofty $133,000 sticker price. To see actual transaction prices for the 2012 Jaguar XK in your area, be sure to check KBB's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. While Jaguar residual values have historically been significantly below those of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, buyers who favor Jaguar's style and spirit might be inclined to buy the XK in spite of the steeper depreciation they may endure at trade-in time.

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