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Report From The Street!

This new Jag looks just like an Aston

You can definitely blame the similarity between the new 2007 Jaguar XK and the Aston Martin DB9 on the fact that both companies are owned by Ford. Ford moved the chief designer Ian Callum over to Jaguar to breathe some life into the brand in 1999. Ian became famous when the Aston Martin DB7 was released, a car that was praised right from the start for being one of the best looking cars on the planet. If you are wondering what the next XK8 will look like, this is it, Jaguar dropped the 8 from the 2005 model.

To increase performance in the 2007 XK weight was reduced by 262 lbs. With only the 300 horsepower 4.2 liter V-8 being sold this spring, making the car lighter was the only way to bring the 0-60 mph time to under six seconds. The car does feel firmer then any Jaguar most of us can remember, kind of reminding us of the heyday when the Jaguar D series was a gentleman’s Ferrari. One thing this car does well is it gets you from point A to point B in a well refined cabin with plenty of room for the front seat occupants and the same for the back seat for the under 12 crowd. This car is luxurious from the inside out, a place you could really enjoy just spending the day running errands. This car is not a track car because it runs out of juice before you run out of courage but around town this car is clearly a confidence builder.

Astons really are expensive, Jaguars are not. Jaguar has been selling a car for under forty thousand dollars for quite some time, but not always. There was a time when Jags, starting in the sixties, were considered a premium brand that broke down a lot. There were many jokes about repairing Jags and unfortunately for their owners they were true.  The best Jag joke was; every Jaguar owner could legally declare seven dependants on his taxes, himself, his mechanic, his mechanic’s wife and the mechanics four kids. The reason why they decided to sell some less expensive cars was; Jaguar saw a chance to sell some cars at a price that was unheard of for a Jaguar, but it might have hurt the cache of the brand.

The good thing about Ford’s involvement with Jaguar is they really are much better cars now. No longer are you subjecting your financial future to the whims of your mechanic. What the new XK does is it brings a greater level of refinement and sophistication to the Jaguar brand. The only problem is that when the 2007 XKR comes out next fall priced slightly over $100k it will compete directly with the new Aston with both of these companies owned by Ford there could become some cannibalization of sales when, a would be Jaguar XKR buyers just jumps up to the Aston Martin V-8 Vantage for about $10k more.

The truth about the 2005 XK was that it was a mighty fine looking car that most people, especially car guys knew was an expensive car. It was never the fastest luxury car on the planet but they had a distinct following that preferred convertibles. Jaguar estimates that 90% of the sales will be the convertible model. Many people who buy luxury cars will never drive them at anywhere close to their cars physical limits. What the Jaguar 2007 XK does is; it presents a car that looks good even when going slow. The car is ideal for people who have nothing left to prove but have enough money that they don’t want to drive “just a car”.

The only problem I have with this car is that it is not cheap. We all know there are 300 horsepower cars for less then $30,000. For this car to be worth 3 times as much it has to offer a lot of exclusivity it would if it wore the Aston brand, but it does not. The Jaguar XK will cost about $80,000 as a coupe. In the fall of 2006 you will able to buy both the convertible and the XKR. The XKR with a supercharged engine and 420 Horsepower probably will be the real deal, with a sub 5 second 0 to 60 time and priced less then a $100,000 it will probably be the closest thing to an affordable English gentleman’s car yet.

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