2013 Jaguar XK Test Drive
Marin Luxury Cars, Corte Madera, California

Driving Impressions of the 2013 Jaguar XK
Marin Luxury Cars in Corte Madera, California

Marin Luxury Cars
Marin Luxury Cars

The great people at Marin Luxury Cars in Corte Madera, California invited us to their dealership to do a test drive in one of the new Jaguars. Of course we said yes and showed up with camera in hand.

The XK.
We slipped in to a black coupe and did a bit of familiarization with Sales Consultant Zabi Rahimi as my guide.

New cars are completely different from a few years ago. The level of fit-finish and over all quality is all quite equal in most all car makes and models at each price point. The main differences are becoming mostly personal choices. That, however is not to say, excitement is not waiting behind the start of the engine.

2013 Jaguar XK

As I Settled into the full leather bolstered seat it required a bit of a push, as the last driver was smaller than I am. So the first level of business, getting the seat and controls to match my body size and driving style. Power seat controls that have one 'Gillion' settings and adjustments now make this once difficult chore, a play period. Jaguar has also thoughtfully placed the control panel on the front upper corner of the doors; making it easy to see what button/lever one is pushing around. The steering wheel is fully adjustable also moving it up and down as well as, and I like this one, in and out. This allowed me to have my arms extended, as I have grown accustomed to.

2013 Jaguar XK

Next came the shifting controls. Zabi guided me to the center consol where the shift lever should have been. No lever, just a large knob! The knob has the selector markings for 'P', 'N', 'D' and 'S' for sport or manual shift. There were other buttons available that optimized the XK's behavior for snow and weather traction control as well as one for 'limping home'. There is also a 'Dynamitic Mode', which changes the shifting and suspension reaction. The drive was a bit too short to give this option a try and I was not able to experience this computer modification to the XK's mood.

Most new auto shift cars have evolved into quick reacting auto transmissions and this being a Jaguar it displays no real lag time in its up-down shifting and the 'Dynamitic Mode' available on his car would increase the quickness of shift. placing the 'knob' at the 'S' allows one full control of the shifting through the steering wheel mounted left and right paddles, just like all the top performance cars now have. The wheel also has many of the radio controls.

The dash has 2 areas vying for the driver's attention. Behind the wheel is the digital speed and tachometer dials and other drive train information. In the center is a large screen display with the nav' and other computer features reasonably laid out for easy understanding. However the zoom feature for the nav' is on the touch screen and not easily to find without taking your eyes off the road. Overall the dash layout is easy to reach and see.

2013 Jaguar XK

The XK moves easily and quietly through the back streets and allows good visibility and with the rear camera and parking guidelines showing on the screen makes it a nice urban car. The ample rear area will allow passengers but best for short distance or for easily reached storage. The large rear trunk or boot will solve any cargo needs. I would say this is a fantastic car for touring with 2 people. Roomy, powerful, and great looking.

The XK is a heavy car at a Gross weight of 4,575 lbs. but its 5 liter V-8 engine puts out 385HP and 380 lb-ft torque, so it will move quickly around any slower cars and not leave you exposed too long to on coming traffic. The sound of the car when accelerating is a definitely a Jaguar growl, Not loud. Just enough to let everyone around know there is a big Cat in the neighborhood.

2013 Jaguar XK

On the freeway the Cat is at home cruising along and a quick squeeze on the left paddle makes the downshift, which can jump the car forward, several car lengths for passing in the proverbial- blink-of-the-eye. I found a bit of freeway on-ramp that hade a nice tight right-hander that allowed me to test the Cat's behavior in a more aggressive bit of driving. The XK moved nicely into the turn as I pushed hard on the right most peddle, accelerating all the way through the turn. Just as the XK started to unwind from the radius and straighten out, the rear gave a small signal that it was feeling the power and ready to play.

Back at the Marin Luxury Cars Dealership, long-time Jaguar sales consultant Andrew Chilson walked me around the XK. The steering is now the common drive-by-wire electric system. The car and all its functions are computer controlled. The nav.' system will learn from your personal preferred route and make adjustments just from monitoring your behavior. So how is that going to work? You always detour off to your favorite pub after work and now your mate has the car driving the same route. Does the sweet nav' voice suggest the route directly to the pub or can you somehow bribe it to not give-up your secret?

2013 Jaguar XK

Andrew also pointed out the intelligent computer software will 'learn' your driving style and reset the car to shift and move as one with your driving style.

Who do I see the XK was designed for? It is defiantly a personal car. The 4 door models are the choice for people-haulers. This is a sport coupe with sport options. I would say this car is without doubt an all around car. Town and Country with fair gear or package hauling capacity. Jaguar will let you stand out from the crowd and keep you in Cat- Like Comfort. Some cars are said to be 'Guy Cars' or "Gal Cars' but the XK will carry all in smooth elegance.

What did I like about the XK? The paddle shifters. The V-8 Torque. The ease of the dash layout.

What did I not like? The only bits that I could find fault on are; the shock setting seemed to be too stiff and I could feel the road strips as a jarring sensation. Maybe the computer would 'learn' to change this. I am still not a fan of electronic steering as the 'feel' is still not yet comfortable to me. And oh yes. The drive selector 'Knob'. I cannot suggest a replacement for it, but I guess I am just not a 'Knob' Guy.

Thanks to Marketing Director Paige Casamento for making this day possible.
Frank Cunningham

2013 Jaguar XK

Length: 188.7 " Body width: 74.5 "; Body height: 52.0 "; Wheelbase: 108.3 "; Ground clearance: 4.7 "; Curb: 3,770 lbs.; Gross weight: 4,575 lbs.

Window Poster For This Car - JPG file

2013 Jaguar XK

Base engine size: 5.0 liters; Base engine type: V8; Horsepower: 385 hp; Horsepower rpm: 6,500; Torque: 380 lb-ft; Torque rpm: 3,500; Drive type: rear-wheel; Turning radius: 17.9