It might look a little familiar, this somewhat evolutionary restyle of XK8 into XK, but this is pretty much an all-new car with a bodyshell of lightweight aluminium rather than steel.
The stiffest structure in the class provides a firm basis for the XK’s sophisticated suspension, while its safety systems, co-developed with Volvo, are said to be class-leading. The engine is a 4.2-litre V8, as before, but it’s slightly more powerful and shackled to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifts and a (clever) ‘Sport’ mode. The interior is completely restyled, vastly more modern (and tasteful) and provides room up front too. Bur rear seat space, and the boot, remain confined.
What’s it like?
You know this car is different as soon as you hear it – the twin exhausts spit out an alluring mix of V8 race-car crackle and throb. The racier sounds aren’t inappropriate either – this car is far more deft on the road than the old XK8, easier to drive hard and more rewarding when you do it. It’s doesn’t ride quite as well, but this is small price to pay. The XK is a sophisticated, well-engineered and civilised GT car – and an entertaining one too.
Should I buy one?
If you can live with two seats – the rear pair are for small kids – and want something less lairy than a 911 this could be the car. It’s an excellent all-rounder, unusually nimble thanks to its low weight, and more economical than most in the class for the same reason. Both Convertible and Coupe are well sorted, though slightly pricier than we’re used to from Jaguar.