Jaguar XKR 75

Jaguar's most powerful XKR yet was built to light up the hill at Goodwood - but is it more than just a festival highlight?

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The 75 is no lazy, anniversary limited edition; it’s the most hardcore production XK ever built. It has all the luxury of an XK and drives with decent levels of refinement. But when pushed hard, the chassis delivers great precision and control and the V8 has a rasping sound. It’s a rare combination and, with only 75 being made, it will be a rare car

It’s Jaguar’s 75th birthday, and a few lucky owners will get aspecial present: a limited-edition XKR complete with more power and thesportiest chassis yet.

The XKR 75 makes its debut at thisweekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Production is restricted to 75examples, and even from a distance, it looks as if it means business.

The75 sits lower than a regular XKR, on stiffer suspension, but appearseven more ground-hugging, thanks to its bodykit. This adds a lowerfront splitter, sill extensions, a neat tail spoiler and 20-inchdiamond-cut alloys. All the shiny chrome is black, and the Stratus Greypaint can be adorned with the silver graphics on our car’s wings as anoption.

Fire it up, and the newcomer sounds as good as itlooks. The supercharged 5.0-litre V8 now produces 523bhp – up by 20bhp– and comes with a new exhaust that adds a wicked, rasping edge to thedeep-chested V8. Inside, the XKR 75 gets a combination of piano blacktrim, dark leather and a midnight black headlining.

As soon asyou pull away, you can sense this XK’s steely demeanour. Around town,the suspension relays more detail of the road surface, and the steeringhas more weight, too. Yet the Jag is as cosseting as ever; thesuspension is compliant and the six-speed automatic gearbox is smoothand responsive.

Performance is huge, the V8 delivering amighty push from modest revs and sustaining it to the red line. It alsoproduces a delicious exhaust crackle when you back off. Low-speedtraction is strong, helped by Jaguar’s clever electronically controlledlimited slip differential, and the 4.4-second 0-60mph time is quickerthan the stock XKR’s.

The top speed is limited to 174mph, asit is on the Speed Pack model. With the traction control turned off,the tail will kick wide, but it’s pretty easy to catch.

At higher speeds, though, the XKR 75 feels planted, with theprecision and directness of its steering and the tautness of thesuspension inspiring confidence. This slack-free feel is down to someunique suspension components which give enhanced wheel control underpressure.

Not surprisingly, the XKR 75 has posted animpressive lap time at Germany’s legendary Nürburgring circuit; 8m 01seconds with a little traffic, so sub-eight minutes is feasible. It’s afitting birthday celebration.

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