Jaguar XK V8 Coupe

Thursday, 23 September 2010
Comparing the brand new 5.0-litre V8 Jaguar XK V8 Coupe to the outgoing model would be like comparing gold to wood. Power has been increased by 26% to 283kW and torque has risen by a staggering 100Nm.

To the untrained eye, the exterior of Jaguar’s latest update looks much the same. Upon closer inspection of the front end, avid fans will find new gills, more chrome and restyled headlights.

At the rear the taillights have been rejuvenated by virtue of LED lights styled to give the XK an aggressive new look. The side panel gets a vertical breather slat that integrates the Jaguar nameplate.

Inside the cabin, a restyled interior mimics the flowing lines and gadgetry of the XK’s more sedate XF sibling. The rising gear lever and updated control system now also grace the XK.

The seats feel sportier than the outgoing XK and come with an adjustable side bolster to hold the driver in tight. In addition to being heated, the seats are now cooled via ducts in the base and back of the seat.

525W of Bowers and Wilkins audio brings music to the ears. High output Kevlar mid-range speakers and specially designed aluminium dome tweeters work in unison with a sub-woofer to emit a sound to match the car’s stellar exhaust note.

Jaguar’s new 5.0-litre V8 features 32-valves and is mated to a ZF Sachs 6HP28 six-speed automatic gearbox. The gearbox can be controlled by paddle shifters on the steering wheel, or by simply selecting the ‘D’ or ‘S’ mode (Sport) modes on the gear selector.

You will be guaranteed to have tingles running down your spine the first time you hear the new XK V8 Coupe turn over. A slightly hesitant starter motor fires all eight cylinders to life, offering a bevy of exhaust rumble from the rear.

Stationary exhaust note is equally as impressive inside the cabin. Tap the throttle at idle and the V8 makes its presence known by barking back at you.

The exhaust note only gets better as the revs rise. The active exhaust system continuously adjusts butterfly valves at the rear, increasing the veracity of the note based upon speed and throttle input.

In traffic, the Jaguar XK V8 Coupe is fairly easy to place. The long nose is visible and the blind spot behind the drivers head is nowhere near as bad as some of its competitors. Large wing mirrors with excellent coverage help survey spots in traffic missed by head checks.

Parking is easy courtesy of front and rear parking sensors. The front parking sensors are especially useful as the front end of the XK sits quite low. Ripping the front end off on a gutter would be far from pleasing.

If you were to drive the old XK back to back with the new XK, you would be staggered at the massive difference. The new Jaguar XK V8 Coupe feels alive and ready to take on anything thrown at it.

Steering response is far sharper with weight now increased, on top of accuracy. The sports steering wheel sits nicely in the hand and is easy to manoeuvre while driving tight and twisty sections of road.

The front end of the car sits extremely flat on turn-in to a corner. If you bury the throttle on the way out, the sizeable 285mm rear tyres offer no remorse and not even a hint of letter go. The composure and positive attitude of the drivetrain is to be commended.

The brakes are relentless and do an excellent job of bringing the 1660kg Jaguar XK V8 Coupe to an abrupt halt. Brake pedal feel is perfectly linear with a slightly firm brake pedal.

ZF Sachs is known for its excellent gearboxes. The 6HP28 six-speed automatic gearbox fitted to the Jaguar XK V8 Coupe is no exception. If you feel adventurous enough to swap cogs on your own via the paddle shifters on the steering wheel, you do so at your own peril, as the ‘S’ (Sport) mode takes care of everything in tremendous fashion.

The Sport mode will hold gears and blip on downshifts to offer the most from the driving experience.

Jaguar’s official fuel consumption figure of 11.2L/100km was seemingly out of reach when I started the road test. I didn’t believe the car could get anywhere near that figure.

Much to my surprise it managed to come in at 12.1L/100km with a mix of highway and city driving.
Starting at $224,200, the Jaguar XK V8 Coupe is an excellent proposition for the buyer after a car with style, elegance and a bark to match its bite.

While it won’t set the world on fire in terms of straight line acceleration, it will most certainly impress every step along the way.

The only downside is that the supercharged XK-R that produces almost 100kW more at 375kW is just $25,000 more.

It’s hard to imagine why you wouldn’t go the whole hog and couple hair raising performance with mind blowing style and an exhaust note to match. – Paul Maric

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