The Auto Trader expert verdict:
This beautiful Jaguar XK convertible offers a classic mix of high performance, elegance and wind-in-the-hair cruising. It’s as comfortable being a boulevard cruiser as it is a sports car.
Reasons to buy:
- Great performance
- Brilliant handling, without being a boneshaker
- Beautifully styled
How good does it look?
The Jaguar XK convertible is a classically designed car. Its long bonnet conceals a suitably large engine, and its wide rear haunches point clearly to the fact this model is only available with rear-wheel drive. It couldn’t be more different from rivals like the bug-shaped Porsche 911 or techno-fest Nissan GT-R.
What's the interior like?
The same rear-wheel drive layout which influences the exterior also has a major impact on the cabin. That’s because the central transmission tunnel runs through its centre, cocooning the driver and passenger between it and the doors. It gives the Jag a reassuringly solid feel, even though it’s extremely low compared with most other road traffic. The dials and switches are attractive and since its 2009 facelift, interior materials have been upgraded and the rising central gear selector knob has been carried over from the Jaguar XF.
How practical is it?
Very few sports convertibles offer great practicality, and the Jaguar XK Convertible is no exception. At best it can carry a couple of sets of golf clubs or enough luggage for a weekend trip, because its 285 litre boot (a Ford Fiesta has 295 litres) is wide and shallow, making it better suited to soft bags than rigid suitcases. The XK is described as a 2+2, but really its rear seats are too small to be used as such, and will more often accommodate some more soft bags on longer trips. Visibility is surprisingly good, but parking is never that easy in a low car with a long bonnet.
What's it like to drive?
One advantage Jaguar has over most of its competition is the fact all its cars – XK convertible included – are designed, tested and built in Warwickshire, a stone’s throw from some of Britain’s best roads. Drive the XK Convertible and this is immediately felt through the crisp steering, the exquisite body control and the amazing level of comfort. The Jaguar XK series proves that fast cars don’t have to be boneshakers. Adaptive suspension monitors the car and road 500 times per second and firms or softens each corner of the car accordingly for the best blend of ride and handling. Unlike many convertibles, its ultra-stiff and lightweight aluminium body makes it just as good to drive as the XK coupe.
How powerful is it?
The Jaguar XK convertible is powered by a 385bhp, 5-litre V8 which purrs at low speeds, then snarls and crackles as each gear is shifted into the next by the slick six-speed automatic gearbox. Gear changes are taken care of automatically or through steering wheel-mounted paddles, and get more aggressive when Dynamic mode is chosen through the JaguarDrive Selector. The 0-62mph dash is dispatched in 5.6 seconds. It’s a lovely, smooth engine which sounds even better with the roof stowed, but the Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet has it licked for outright acceleration.
How much will it cost me?
With a 5-litre petrol V8 under the bonnet it’s no surprise the XK Convertible is pricey to run. But, it’s perhaps not as bad as you might think, averaging 25.2mpg if you forgo the supercharger, which reduces this figure to 23mpg. CO2 emissions of 264 to 292g/km place every XK in the highest tax band. The most economical Porsche 911 Cabriolet can average 27.2mpg.
How reliable is it?
The XK has been subject to a few VOSA recalls, including one in August 2010 involving the XF saloon as well, served for a potential engine cut out. In 2008, almost 5,000 cars were recalled for a possible airbag failure. However, don’t expect any issues with the XK during day-to-day running. It’s built impeccably and using electric parts shared across the Jaguar and Land Rover brands. Jaguar dealer service is reputedly excellent, too.
How safe is it?
Like most expensive convertibles the Jaguar XK hasn’t been tested by EuroNCAP, although it’s littered with safety kit. It even has a pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians on impact. Front, side and curtain airbags are standard, as are adaptable electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes.
How much equipment do I get?
All XKs are well-equipped, including all the kit a high flyer could possibly need. The higher level Portfolio model is more about adding luxury than equipment and features a greater combination of leather, stitching and trim options. That said, it does get bigger 20-inch wheels and an ear-shattering Bowers & Wilkins stereo upgrade. It’s priced very competitively with the Porsche 911 and BMW 6 Series, and has a longer standard spec sheet than either rival.
The Jaguar XK convertible is a modern take on a traditional sports car recipe and has lots of charm. It’s effortlessly quick, comfortable and looks beautiful.