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Jaguar XK8

The first new Jaguar sports car in 21 years is a visual masterpiece. The XK8's long, lovely snout, reminiscent of the E-type sports cars from the 1960s, charms you immediately. While its curvaceous, graceful flanks also mimic Jags of the past, the overall look is distinctly modern.

Both coupe and convertible versions are offered, although the convertible is the best looking. Prices start at $64,900 for the coupe and $69,900 for the convertible, about $7,000 more than the XJS. Not cheap, but less than competitors from Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Under the hood, an all-new aluminum, 4.0-liter, twin-cam V8 with 290 horsepower waits to do your bidding. While a V8 is not the usual fare for Jaguar, known in the past for its silken V12s and twin-cam six-cylinders, this powerplant is as sweet as English jam. Toe the throttle and the engine responds with a creamy smooth power delivery. Punch it and you're rewarded with acceleration that is satisfying but not as brutal, say, as the new Corvette.

Getting in and out requires ducking to miss the low top. Some folks complained about bumping their heads. According to Jaguar, about 7000 XK8's will be available for sale this year. Considering its sharp looks and powerful V8, I expect them to be sold quickly as buyers rejoice at again having a new English sports car.

It's great to have a new Jag sports car. The XK8 is thoroughly modern with its aluminum V8, traction control, anti-lock brakes and 5-speed automatic transmission. Traditional wood and leather dominate the interior, and the top is absolutely effortless.

Vehicle Type:

front-engine, rear-drive 2+2 sport coupe/convertible

Base Price:

coupe, $64,900; convertible, $69,900

Engine Type:

4.0-liter, aluminium, V8

Power (SAE net):

290 bhp

Transmission:

automatic

Wheelbase:

101.9 in

Length:

187.4 in

Curb Weight:

3867 lb

EPA fuel economy, city driving:

17-24 mpg

 

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