The standard XK has a 380bhp 5.0-litre V8, while the XKR and XKR-S use supercharged versions of this engine that produce 503bhp and 542bhp respectively. Even the XK delivers scorching performance, while the supercharged models are simply staggering. Although mere figures can’t begin to convey the intensity of the acceleration when you crush the accelerator to the floor, we can tell you that blasting from 0-60mph takes 5.6 seconds in the XK and just 4.2 in the XKR-S. Get the picture?
The XK’s ride can be quite unsettled over patched-up urban roads, but it gets better with speed, where it feels firm, but nicely damped. The steering weights up nicely in bends, too, and the XK always feels like a smaller car than it is, changing direction quickly and precisely. The XKR has stiffer suspension, but its ride is still far from terrible. Only XKR-S is overly firm.
You'll love the V8 gurgle and growl, and the fact the engine is quiet when you’re cruising. Less welcome is the large amount of tyre noise that enters the cabin at speed. The automatic gearchanges are mostly smooth, although you notice them a bit more when braking hard with the gearbox in its sport setting.
This is an expensive car and it has running costs to match. So, whether bought privately or as a company car, it will cost you for the privilege of ownership - but then you wouldn’t even be contemplating it if you couldn’t afford it. Depreciation losses over three years could be over £50,000 (for the XKR-S).
Jaguar’s reliability has been impressive in recent years, and the XK’s cabin seems solid enough. Unfortunately, many of the materials feel too cheap given the XK’s hefty list price – the gearshift paddles, steering column and touch-screen surround are particularly disappointing.
The XK has a pyrotechnically triggered bonnet lid, which pops up to protect pedestrians in the event of a crash. It's the only way Jaguar could retain a sleek, low nose while providing decent protection to people on foot. The expected active and passive safety features are all present and correct, and Jaguar security is usually very good.
The XK's driving position is excellent, but the seats themselves can cause discomfort because they’re rather narrow. Likewise, the touch-screen infotainment system minimises clutter, but it’s fiddly to use on the move and hard to read in strong sunlight. A narrow rear window means that the view behind is distinctly compromised, too.
The XK has four seats, but the rear pair are so cramped and awkwardly shaped that it’s best to view them as storage space. There’s plenty of space in the front seats, with enough head-and legroom for tall adults. The hatchback tailgate gives better access than some rivals, but although the boot is long, it’s also rather shallow.
Leather upholstery, heated seats, satellite-navigation, keyless starting, Bluetooth and dual-zone climate control are all fitted as standard, but you may want to add active suspension if you opt for the standard XK (it’s standard on the XKR and XKR-S). Portfolio trim brings higher quality interior fittings.
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