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Jaguar XK

Feel that bipolar stab of pink euphoria and purple fear when you hear that a venerable—and great—auto is being redesigned?Such a reaction is natural after seeing a car you love reenvisioned, sometimes as something greater than its previous parts but far too often as a unit that is lesser, clunky or just cost-saving lousy. Jaguar's XK8 has been around a decade as a coupe and convertible, the kind of sports car that fires on just the right cylinders of fun and performance. This year brings a new generation to the starting line, the XK, and enthusiasts will find a smooth reimagining, equally leonine and entertaining.

The convertible (featuring a retracting soft top) is the most beautiful, with low overhangs and a swept-back windshield that suggests motion, as if it's been buffeted by a massive headwind. The biggest change in this 2007 edition is the all-aluminum body and chassis, making the vehicle tougher and lighter. (After all, saving weight is the name of the game when it comes to auto­mobile performance.) The 4.2-liter V-8, which is serviceable but lacking in torque-mad oomph (look for a guttier R version in the fall), is mated to a six-speed automatic with steering-wheel paddles. Lastly, the cabin of the new XK is more comfortable, with added headroom and legroom for bigger drivers. So, Jagophiles, you can let out that breath now.

Scorecard

JAGUAR XK
Base Price: $75,495
Engine: 4.2 liter V-8
Horsepower: 300
Torque: 303 pound-feet
Weight: 3,671 pounds
Zero to 60 MPH: 6 seconds

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