Jaguar XK180 Concept, 1998
Jaguar North America unveiled the second edition of the XK180 roadster concept at the 1998 North American International Auto Show. This fully operational prototype is a further-developed version of the original XK180 concept car, which debuted at last fall's Paris Motor Show.
Like the first XK180, this vehicle is a product of Jaguar's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), hand-built in the SVO shops at Browns Lane in Coventry, England. The second-edition car is better adapted for American driving conditions with left hand drive, and it embodies a number of detail changes, including a new wheel design, a revised shade for the exterior color, a switch in the hue of the interior leather and subtle modifications to feature lines on the lower body section.
Created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the XK series sports cars, the XK180 design draws inspiration from some of the most successful production and competition cars of Jaguar's history.
The performance standards set at the XK's introduction will be celebrated by the XK180, too. Just as the XK120 proved itself worthy of the numerical designation a half century ago with a 126.448 mph run at Jabbeke, Belgium.
While the building of a second XK180 offered SVO an opportunity to incorporate a number of alterations, the performance attributes are unchanged in this version. The engine is a supercharged and intercooled variant of the AJ-V8, modified to achieve an output of 450 horsepower. The five-speed automatic transmission incorporates a Jaguar-engineered selector system which enables gear changes using pushbuttons located on the steering wheel. A Brembo braking system featuring aluminum four-piston calipers and cross-drilled, ventilated rotors provides commensurate stopping power. The 20-inch diameter wheels are fitted with ultra low profile Pirelli Pzero tires.
To create the XK180, the SVO group disassembled a production XKR (an XK8 with the 370-horsepower supercharged AJ-V8) and shortened the chassis by five inches. The aluminum exterior body panels were formed at Abbey Panels in Coventry, working to drawings by Keith Helfet, a senior designer in the Jaguar Styling Department.