Every journalist was ogling one car at the rally, the new Jaguar XK and XK convertible. I don't think any of the other cars were as universally appreciated as the new Jag. Sure everyone wanted to drive the Ford Shelby GT500 but the Jaguar was constantly being poked, prodded and photo'ed when it had any downtime in the staging area. I stopped drooling and took it on the track.
There was ample time to appreciate the interior while I waited for my turn at the green light. I even got out and shot more pictures while waiting. Man, that backside looks good.
However, the interior is very stark in comparison to the elegant exterior. I was surprised by the lack of frills and the fact that everything was logically and simply laid. The door handles do a little "flip" inward when the doors are locked which makes them look broken, but otherwise you can't argue with the XK's interior. The leather dashboard was real leather and assured me this wasn't just a Ford with a cat on the hood. The gauges even had a cool gas meter that looked like a Web 2.0 app. Nice.
Oh, look the green light. I had deactivated the traction control because in this vehicle I knew there'd be some baby monitoring. And boy was there. The large coupe hustled like a mother and got up to triple-digit speed with less effort than anything else I drove. The only issue? The paddles on the wheel used for manual shifting were horrible. They were basically guidelines for shifting, while the car did most of the work. You couldn't do a hard downshift or even rev all the way to the red line. Booooo.
Another surprise, besides the speed, was the fact that this huge babe magnet got around corners with little tire screech and with a fluidity that didn't seem possible. After my run as another crowd started to grow around the car I knew the XK would never be a stud on the track, but you could still be a stud driving one.
[I didn't intentionally omit a front shot of the car, but it is the only angle people find objection with. Don't know how I missed it.]