Currently reading: Subtle surgery for XK sendoff

Jaguar has given its sports coupé and cabriolet one final shot in the arm before they are replaced next year. The 2004 XK gets a subtle facelift, new equipment and a minor cabin refresh.

‘The mark of a true classic is that you don’t need to tinker with it,’ claimed Jaguar chairman Joe Greenwell. ‘The 2004 XK is simply fine tuning.’

Observers will have to study the car closely at this week’s Geneva Motor Show to spot the differences. The biggest giveaway is the new, lower front bumper with a different mesh grille on the XKR, pictured above. The lower air intake has been redesigned, too. More accentuated side sills and a revised rear bumper aid the aerodynamics, although design director Ian Callum admits they also lend a ‘more aggressive’ stance. Ditto the rear spoiler, standard on all models. Completing the facelift are new wheel designs and larger exhaust tailpipes for the XK8 and quad tailpipes for the supercharged XKR.

Jaguar has also fitted its first automatic speed limiter. Drivers dial in their chosen maximum speed and the car will not accelerate beyond the chosen velocity, regardless of throttle input. However, full kickdown will over-ride it.

Greenwell said the 2003 engine upgrades were sufficient to keep the XK competitive, so the facelift was entirely cosmetic. Hence the carried-over 4.2-litre V8 in naturally aspirated 300bhp or supercharged R 400bhp forms. A six-speed auto is the only transmission choice and performance is unchanged at 155mph maximum and 0-60mph in 6.1sec and 5.2sec for XK and XKR respectively.

Prices for both new XKs have been frozen at today’s levels, starting at £50,000, running up to £65k.

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