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.

A poster by Durham Constabulary
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
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

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine