A racing car for the road, Jaguar XKR-S may be the least subtle car we have ever driven.
Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the Jaguar XKR-S with specs, fuel economy and verdict.
What a beast! Jaguar’s XKR-S makes its presence felt a hundred metres away, even when being driven in gentle sociable manner. Its supercharged V8 engine roars, spits and burbles. It idles with a gruff grumble to tell you that it would rather be revving to the heavens than idling.
In everything it does this Jaguar supercar gives the world the definite message it wants to get up and work - work hard. Everywhere we drove our big cat attracted attention, not all of it favourable it must be said...
When you do give it a big bootfull the 540 horsepower (404 kW) Jaguar V8 becomes much happier. It jams you back in the seat with fearsome acceleration of the type only enjoyed by supercar owners, lifting it from rest to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds on its way to an electronically limited 300 km/h – on a racetrack of course.
This ultra-hot Jaguar is built with track days in mind and takes the big coupe to a new level of performance. The standard Jaguar XK coupe is already a quick car, adding the R package to bring it up to XKR status and it’s fearsomely fast. But now there’s even more – for those who think too much isn’t quite enough Jaguar has come up with the XKR-S edition.
The huge 540 horsepower (sorry, kilowatts just don’t work in supercar land) is put through a six-speed automatic, which passes it back to a sophisticated active electronic differential.
The big Jag grips the road within milliseconds of the throttle being mashed. If you’re at the track most of the driver-assist gear can be detuned or turned off completely. Obviously you don’t just stuff a 404 kW / 680 Nm engine under the bonnet and hope for the best. The complete Jaguar XK has received a major working over to match its straight-line capabilities.
There are aerodynamic tweaks to increase downforce as speed rises, pushing the big coupe down to maximise cornering grip as well as safety. Obviously, the suspension settings lean in the direction of firmness, but the adaptive system means this XK variant isn’t as hard riding as some others in the same class.
Huge disc brakes haul off speed even faster than the engine can pile it on. Jam the pedal hard and you feel yourself being jammed forward against the safety belts.
And doesn’t it look just great. After attracting the attention of other road users, particularly pedestrians, by its racetrack sound, our big, Jaguar XKR-S coupe pleased almost all who saw it during our all too short week on the Gold Coast.
Would we pay $299,000 plus on-road costs to buy one? Definitely - but only if we had some money to spare for another car (or two) for everyday use as the XKR-S is too hard edged for a day-to-day machine.
We love the shape of the Jaguar XF, so that would be added to our list, and the upcoming Jaguar F-Type, the smaller brother to the XK, is coming down under very soon. A nice trio...
Price: from $299,000
Engine: 5.0-litre SC V8, 405kW/680Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, RWD
Thirst: 12.3L/100km, CO2 292g/km