The All New 2007 Jaguar XK

Of course, you can keep the roof up on your new 2007 XK Convertible from Jaguar Scottsdale/Land Rover Scottsdale. But, assisted by hydraulic actuators and electronic controls, Jaguar engineers boast you can drop the triple-layer top in about 18 seconds Open up, then, to azure desert skies and Arizona sun, easily sliding the fabric under a color-keyed aluminum tonneau cover. Then open this car up.

“The all-new XK was designed from the outset to be a beautiful convertible. It is a statement of confident Jaguar design, elegant as well as powerful and with the performance and driving dynamics to match its looks,” says Jaguar’s design director, Ian Callum.

Aluminum, light and strong, comprises the body of the aerospace-inspired XK Convertible and its sister Coupe — both described by the British automaker as heralding a new age of sophisticated fast vehicles. Inspired by aircraft industry methods, Jaguar introduced the aluminum body structures to this country on its full-size XJ sedan in 2004.

This tight, taut wrapping recalls the original XKs and the C, D and E-types. A functional vertical side vent in each front fender is topped by a discreet Jaguar badge that helps break up the panel’s fluid expanse — if such beauty needs to be broken.

Lighter and stronger than its predecessors and competitors, the new convertible weighs in at a very svelte 3,759 pounds. This benefits both handling and fuel efficiency, with averages at about 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

Jaguar also says that you can expect a 31 percent improvement in torsional stiffness in contrast to the previous steel-bodied XK8 convertible, first introduced in 1996. A Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) measures such aspects as pitch and yaw, steering wheel angle and brake demand, then immediately adjusts all four shocks independently. A Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) helps the new ragtop hug corners, like wrestler on foe. In addition, Servotronic 2 speed-sensitive steering optimizes low-speed maneuvering and high-speed feedback.

The new Jag combines pedigree and legendary craftsmanship with technology and design innovations. “The new XK is lighter, stronger, faster, more nimble — and even better to look at,” says Joshua J. Jewett, sales manager for Jaguar Scottsdale/LandRover Scottsdale, where an unoptioned car starts at about $81,500. “We call it ‘Gorgeous.’”

This is not just a gorgeous grand tourer, though — not your father’s Jag. With the aluminum cladding, this 21st century version aims at sports car exhilaration, zipping and handling with the best of luxury performance rides. The coupe and convertible carry the all-alloy quad overhead camshaft 4.2-liter V8 engine, which whips out 300 brake horsepower and 310 pounds of torque —with more than 85 percent of maximum torque delivering from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm. Fuel injection and Variable Camshaft Phasing (VCP) also underscore this is no house cat; the car registers a 10 percent improvement in power-to-weight ratio beyond the previous generation XK coupe and convertible.

Mated to this is the all-new sequential-shifting six-speed automatic transmission, with steering wheel-mounted paddles for incredibly quick — 400 milliseconds between shifts — gear changes. The new system features Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Sport modes. The fully automatic Drive mode adapts to individual driving styles, while the Sport Auto offers a more responsive pattern, utilizing the automatic blip of the throttle to maintain ultra-smooth shifts.

A two-stage muffler adds to the music. “What gets to me is the way the vehicle sounds,” Jewett says. “When on the throttle, this is no mere purr but rather a true roar from the new fast cat.”

Manufactured and assembled at Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant in the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom, the new XK Convertible should propel you nimbly and effortlessly from standstill to 60 mph in about 6.0 seconds; that’s a very respectable quarter mile of around 14.5 seconds — less than half a second off the pace of the previous 390 bhp supercharged model.

For extended scampers, this Jag will reach 155 miles per hour when the electronic limiter will automatically rein in the horses. After all, you don’t want to deploy the vehicle’s roll-over protection system, in which two hidden aluminum hoops, in 60 milliseconds, pierce the rear window to create a shield between the car’s steeply raked windshield and the rear of the cabin.

Commensurate whoa to such go comes from larger, ventilated discs that provide optimum stopping distances and resist fade and overheating. Tested at the Nürburgring test track in Germany, the system can stop the car in just 113 feet from 60 mph. The system includes four-channel ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, and Hydraulic Brake Assist to increase brake pressure during an emergency stop. This ABS can vary the brake pressure at each wheel using analogue valves in the hydraulic control unit. This gives more refinement to the hydraulic pressure control and allows drivers to benefit from increased steering input during heavy braking. Standard are 18-inch, flared-spoke alloy wheels, but you order up to 20-inchers as well as run-flats.

Enhancing the sophisticated driving experience are features such as keyless entry, push button start and a new optional active front lighting, enhancing the bi-xenon standard system. The Jaguar Smart Key System, for example, provides keyless start and keyless entry just by carrying the Jaguar Smart Key in your pocket, case or bag.

In addition, you’ll enjoy a Tire Pressure Monitoring System; Jaguar’s Protec dynamic headrest system to protect against whiplash injuries; Forward Alert, which uses the optional Adaptive Cruise Control system’s forward-facing sensors to scan the road ahead 10 times every second to warn of a potential collision; and the new switchable TRAC DSC Dynamic Stability Control with Traction Control System.

“The XK may be the epitome of sporting elegance but it is also a true driver’s car in which we have managed to combine a very special balance of superb driving dynamics and comfort,” Jaguar’s chief engineer, Mike Cross, says.

Spacious and elegant sports, the spacious 2+2-style cabin confidently reiterates Jaguar’s long-time dedication to craftsmanship and innovation. Clients sold the British carmaker they didn’t want a folding metal roof because it would steroidize the car’s cute rear end. What’s more, in the trunk, if you stow the retractable load-space separator, you pick up three cubic feet of storage space when you raise the roof. Inside, more space results from the fact that the car has a wheelbase 6.4 inches longer than that of its predecessor, with a taller roofline as well.

To raise the roof inside, Jaguar offers an optional Alpine Dolby Pro-logic II 525-watt surround sound system and Sirius satellite radio. To keep in touch, there’s a Standard Bluetooth® wireless technology for mobile phones on all models. And to keep in touch with your car, a high-resolution screen based on thin-film transistor technology provides a 256-color display showing your gear selection, cruise control information, low tire-pressure warnings and satellite navigation instructions. A centrally mounted 7-inch touch-screen allows you to hand-tune climate, audio, navigation, telephone and vehicle-personalization settings.

Contrasting with all this Buck Rogers/Star Wars is traditional Jaguar plush: appointments in honey-toned burl walnut, poplar or brushed aluminum and stitched leather for the ergonomic body-hugging seats.

Is this new Jag rag a throaty reiteration of the standards set by the company’s founder, Sir William Lyons, so many years ago: “grace, space and pace”? Is it firmly queued with the original E-Type and the XKE as a head-turning, history-making legend?

England thinks so: “There’s no fat in this car,” says Callum, well known for his Aston Martin stylings: “It’s an athlete: clean lines, a purposeful stance and exquisite proportions.”

Scottsdale agrees: “When people hear the XK pull up, they stop and stare,” Jewett notes. “Everyone watches what Gorgeous does.”

Jaguar Scottsdale | (480) 421-3340