2011 Jaguar XK


2011 Jaguar XK Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Jaguar XK was new.


Performance: 8.8

Reviewers find that the Jaguar XK provides the best of both worlds. It's fast enough for weekend drives on back roads, but it has a refined suspension that makes it practical enough for driving to work or the grocery store. One reason why the 2011 XK receives such great performance reviews is because of its engine. In 2010, it got a 5.0-liter V8 that the automotive industry is still in love with.

If you decide to test drive the XK, you should know one more thing: The XK doesn’t have a typical automatic transmission. Rather than the usual gear shifter you’ll find in most cars, the XK has a rotating dial that is used to shift the transmission. Test this feature out thoroughly to see if you like it – not all reviewers do.

  • "If you're looking for one car to blast you down back roads yet coddle you during daily driving, the Jaguar is certainly worth considering." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "There's nothing to worry about, though, as the improvements made to last year's XK really sharpened up this car's performance, and the entire lineup continues to be an attractive choice among luxury sports cars." -- Edmunds
  • "The XKR is startlingly quick. Jaguar cites a zero-to-60-mph time of 4.6 seconds, and it feels that swift." -- Cars.com
  • "Another audio source we particularly enjoyed in the XK convertible was the engine, a finely engineered direct injection 5-liter V-8 producing an aggressive growl whenever we got on the gas. With 385 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, that growl was accompanied by immediate and powerful forward motion. Like its brand namesake, the XK convertible leapt forward easily.” -- CNET
  • "After driving a slew of cars with overly harsh suspensions to make them seem sportier or overly cush rides in an attempt to appear more luxurious, the rear-wheel-drive convertible's suspension hit the sweet spot in the middle for me. It was responsive and offered enough road feedback for me to feel connected to the pleasure of the sport of driving while still being smooth enough to enjoy a mundane drive to the grocery store." -- Mother Proof

Acceleration and Power

Last year, Jaguar gave the XK a new engine, a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 385 horsepower and 380 pound feet of torque. Reviewers love this engine so much that they’re still raving about it this year, calling it plenty powerful, smooth and refined. The V8 is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Paddle shifters are standard, and test drivers are glad they have this option, especially because they are so well engineered. The transmission shifts smoothly, and the paddle shifters are very responsive.

Only a few journalists crave more power on the XK, but a number mention the automatic transmission that’s operated using a knob. One reviewer had mechanical issues with the spinning dial, but the rest say that while it’s unique in comparison to the transmissions that come with most vehicles. They like the dial’s clean and simple design and say it’s easy to use.

According to the EPA, the XK coupe has a city/highway fuel economy of 16/24 mpg, while the convertible nets 15/22 mpg.

  • "We were also disappointed, but not surprised to find a few electronics issues with our Jaguar. One staffer slowed to maneuver through some bumps in the road and emerged on the other side to find that the transmission had disengaged. The twirling tranny knob still pointed at D, but the D was blinking. He rotated the knob to sport, which did nothing, and then to neutral, which did nothing. So he stopped, put the car in park and back in drive, and was only then able to continue on his way." -- Car and Driver
  • "The V8, tuned to sound like the roar of a large jungle cat, gets me every time, but I'd like this Jaguar to come standard with just a little more power. However, it does have plenty of get up and go, and probably more than a lot of buyers ever feel the need for." -- AutoWeek
  • "It certainly isn't lacking power. The direct-injection 5.0-liter V-8, which arrived for the 2010 model year, serves up a delightful 385 horsepower at 6500 rpm, and is all too happy to quickly rev away and deliver it at your right foot's beckoning call. The six-speed automatic is quick to keep that engine in the power band, but I'm more impressed with the work performed by the chassis engineers, who've dialed in an amazing blend of comfort, communicative steering while curtailing most body roll." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Its shifts are smooth and unobtrusive during leisurely motoring, but if you want to take control of the transmission you can do so with the steering-wheel paddle shifters. Pull either the downshift or upshift paddle and the transmission responds quickly; there's no waiting around for the gear change to happen, like there is with some clutchless-manual systems. Because it's so responsive, you'll probably be more inclined to use the paddles when traveling your favorite winding road." -- Cars.com
  • "Jaguar updated the interior controls of the XK convertible with the same sort of shift dial introduced in the XF sedan. This bit of techie gimmickry sits flush in the console when the car is off, rising up when the engine turns over. We found the dial intuitive to use, and it feels solid enough. Along with the usual automatic transmission settings, it includes a Sport mode that requires pressing the dial down past a detent." -- CNET
  • "The first thing I noticed when jumping into the XK convertible for the first time is the low-profile turn-dial gearshift. I love this clean, simple design. How often do you use a gearshift during a drive anyway, once to put it in Reverse, once in Drive and once in Park. This design makes it unobtrusive and keeps it out of the way. Of course, if you want to play around with the convertible's sportiness you can use the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters." -- Mother Proof

Handling and Braking

The automotive industry doesn’t have anything negative to say about the Jaguar XK’s handling: Steering is sporty and aggressive, making driving fun. Test drivers do however, say that the XK is no Porsche 911, but could easily take on the Mercedes-Benz SL.

  • “Even the steering has a unique feel to it: light and quick as in an Audi, but much more communicative." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The Jag also feels plenty sporty on a winding road. The steering is weighty but without being crass or overly sporty. Feedback is muffled somewhat, just enough so that it doesn’t trouble the driver. The same is true of the handling. Toss the XK into a bend, and it is balanced and planted but without being so stiff as to ever upset a passenger." -- Car and Driver
  • "It's no surprise the 2011 Jaguar XK is an impressive straight-line cruiser. However, the advantages of its lightweight aluminum construction and adjustable suspension become most evident when the roads get twisty and the XK carves precise lines through the corners. The XK might not be as responsive as a Porsche 911, but it's much more nimble than the Mercedes SL." -- Edmunds
  • "The XK convertible's handling proved a delight, as well. Left in standard settings, the car showed good stability and rotation when we threw it into a corner. But this gentleman's sports car has much more to offer, a set of buttons near the shift dial that loosens up stability control and puts it in an aggressive Track mode." -- CNET

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