Review: Jaguar XKR (2006 – 2015)
Understated yet purposeful styling. Stunning performance from supercharged V8. Amazingly quick yet refined. XKR-S takes it into another league.
Only comes with an automatic gearbox. Other high performance sports cars are more driver focussed.
Jaguar XKR (2006 – 2015): At A Glance
Sitting at the top of the Jaguar performance range is the thunderous XKR - the supercharged version of the standard XK. It really is a very special car with stunning performance, great muscular looks and an elegant interior. As feelgood factor cars go - the XKR is right up there with the best - this is a car that always makes you feel special every time you get behind the wheel.
Much of that feel comes from the superb interior with its high-quality craftmanship feel and stylish design. It's incredibly refined and that translates to the rest of the car. Power comes from a supercharged V8 engine which was originally a 4.2-litre with 420PS but as if that wasn't enough, it was upgraded to a new 5.0-litre unit in March 2009 when the XKR was revised.
This larger engine delivers an astonishing 510PS along with a hefty 625Nm of torque so it's no surprise that 0-60mph comes up in just 4.6 seconds. The engine sounds great too with a deep V8 growl accompanying acceleration, but it's the effortless way the XKR builds speed which is most impressive.
It handles superbly as you'd expect, with great poise and precision. It's quite large for a two-seater sports car, most of it accounted for by the large bonnet, but in corners it feels incredibly nimble with immense grip. The only slight letdown is the steering which could do with more feel, but this doesn't detract from what is a great performance car. It's also equally at home on the motorway where it cruises smoothly, or even in traffic where it's docile and easy to drive.
The XKR is available as a Coupe or a Convertible, allowing you to enjoy that great engine noise even more. The Convertible hood is incredibly well insulated, so much so that with it up, you'll easily forget you're in a soft-top. Other changes in 2009 saw the interior upgraded, including the trademark JaguarDrive Selector - the dial gear lever control which rises out of the central console - another wonderful touch.
And in August 2010, Jaguar introduced Speed Pack for the XKR. This removes the 155mph maximum speed limit, allowing the XKR to an electronically controlled speed of 174mph. That's unlikely to be much use (especially in the UK) but the pack does include styling extras and the choice of unique colours, allowing you to make your XKR really stand out, as our pictures show.
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Jaguar XKR (2006 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 200–330 litres
The interior of the XKR manages to blend modern styling with a classic Jaguar feel and the result are a real success. It's very well equipped as standard as you'd expect given that it is the top XK model. There is real attention to detail evident throughout and a feeling of quality craftmanship about the cabin which has an elegant but purposeful feel.
Both the Coupe and Convertible versions of the XKR use Jaguar's lightweight aluminium architecture, which means that as well as being very light, the body shell also has great torsional strength. And that exceptional rigidity, with or without a fixed roof, means creak and rattle-free refinement, even on unforgiving surfaces. It's certainly one of the most refined performance cars around and the Convertible is mightily impressive - in fact with the roof up you'll often think you're in a coupe it's that quiet.
The convertible's triple-lined fabric roof gives a level of fit and stability, even at very high speeds, that minimises wind noise and other road noise plus it includes a luxurious Sudeecloth headlining so it's indistinguishable from a normal fixed roof.
The folding roof can be powered up or down at the touch of a button in less than 18 seconds. And when it is lowered, the convertible's flush-folding hood retracts completely into the bodywork behind the rear seats, under a smooth cover that retains the elegant, sporting lines of the car.
In 2009 when the new generation XKR was launched, the interior was also given a considerable overhaul, bringing it more into line with the design of the Jaguar XF. The most notable change is the introduction of what's known as the JaguarDrive Selector - the dial like gear lever that slides up out of the central console. It adds a more modern touch to the interior and is a much sleeker alternative to the traditional gear lever used before.
Elsewhere the three-spoke steering wheel has a leather-wrapped lower spoke, and Jaguar's striking ‘growler' badge. The XKR's instruments further emphasise its performance character with red pointers, while the XKR also adopts a new white illumination for their instruments.
