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Although a premium brand, Jaguar has always served as a less expensive alternative to even more premium brands like Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin. So while the Jaguar XK isn't cheap, its price looks attractive when compared to the similar Aston Martin DB9.
There are four models in the XK lineup: the base XK and XK Touring share a naturally-aspirated 385-horsepower version of Jaguar's 5-liter V8, which sends power to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Each will sprint to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and return 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. The pricier XKR and XKR-S each employ a turbocharger to wring 510 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque from the 5-liter engine.
New for 2013, the entire XK lineup receives 20-inch wheels as standard equipment. Though this Jag is not small -- it has an overall length of 188.7-inches -- the aluminum architecture allows for a light and agile feel on the road. It rides just as comfortable on the open highway as on a curvy back-road, thanks to a highly tuned suspension. The interior has seats trimmed in soft-leather and a long list of standard features, many of which are not found in competing base models. However, the back seat of this British import is cramped, even for a two-door sports car.
The XK is nicely equipped in its base form, having features commonly exclusive to top-level trims. Audio is provided by a Bowers & Wilkins 14-speaker system with Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound. Seating surfaces are wrapped in a soft grain leather also found on the instrument trim, door panels and steering wheel. In addition, the steering wheel is heated and mounted with audio and cruise controls. Each front seat is heated and cooled, plus 16-way power adjustable. Base XK models roll on 20-inch alloy wheels and are equipped with HID headlights accented by LED running lights. Adaptive Front Lighting with a 15-degree headlight rotation is available for better illumination around a road's bends and corners.
Costing less than the base XK, the XK Touring provides customers who are price-conscious with a chance to enjoy the thrill of a Jaguar. Using the same powertrain as the base, the XK Touring removes or replaces a few options to reduce the MSRP. For instance, the XK Touring does not have the Bowers & Wilkins audio system found in the base XK, instead using a Jaguar system with a single-disc CD player. The front seats have a sport-inspired design, 10-way power and a bond grain leather-trim. The exterior is equipped with an aerodynamic package for improved efficiency and the wheels are 19-inch alloys. The steering wheel is power-adjustable and features automatic tilt-away for easy entry and exit.
Able to hit 60 mph in only 4.6 seconds, the XKR puts 510-horsepower in front of the driver's foot. Fuel efficiency, while not a bright spot, is not dismal at 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. Helping the forced-induction engine move air more efficiently, the exhaust utilizes a quad tailpipe design that complements the XKR's aggressive styling. A high-performance braking system is better suited to handle the power of the supercharged engine. As part of the Jaguar R styling kit, hood louvers have a "Supercharged" script. The front fascia, headrests and steering wheel are all embossed with an "R" logo. A Bower & Wilkins audio system comes with standard HD radio.
With 40 more horsepower than the XKR, the XKR-S can hit 186 mph and go from 0 to 60mph in as little as 4.2 seconds. Performance upgrades include revised springs and dampers that lead to a 10-millimeter ride-height reduction, and adaptive driving dynamics tuned specifically for the XKR-S. The forged 20-inch alloy wheels are finished in a matte dark gray that creates a sportier appearance. To complement the dark wheels, a gloss black finish is applied to the window surrounds, trunk lid, front grille and side vents. XKR-S models weigh less thanks to the carbon fiber front splitter, rear air diffuser and rear spoiler. More features exclusive to the XKR-S include a leather headliner and stainless steel pedals.
Upscale and modern features but has a relatively small trunk
Offers thrilling driving experience with less interior luxury
Outperforms the XK in many aspects, but with a six-digit MSRP
More power for the money though it lacks luxury refinements