March 30, 2013

2013 Jaguar XK Touring Convertible

I drove a Jag. 

Can you see the cone?  Maybe it's time to have your vision checked?
Jaguar has been known recently for making luxurious, powerful, and refined sedans, but their most iconic models have always been coupes and convertibles.

Jaguar is most known for the E-type.  In the 60’s you weren’t somebody, unless you owned an E-type.  The car was a huge success at the Geneva Auto Show when it debuted.  This was back when the media could take test drives of the new models at the auto shows.  The one E-type model at the show was booked so quickly that a Jaguar employee drove through the night to bring a second one. 

This is the same model that was owned by the likes of Sinatra and it really doesn’t matter who else.  If Sinatra had one, you know it’s cool. 

Seeing an E-type now still gets my motor running…  They are such beautiful cars and Jag has started to bring the same design lines back to their more recent models.

The latest two door convertible from Jag, the F-type, is coming in June to Kansas City.  I’m just happy that there will be F-types in town, just like I’m happy that I know there are multiple Mercedes SLS’s in town.

I never turn down a test drive.  Aristocrat invited me to drive some Jags.  I assumed it would be the XF, which is their full size sedan that can be had with all-wheel drive and a supercharged V6 engine.  I thought that would be a really nice car to drive.  I never found out if it was any good.

I drove a Jaguar XK Touring Convertible instead.  When I first arrived, this is the car that I was immediately drawn towards.  Who wouldn’t be?  Only hippies, Prius owners, and people who don’t like good things would not be attracted to this car.

Base Price: $85,000
As Tested: $87,375
Engine: 5.0L V8, 385 horsepower
Transmission: 6-Speed Shiftable Automatic
Curb Weight: 3,924 pounds
Wheelbase: 108.3 inches
MPG Rating: 16 city/22 highway

The exterior lines are gorgeous on all of the new Jags, but the XK has the best of the best.  Sweeping hips and rounded edges give away to sharp details and a classic feel.  The front end looks like it’s built for performance, but in the “I’ve made this as pretty as I can without giving up performance” kind of way.

I could just look at this car for hours.  I want to drive it by buildings with reflective windows, so I could just see it more.

The XK is powered by a 5.0L V8 that produces 385 horsepower.  385 doesn’t sound like much in the arms race that is Horsepower Wars.  The Internet is full of 1,000 horsepower cars drag racing or running standing miles.  Our sense of what is powerful is off.  385 horsepower is more than enough power.  The XK is quick and sounds great.

The engine combines with an exhaust note that made me want to lower the convertible roof on a cold day.  It is a sexy sound.  The overrun pops when you’re just revving the engine.  Watch this short clip, it sounds great.

The XK’s ride is comfortable and smooth, but it also felt lively and responsive.  In race mode, the XK felt planted.  I drove the XK on a short autocross course and was quicker each time through.  The salesman, who is more comfortable with the car, set faster times around the course.  We did not turn off the traction control or the stability control, which came in handy around the corners.  On the tight corners when I went to apply power, the electronic aids would wait a little and then feed in the power.  It made me feel safe that I wouldn’t ruin such a gorgeous car. 

The interior has four seats, but this is a car for two.  This car screams for the open road, long road trips, and even romantic getaways.  The cabin design is comforting and relaxed.

The gear shift knob is down on the center console and it's gorgeous.
The driver and front passenger seats have side bolsters if aggressive driving is in the plans.  The side bolsters were not as invasive as the Focus ST’s Recaro seats, but they did support me around the tight corners. 

The infotainment system in the Jag is of adequate size.  I did not spend much time playing with the navigation or the stereo.  I set the climate control to 72, turned on my seat heater, and attacked the road.

The road noise with the roof up is astonishing.  It’s astonishing because there is so little.  I haven’t driven many luxury convertibles.  But this is the quietest coupe I’ve driven.  That includes convertibles, hard top convertibles, and two door coupes.  On the highway the ride of the XK was great, but the feeling inside the cabin was one of peace and tranquility.  This is my second favorite part of this car. The exhaust wins. 

This is the first time I’ve driven a Jaguar and I’m really glad I made the time.  It was a blast to drive.  The mpg’s are slightly better than my daily driver too.  It’s hard to get worse mpg than a 6.0L V8…

Please go visit Aristocrat Motors if you are even slightly interested in Jaguar’s.  Maybe even stop in if you haven’t seen what Jaguar has to offer in the last couple of decades.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.  E-mail Drew Frisbie if you have questions.  He tried to make me sick on the autocross course, but the electronic aids on the XK kept defeating him.

Thank you for reading.

Now, where did I put my pass to the go kart track?  To the track!

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