Heated and cooled front seats are standard equipment on the XKR and feature 16-way seat adjustability for both driver and passenger seats, with memory functions and adjustable side bolsters as standard. They're good enough to keep you in place in tight corners, but soft enough to be ideal for long journeys too. There's a wide choice of interior colour options, including a striking combination of Ivory seating with Oyster upper cabin trim and Oyster carpets.
The standard seven-inch touchscreen in the centre console is another great feature. It gives access and control for the climate control, audio, satellite navigation, Bluetooth and for Jaguar's 'Portable Audio Interface' - which are all standard equipment.
The satellite navigation system offers DVD mapping, postcode entry and a traffic message channel but the Portable Audio Interface is the really impressive system as it offers iPod connectivity and the connection of other storage devices through a USB port, to the in-car sound system, with full touchscreen control.
Child seats that fit a Jaguar XKR (2006 – 2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Jaguar XKR (2006 – 2015) like to drive?
As you'd expect from the high performance version of the Jaguar XK, the XKR isn't exactly short on power. It was originally powered by a 4.2-litre V8 engine - the same one that's used in the standard XK - but thanks to a supercharger, it delivers an extra 120bhp to give a hefty 420bhp in total. Add to this 560Nm of torque and it's not hard to see why the XKR manages to go from 0-60mph in just 4.9 seconds.
But as if that wasn't good enough, this engine was replaced in March 2009 when the 'new generation' XK and XKR models were launched. The capacity of the supercharged V8 engine grew to 5.0-litres and power increased to a truly immense 510bhp along with 625Nm of torque. While the previous 4.2-litre was hardly slow, this newer version does feel slightly quicker and responds quicker to throttle inputs, making it more enjoyable to drive on demanding roads.
Acceleration from 0-62mph takes a mere 4.6 seconds for both the Coupe and the Convertible models, but it's the acceleration from 50-70mph (a much better measure of real world performance) that is amazing, taking just 1.9 seconds. It's unbelivably effortless and gains speed amazingly easily, so you'll often find yourself going faster than you think you are. The V8 also sounds great too, helped by the quad exhaust tailpipes which provide a great deep roar under hard acceleration and burble away on tick over.
Thanks to uprated performance brakes, the XKR also stops as well as it accelerates, although in traffic it can often be difficult to come to stop smoothly as the brake pedal isn't particularly progressive. But aside from this, it's a very easy car to live with day to day and is as happy in slow moving traffic as it is roaring along country lanes.
The standard gearbox is an excellent six-speed electronic automatic with paddle shifts on the steering wheel. In normal mode it works very well, providing seamless and quick shifts, while in sport it's a bit more aggressive and gives the XKR more bite when you fancy some fun.
When it comes to handling the rear-wheel drive XKR is everything you'd expect with amazing grip, great balance and genuine agility in corners. It may feel like quite a big car from behind the wheel (mainly due to that long bonnet), but it's not cumbersome on the move with a delicacy to the handling that belies its size. Body roll is minimal so that only minor criticism is that the steering could do with more feel as it's a little lifeless at times. But at higher (Autobahn type) speeds, the XKR is amazingly stable and composed. It even rides pretty well considering this is a high performance motor with 20-inch wheels fitted as standard.
2011 models (on sale from late 2010) get a new Active Differential Control (ADC) system, designed to give improved traction and dynamic stability. This is an electronically controlled differential which continuously adapts to both the driver's demands and the amount of grip available at each individual wheel.
Operated by an internal electric motor and ‘ball-and-ramp' mechanism, the differential contains a multiplate clutch which transmits or ‘vectors' torque to the wheel with most grip and therefore maximises the car's traction. The multi-plate clutch assembly is designed to prevent excessive differential slip, but differs fundamentally from a conventional traction control system, which uses the brakes to counteract differential slip, after it has occurred.
|5.0 V8||25 mpg||5.3 s||264 g/km|
|5.0 V8 385||25 mpg||5.2 s||264 g/km|
|5.0 V8 510||23 mpg||4.6–4.8 s||292 g/km|
|5.0 V8 550||23 mpg||4.2–4.4 s||292 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Jaguar XKR (2006 – 2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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