These are the first official pictures of Jaguar's all-new XK, which will make its first public outing at the Frankfurt motor show in September and goes on sale early next year. Prices for the new coupé will be announced at the beginning of 2006, and both convertible and supercharged versions will follow later in the year.
Its makers claim that this is the most technically advanced Jaguar ever built, despite styling by Jaguar design director Ian Callum that is clearly an evolution of the nine year-old current XK's, adding cues from the legendary E-type such as the bonnet power bulge and practical hatchback. Under the skin the chassis uses the same aluminium monocoque structure technology as the XJ saloon, which keeps weight down to an impressive 1595kg and boosts power-to-weight by 10 per cent over the old car.
The current car's 4.2-litre 300bhp AJ-V8 engine remains, driving the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles giving the option of manual shifts. Jaguar claims the new car will hit 60mph from rest in 5.9sec (0.2sec faster than the current car) on its way to an electronically-limited 155mph maximum.
The lightweight structure combines with a body that Jaguar claims is 31 per cent stiffer than the old car's should help the new car provide a more sporting drive, with safety features including stability and traction control, ABS, brakeforce distribution and hydraulic brake assist.
Longer, wider and higher than the cramped outgoing model, the new XK should make a better job of providing comfortable 2+2 seating, and the cabin features a fashionable push-button start and a touch-screen display to controls navigation, climate and the sound system.
Other innovations include keyless entry, active headlights, electronic parking brake, adaptive cruise, run-flat tyres and tyre pressure monitoring, but perhaps of most interest it the deployable bonnet, which raises to cushion pedestrians in case of impact.
You can read full technical details and see our exclusive pictures of the new Jaguar in the next issue of Autocar, on sale Tuesday, and look out for footage of the XK on the road here at autocar.co.uk next week.