Introduced in spring 1957, the XK150 initially came in fixed and drophead coupé forms, with the roadster version arriving the following year. Despite its 190bhp engine, mirroring the XK140, performance saw little change. ‘Special Equipment’ and ‘S’ versions boasted 210 and 250bhp, with the latter achieving an impressive 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 136mph. This was made possible by the Weslake-developed ‘straight-port’ cylinder head, high-compression pistons, triple 2″ SU carburettors, and twin electric fuel pumps.
Transmission options included overdrive and a Borg-Warner automatic gearbox, the latter gaining popularity. The XK150 ‘S’ could feature a Thornton Powr-Lok limited-slip differential. Most XK150s were sold in ‘SE’ specification with centre-lock wire wheels, although steel wheels were standard. The iconic chromed Jaguar mascot became an optional extra for the XK for the first time.
In autumn 1959, the XK150 offered the 3.8-litre engine from the Mark IX saloon, providing ‘Standard’ (220bhp) or ‘S’ (265bhp) tunes. The XK150’s increased weight was offset by the larger engine’s power, with the car frequently reaching over 130mph in road tests.