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2007 Jaguar XK Convertible Road Test

Give a car geek half a chance -- or even less -- and he will tell you that the new Jaguar XK roadster is canted more toward the sporty side of the equation than the sports side, and he will probably mean that as something of a criticism.

(Photo: Jaguar)
The car geek is certainly right about the new Jag has given up some ability to corner in extremis in order to provide more comfort in the real world, but he's also widely removed from the point.

I have no doubt that the insecure-child-on-the-playground neurosis that's often behind the urge to spend $105,350 and up for any kind of car demands little more than it have a broad-based reputation for being desirable and that being seen in it causes envy in other people. This makes the XK something of a "trophy car," and that's okay with me.

Seen by anyone as a person of style and a really large disposable income is fine, but the deeply gratifying sighting of you being so honored by the gods would include ex-spouses, people who bested you in a big business deal, a teacher who told you that you wouldn't amount to anything, someone who wouldn't go out with you who is now twice-divorced and poor, and whatever personal variation on that them fits you.

(Photo: Jaguar)
Which is probably why the latest successor to the legendary XKE figures prominently in the daydreams of guys trying to imagine the perfect car for their 25th high school reunion.

Which is where I would have gone in the lovely red XK if my high school in Hamilton, Ontario, hadn't long ago been demolished to make way for a cutting-edge open space.

I was reduced to cruising my old neighborhood along the Beach Strip, which is maybe now best known as the ribbon of land they used to build the Skyway bridges on, allowing traffic to flow from Toronto to Fort Erie without stopping. Unfortunately, no one who might have known me was available to look on with resentment at my return in such a fabulous car, probably because they too fled the area long ago.

(Photo: Jaguar)
Not being able to make old friends feel bad was a disappointment, to be sure, but there was considerable comfort to be taken from the envious looks from strangers as I passed by with the top down, looking too cool and important behind my shades to acknowledge their stares.

My experiences with the XK made it easy to say that the roadster from Ford's UK-based luxury car maker accomplishes its primary directive -- to make its driver the subject of mass attention and/or envy from people of all ages, creeds, colors and levels of emotional and financial development.

I am also able to report that the XK is also not a bad car, though anyone who thinks that the two rear seats that give it its 2+2 status are good for anything besides holding a briefcase and a pair of overnight bags, or maybe a very small human in a child seat, are crazy.