What kind of engine does the Jaguar XK SS have?

Jaguar XK SS
ID 43174120 © Robert Wisdom | Dreamstime.com

The Jaguar XK SS, a profound emblem of elegance and excellence in the automobile world, stirs the air with one of the most exceptional power systems – the XK engine. The XK engine is a line of inline-6 automobile engines that were manufactured and utilised mainly in the 1950s to the mid-1970s by Jaguar. In this article, we delve into the remarkable engine that effectively powers the legendary Jaguar XK SS.

Back in 1957, when the XK SS model was launched, the pedigree Jaguar was powered by a distinctive 3.4-liter straight six-cylinder XK engine. It was, essentially, the extensive motorsport pedigree of the Masterpiece, as the XK engine has long been hailed as one of the greatest engines ever built, rightly justifying the prestige of Jaguar.

The XK engine indeed set new benchmarks in automotive engineering. Producing roughly 250 horsepower at 6000 RPM, the engine provides an impressive thrust to the vehicle, enabling it to go from 0-60 mph in just about 5.5 seconds. Also, the Jaguar XK SS could hit a top speed of approximately 150 mph, which was indeed a significant accomplishment in the mid-1950s.

The design of the XK engine was state-of-the-art at the time. The head of the motor consisted of twofold overhead camshafts, driving two inclined valves per cylinder – a design that considerably improved air intake and exhaust gas flow. It was a major innovation when the majority of other car manufacturers were still using side-valve designs.

Also, the XK engine was pretty ahead of its time as it had advanced features like a chain-driven dual overhead camshaft (DOHC). It was the first time that a DOHC powered vehicle was mass-produced. This mechanism was borrowed from aircraft engine designs with cast-iron blocks and aluminium cylinder heads, paving the way for increased output while maintaining robustness.

For better efficiency and fuel economy, the engine employs a petrol fuel system. Furthermore, the engine is mated to a manual transmission, which allows the driver to fully tap into the vehicle’s power.

It’s also pivotal to note how Jaguar took care to ensure the engine was not just powerful but durable and reliable. Conservation of oil was certainly a critical aspect of the design. Heat-treated chrome and nickel alloy steel were used for the crankshaft to ensure resilience under the high-pressure conditions within the engine.

It was best famed for its smoothness, durability, and efficiency. The very essence of the Jaguar XK engine lies in its perfect blend of performance and luxury, making it one of the most celebrated engines in automotive history.

The Jaguar XK SS, equipped with the XK engine, brings an enduring legacy of British motor racing heritage. It most certainly is a testament to the inventive engineering prowess of its creators, who brilliantly brought together performance and durability in one masterful machine. The XK SS is a rare vehicle, one of those that truly encapsulate the spirit of the golden era of motoring, and its engine, the XK engine, is a massive part of that appeal — an emblem of the excellence of Jaguar’s craftsmanship.

Return to Jaguar XK SS

Return to FAQ

Previous articleWhat makes the Jaguar XK SS a unique and sought-after model?
Next articleWhat are the dimensions of the Jaguar XK SS?