Elegant and affordable GT cars: the case for the 2006-2011 Jaguar XK.

By Steph G

Let's set a couple of things straight, right off the bat. A supercar is not necessarily a GT car. A gazillion BHP and a ginormous spoiler big enough to simultaneously fry enough sunny-sided-up eggs to feed Greater London does not make it a GT car either. 
Subjectivity alert: A GT car needs to be able to take you from the limitless German autobahns, through the Alps, past Lombardy and onto the cypress-lined b-roads of Tuscany. In one go. Confidently fast and yet comfortably. Very comfortably. It needs to be a looker and blast out the sound to match. Needs to be a head turner, but in a positive, "I'm jealous yet not predisposed to key your car out of spite when you're not looking" kind of way. Needs to be classy, yet elegantly discreet. But not too discreet. In short, it needs to be a gentleman's car. In fact the G in GT I am convinced should really stand for Gentleman. Not quite sure yet what the T should stand for in this fantasy, but anyway, moving on.
So we took our 2007 Jaguar XK around the b-roads between Lower and Upper Austria and we enjoyed every inch of tarmack we treaded on with that growl so characteristic of naturally aspirated V8s. Every straight made for an opportunity to set the old cat lose, and every corner a thrill we craved to repeat. Most importantly though, 5 hours of b-road driving later we stopped for lunch at a lovely countryside Gasthaus and realized something: not even the slightest sign of fatique, nor a hint of needing a break. Well a loo break maybe, but nothing more. 
And that's exactly the thing about cars like this. The elegance they represent needs to be first and foremost felt by the driver himself. Not just while driving but once you reach your destination as well. Not sure you can pull that off after four hours of slaloming along Alpine b-roads in a hot hatchback; you'd probably have to check yourself in for some back treatment straight after.


Enter the skeptic: If I wanted to project elegance in a fast car I'd buy an Aston. And I can't afford an Aston. So I'll just stick to my Focus RS for now, fank you vewy much. 

Fair point. But hold on to your supercharged horses there for a moment though matey. A 4.2L naturally aspirated V8, all the luxury that your mid-late-2000's money could buy you, and - most importantly - curves and a badge that scream "I am of Malcolm Sayer pedigree", and all this for the price of a modern hot hatchback? Sign me up and keep your RS for the once in a decade you'll actually make it to the Nürburgring to race it around.


And yes I do appreciate that this particular model carries a lot of Ford's cost-cutting-driven flaws and not enough of Tata's facelifts and upgrades. I also learned the hard way that when you use the windshield sprinkler you best have the driver's window totally shut unless you want water to drip straight in. But you see with cars like this you need a little unpredictability. A little madness. Something a little different, almost out of the ordinary. A little something to help you steer away from the ordinary and transcend into a place a tad different just for a little while. 
Transcend. Thats what the T must surely stand for. Gentleman Transcending. 
Steph G