The shock of the mostly new

John Simister previews Jaguar's attempt to update its image with the remodelled XK

That's the difficult bit. And, obviously, the ALC was a preview of how the next XK was going to be. Everyone knew the almost decade-old XK8 and XKR were ready for replacement. All that remained unanswered was how much of the ALC's design would make it to production.

Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, May 2005: a secret gathering of motoring writers sees the new XK in pre-production form. First it passes by at a distance, its V8 engine sounding encouragingly racy, then it arrives in the courtyard. It's very much like the ALC, but with round front foglights and a toning-down of the metallic details. The vertical air vent behind the front wheels remains, however, its simplicity spoilt by an afterthought badge.

Some eyebrows are raised at the complexity of the light lenses, both front and rear. The idea is to provide a talking point, which is certainly achieved.

Goodwood Festival of Speed, July 2005: the same XK makes a fleeting public appearance in a run up Goodwood's hill-climb. The reaction is very positive.

Now, just before the Frankfurt Motor Show, we can reveal more details of the new XK, which goes on sale next March in coupé and convertible versions. These will have 4.2-litre V8 engines, delivering a useful 298bhp. A 3.5-litre V8, plus a supercharged V8 for the XKR version, will follow in 2007.

One of the XK's key points is its weight. At 1,595kg it's 120kg lighter than the outgoing XK and 190kg lighter than its Mercedes-Benz SL500 rival. It achieves this with its bonded, riveted and welded aluminium construction. The benefits are clear: the coupé is claimed to reach 60mph from a standstill in 5.9 seconds, just half a second longer than the outgoing XKR.

The bodyshell is 30 per cent stiffer, too, which should give a tauter, sportier drive without spoiling the ride comfort. This should be as true of the convertible as of the coupé.

"We designed the structure as a convertible," says the engineering guru Mike Cross, "then added the coupé parts."

Thanks to new pedestrian-protection legislation, there has to be an absorbent space between the bonnet and the top of the engine, which is leading to some bulbous-nosed new cars. Not the XK; using fibre-optic sensor technology to detect an unfortunate pedestrian, it flips up the rear edge of its bonnet by 170mm on two airbags.

The overall shape is still Jaguar-curvy, but there are definite edges . The corners are heavily chamfered, too, which reduces the impression of weighty overhang when you see the XK from an angle, Instead, the body seems to end just beyond the wheels.

Inside, textured aluminium is the standard decoration with two types of wood as options. The cabin has room for two small children. The gear selector - all XKs will be six-speed automatics - no longer moves in a "J-gate" and there are paddles on the steering wheel for manual selection. As in the Aston Martin DB9, the transmission blips the accelerator during a downshift to give a smoother, racier shift.

Sounds good so far. Read the truth in next February's road test.

Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Nemanja Matic holds the Capital One Cup with Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th-century cartographer created the atlas
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Associate Sales Consultant

    £16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Associate Sales Consultant i...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established and expanding ...

    Recruitment Genius: Water Jetting / HGV Driver - Industrial Services

    £14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Skilled Labouring staff with id...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Executive - OTE £30,000

    £16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Salary: £16k - £20k Dependant o...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot