Jaguar XK and Jaguar XK Convertible

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Jaguar unveiled an all-new 2006 car, called simply the “XK”, at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2005. It uses the new XJ’s aluminium chassis and is offered as both a coupé or convertible (incidentally, in a quite different manner to the way sports cars are usually designed, the coupé is based on the convertible. This meant that the engineers could design the convertible without the drawbacks of the car looking like, and actually being, a coupé with the top chopped off.

This, coupled to the ultra-rigid aluminium spaceframe makes the XK convertible exceptionally rigid for a car of its type, offering an extremely impressive driving experience). For the moment, it is powered by a 300 hp (225 kW) version of the 4.2 L AJ-V8. However, in October, a supercharged version with 420 hp (300 kW) will be offered (again, in both coupe and convertible forms). There have been rumours that an XKR-R with over 500 hp and an even more involving drive is on the way.

The new XK closely resembles the ALC Coupe concept which was first seen at the 2005 North American International Auto Show. The designer, Ian Callum, was also responsible for Aston Martin’s DB7 and Vanquish coupe’s, which explains the similarities in design among the three cars.

The new XK’s grille is inspired by that of the 1961 Jaguar E-Type.

The new XK has introduced a world first in pedestrian safety, PDBS (Pedestrian Deployable Bonnet System). In numerous pedestrian collisions with vehicles, head injuries occur when a pedestrian’s head impacts with the bonnet of the vehicle. However, the injuries are not usually sustained from the bonnet itself, rather the bonnet deforming and the pedestrian’s head colliding with the engine block underneath. European Pedestrian Safety Regulations are also responsible for some of the similarity between the XK and some of Callum’s other designs.
2007 Jaguar XKR
2006 Jaguar XK convertible

Jaguar’s innovation is to have sensors in the front bumper that determine if a pedestrian has indeed been struck and this then triggers two pyrotechnical charges that instantaneously lift the bonnet, providing extra distance between engine and head. In effect, the bonnet becomes the exterior equivalent of an airbag: The hood’s sheet metal may not be soft, but it’s much more accommodating than a solid engine block.

This potentially life saving device has awarded the all-new Jaguar XK the Engineering and Technology Award at the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards in London. Hopefully other manufacturers will also adopt this technology and the incidence of life-threatening head injuries from pedestrian impacts will be a thing of the past.

The XK convertible was introduced for 2006 at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. It weighs 3759 lb (1705 kg) and features a conventional cloth top that will open or close in 18 seconds.

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Scribbled on February 23rd 2007 in Jaguar
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