THE 2012 JAGUAR XK CONVERTIBLE REVIEW
Full Review by Andy: A British Beauty
The seductive silhouette of the 2012 Jaguar XK Convertible should automatically makes this car a top choice for discerning buyers. The XK’s design resembles the style of cars from its fellow British automakers. But this is just where Jaguar stands apart. While $90,000 by no means classifies it as an “affordable” car, consumers buying the XK can get a similar level of design, interior quality, and features as they can on much more expensive cars from Bentley and Aston Martin.
What Does It Look Like?
Jaguar cars are automotive beauty legends, and the XK is the Elizabeth Taylor of the Jaguar lineup. Slinky, sleek, and sexy, the XK’s voluptuous lines blend traditional Jaguar cues with avant-garde sheet metal magic. For 2012, the the elliptical mesh grille and horizontal vents have been redrawn, and the headlights rimmed with LEDs. The long body appears slinky with or without the triple-lined power-retractable soft-top roof, which stows in the boot in just 18 seconds. For the price, nothing competes with Jaguar on the long red carpet.
Trappings & Trimmings
Ostentation is not appropriate in a luxury cabriolet. That’s why a Mercedes-Benz never has a batman spoiler mounted on its tail. That which is more important than flair is craftsmanship and ambiance. The Jaguar XK has both of the latter with a healthy helping of the former. Its sumptuous cabin blends the owner’s choice of leather upholstery with contrast stitching, along with seven options of wood veneers.
(Check out multiple color options on the 2012 Jaguar XK Convertible).
Packin’ a Powertrain
Same as last year, the Jaguar XK convertible is motivated by a 5.0-liter V8 garnering 385 horsepower. It is mated to a six-speed adaptive automatic with paddle shifters for manual control. As anyone who has read anything about a recent Jaguar knows, the transmission is controlled via an inset rotary dial mounted in the center console that glows and rises out the surface when the car is turned on. Fuel economy figures are better than the class average and evade the Gas Guzzler tax.
Power is cheap. A handful of aftermarket modifications can turn a $20,000 tuner in a 400-hp rally hotrod. But such performance comes with ride quality only slightly better than riding a camel’s hump. Power may be cheap, but refinement is not, and refinement is what the Jaguar offers. Even though it returns a 5.3-second 0-60 mph sprint and boasts a top speed of 155 mph, the XK floats along highway roads as smoothly as water droplets slide down silk. Four driving modes allow drivers to adjust ride comfort to their preference. Courtesy of a lightweight aluminum structure, the XK cabriolet weighs less than two tons. The double wishbone suspension and performance tires can take a tremendous whipping. While not as agile as a Porsche 911 Carrera, the Jaguar XK dances better than a Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and is comparable to a BMW 650i.
First off, I implore you to not crash a Jaguar car. Do not dent the sheet metal of the XK. But if there are too many pedestrians to dodge, the XK has you covered, if not your unlucky targets. Due to the raked roofline, rear visibility is just a notch above naught, so parking sensors and a rearview camera come as standard features. Rain-sensing wipers and bi-xenon headlamps also come free of charge. Adaptive cruise control and adaptive headlights are optional.
Comfort & Cargo
Like many cabriolets, the XK suffers from a small backseat and limited headroom. Rear accommodations are best suited for short jaunts and people you don’t like. However, the XK has a sizable 11-cubic foot trunk and materials to rival a Bentley.
This is embarrassing. It’s worse than admitting that you sleep with a fluffy pink bear named Popsicle. The XK’s electronics are finicky, slow, and confusing to operate. That doesn’t cut it for 30k cars, let alone an ultra-luxury GT.
If it’s not on the base XK convertible, you don’t need it. Here are a few feature highlights:
• Heated/cooled 10-way power-adjustable front seats with leather upholstery and memory functions.
• Heated power tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
• A premium Bowers & Wilkins audio system with satellite radio, 6-CD changer and USB/iPod interface.
• A premium touchscreen navigation system.
• Power-folding and autodimming exterior mirrors.
In the industry, the XK is considered a value proposition.
1. The unlimited top speed of the base XK is 158 mph.
2. The XK is Jaguar’s range-topping grand tourer.
3. A Black Pack package is available for those with gothic aesthetic taste.
Move over, Bentley. It’s Jaguar’s time.
Engine: 5.0-liter V8
Horsepower & Torque: 385 hp @6,500 rpm,380 lb-ft of torque @3,500 rpm
Transmission: six-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Economy: 16/22/18 mpg
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