Jaguar XKR Coupe review
Sensational supercharged V8-powered Jaguar XKR mixes sports car handling with true GT abilities
The Jaguar XKR Coupe is an incredibly fast and fun car to drive thanks to its charismatic supercharged V8 and sporty handling. It's more involving than a Mercedes SL63 AMG and a BMW M6 – and has more class than both. Yet it is civilised too with a comfortable ride and sumptuous interior. It's very expensive to run, though.
Our choice: Jaguar XKR-S
Jaguar has added a subtle bodykit to the XKR with bonnet vents, sporty 19-inch alloy wheels and some XKR badging. It looks aggressive but still elegant and has more style than the Mercedes SL63AMG and BMW M6, rivalling the more expensive Maserati GranTurismo. The standard Jaguar XK has a great cabin, and the XKR adds a few choice extras in the shape of figure-hugging sports seat, some sportier trim and XKR badging. Equipment includes leather trim, sat-nav, a six-CD in-dash changer, electric seats, Bluetooth and active dampers. There's lots of room up front and the driving position is easy to adjust. The range-topping XK Dynamic R comes with 10mm lower suspension and an aero pack as standard, including a larger front splitter, rear spoiler and side skirts. Inside there’s new diamond quilted performance seats a suede headliner and piano black veneers. A reversing camera is fitted as standard and pops up automatically on the central touch screen when you select reverse.
It's difficult to describe just how fast the Jaguar XKR is – suffice to say it does 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds, 155mph all-out and for £78,500 could keep up with the £146,960 Ferrari California. After all, it has more power with a 503bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8, which also happens to make a sensational sound. Thanks to active dampers, the XKR is a sports car in the corners, but a proper GT car on the motorway, munching miles with ease. The six-speed auto makes it easy to access all this performance. The run-out Dynamic R model come with the Black Dynamic Pack as standard, which includes stiffer and 10mm lower suspension from the XKR-S, while a standard Speed Pack raises the top speed from 155mph to 174mph. A performance exhaust is also fitted and sounds incredible – a real throaty roar – when you select Dynamic mode.
The Jaguar XKR has a whole host of airbags onboard, along with traction and stability control plus a pop-up pedestrian-protecting bonnet. Optional extras such as adaptive cruise control, which automatically brakes, then accelerates the car again if another vehicle ahead is detected, add to its safety count. Reliability is likely to be average, judging by the rest of the Jaguar range.
With a hatchback boot and 330-litres of space, the Jaguar XKR has quite a lot of room for luggage – you will certainly be able to get two sets of golf clubs in there, for example. However, the rear seats are only suitable for very, very small children and are best thought of as extra stowage space.
The pay-off for all that performance is some big bills. The Jaguar XKR returns 23mpg combined according to official figures, but you will be lucky to see even this. With a CO2 output of 292g/km it's very expensive to tax too, sitting in the top VED band. Servicing will be pricey – although no more than rivals such as the Mercedes SL63 AMG and BMW M6 – while that power will mean frequent tyre changes too. Depreciation will be steep.