2013 Jaguar XK XKR-S - FROM $132,000
The 2013 Jaguar XK provides the luxurious comfort expected from the legendary marque, not to mention lofty levels of performance and even decent value. It has a few quirks, but they rarely detract from a very pleasurable motoring experience.
What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Jaguar XK gets standard 20-inch wheels in place of the old 19s. There is also a new Portfolio Pack, which upgrades cabin materials and provides access to unique color combinations.
Driving the 2013 Jaguar XK is an event. You're enveloped in a snug cabin with long, narrow windows that evokes the feel of an exotic grand touring machine. The engine ignition button pulses red as if there's a heart beating within. Press it and the silky-smooth V8 engine comes to life and the rotary gear selector rises into your hand. There's not quite the level of theater as you'll find in a Jaguar sedan, but with its soft leather upholstery, copious electronic toys, sharp handling and selection of magnificent engines, there is never a shortage of entertainment on hand in the XK.
Truth be told, the Jaguar XK has always been somewhat of a forgotten pet in a kennel of sport coupes and convertibles that includes the BMW 6 Series, Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and Porsche 911. Perhaps it's the reliability issues of the past that have led the car to be overlooked, though none of the above is exactly a Honda Civic in that regard, despite dramatically improved ratings for all of them just recently. Perhaps the Jag isn't the drop-dead gorgeous looker its predecessor was, though none of the above is exactly an automotive Heidi Klum. Perhaps the XK simply got off on the wrong foot, as the appearance of its cabin and the performance of its engines weren't nearly as impressive when this car first appeared in 2007.
No matter the reason, the Jaguar XK deserves a shot now. Its finely tuned suspension delivers impressive handling, yet still manages a compliant, poised ride. The steering is similarly praiseworthy. The car's lightweight aluminum architecture not only makes the XK feel like a featherweight compared to the rather hefty 6 Series and SL-Class, but also makes life easier for the engines as well.
Not that they really needed the help. The base, naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 provides a potent 385 horsepower, while the XKR bumps things up to 510 hp. The XKR-S puts out an absolutely wild 550 hp that'll overwhelm the rear tires (and an inattentive, overly enthusiastic driver) with exuberance. All are splendidly smooth, and produce a glorious bass purr as you surge forward. (And we don't say purr just to use a pun when writing about a car named after a cat. It's just the best word to describe the sound.)
Another attractive point for the XK is its price. While the XK starts out at about the same amount of money as the 911 and a V8-powered 6 Series, both of those cars require multiple extra-cost options to match the Jag's list of standard equipment. Meanwhile, the SL-Class costs significantly more to start, although its performance, price and equipment actually line up with the XKR. Finally, when you consider that the XKR-S can better the various Aston Martins in terms of performance, the "value equation" becomes even more compelling.
Yet the 2013 Jaguar XK obviously isn't just about value. It's about the event it provides every time you slip into that driver seat and the ignition button begins pulsating. We think it's an event that's at least worth a test-drive.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Jaguar XK is available in three models that represent increasing degrees of performance: XK, XKR and XKR-S. Each is available as a coupe and convertible.
The base XK comes loaded with 20-inch wheels, an adjustable suspension, keyless ignition/entry, automatic bi-xenon headlamps, LED running lamps, rear foglamps, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and automatic wipers.
Standard interior features include leather upholstery, heated and ventilated 10-way power front seats (with adjustable bolsters and lumbar), a heated power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver and front passenger memory functions, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Electronic features include a touchscreen interface, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a 14-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The convertible adds a power-operated roof and tonneau cover. The available Advanced Technology package includes adaptive headlights and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning. HD radio is also optional.
The XKR adds a supercharged engine, different 20-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, upgraded exhaust, adaptive headlights and HD radio. The Dynamic Pack adds different 20-inch wheels, a higher top speed, a lowered ride height, an upgraded and more aggressively tuned suspension and a sport body kit. The Black Pack adds black trim to areas that would normally be bright or chrome. Stand-alone options include an upgraded exhaust and the adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning.
Optional on both the XK and XKR is the Portfolio Pack, which increases the amount of leather and grants you access to two unique interior color combinations and six exclusive paint choices.
The XKR-S adds an even more powerful supercharged engine, wider 20-inch wheels in a matte gray finish, an upgraded exhaust, a more aggressively tuned suspension, a carbon-fiber front splitter and rear aero diffuser, a partially carbon-fiber rear wing, an extensive aerodynamic body kit, heated sport seats (ventilation function removed) and unique interior trim. The Bright Pack adds some chrome exterior trim and bright polished wheels in place of the standard darker components on the XKR-S.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Jaguar XK is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 385 hp and 380 pound-feet of torque. As with every XK, rear-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic are standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. The convertible achieves 16/22/18.
More power is available from the XKR, which gets a supercharged version of the same engine to bring output up to 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, an XKR convertible went from zero to 60 mph in a very rapid 4.5 seconds (the lighter coupe would be even quicker). EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15/22/17 regardless of body style.
The 2013 Jaguar XKR-S gets a more powerful version of the supercharged 5.0-liter good for 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, the coupe went from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. This may seem to show a rather insignificant difference between the XKR-S and XKR, but the capabilities of the former's prodigious power are limited at the drag strip by traction. Believe us, it feels much quicker. Fuel economy is identical to that of the XKR.
Standard safety equipment on the 2013 XK lineup includes traction and stability control, antilock brakes and front side airbags. Side curtain airbags are not offered. The convertible adds pop-up rollover bars. In Edmunds brake testing, the XKR with 19-inch wheels and tires came to a stop from 60 mph in an excellent 111 feet. The XKR-S was about the same.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Jaguar XK's cockpit is well-tailored and inviting, with special touches here and there like the rotary gear selector that rises out of the center console upon start-up. There are some ergonomic glitches, however. The multipurpose touchscreen that operates audio, climate, navigation and phone systems has been improved in terms of response and functionality, but still isn't as user-friendly as some competing systems. Another downside involves the backseats, which are cramped even for small children. The cabin can also be a little claustrophobic given its rakish greenhouse and slim windows, being more akin to an Aston Martin than a BMW 6 Series.
The XK's power soft top takes a scant 18 seconds to lower and is well insulated for a quiet ride when deployed. The XK coupe's trunk can hold about 11 cubic feet of cargo -- much larger than the trunks in the 911 or Mercedes SL-Class and just slightly smaller than the 6 Series or Mercedes E-Class cargo holds. With the top down, the XK convertible can still hold a respectable 8 cubic feet.
It's no surprise the 2013 Jaguar XK is an impressive straight-line cruiser. The XK might not be as responsive as a Porsche 911, but it's more nimble than the latest BMW 6 Series.
The current lineup of V8 engines has created an entire new definition of Jaguar performance. Even the base XK is impressively potent, with near-instant response and a wide, muscular power band. The supercharged XKR, meanwhile, is a monster, and it can post acceleration numbers equaling some of the world's best sports cars.
If the XKR is a monster, then we're not sure what that makes the XKR-S -- some sort of Union Jack-waving Mothra, perhaps. Even the slightest throttle exuberance will set the tires spinning futilely as the traction control struggles to rein it all in. This is not a car to be taken lightly, yet its increased abilities yield a truly impressive machine. The XKR-S's overall demeanor is indeed firmer than the regular XKR's, but it's surprisingly comfortable compared to an Audi R8 or Porsche 911, and you would undertake a road trip without hesitating.