2010 Jaguar XKR Coupe Road Test Review

Arv Voss - CAP staff
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Jaguar's XKR Convertible was and is stunningly elegant and powerful.  The Convertible was designed and developed before the XKR Coupe, as were the standard XK models, to ensure not only structural integrity, but to make absolutely sure that each was correct in their own right, unlike most offerings where the coupe comes first, and the top is chopped off to make the convertible, with critical supportive structures implemented as an afterthought. 

The XKR Coupe is perhaps more beautiful in its design form than the Convertible version, but I prefer open-air motoring to the closed variety.  Having said that, this review is about the XKR Coupe in all its glory.  One simply can't go wrong with either choice since both came from the styling pen and influence of Ian Callum, Jaguar's design chief. 

According to Callum, one cannot fully appreciate the XKR by viewing photos, since it is seen as consisting of a side, a front and a top.  On the road, however, it is perceived as a complete, single, three-dimensional entity which equates to two things: the proportions and the extremity of the form as a whole. 

Initially, the question might be posed how either configuration of the standard XK 2+2 sports car could possibly be improved upon.  Well, actually in many ways, but particularly in the form of the "R" versions, as in XKR.  The XKR elevates the performance level by moving from a naturally aspirated and supercharged 4.2-litre V8  to either an all-new Generation III 5.0-litre naturally aspirated 420 horsepower example of Jaguar's V8 engine or all-new 5.0-litre supercharged V8 that delivers a healthy 510-horsepower while generating a respectable 461 pound feet of torque. With control either from steering wheel-mounted paddles or full automatic mode via the unique rotating JaguarDrive Selector, the transmission is now paired with an advanced electronic differential on the XKR model.  This ensures the supercharged car accelerates even faster, handles even more precisely and sets new standards of dynamic control.  The XKR Coupe is capable of traveling from 0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, with its top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). 
Continuing the reflection on design appeal, the 2010 XKR is visibly more assertive and sportier in nature than previous models.  Both Coupe and Convertible sport front-wing power vents; a now familiar Jaguar styling signature cue seen earlier on the special edition XJ Super V8 Portfolio. 
Inside, traditional craftsmanship and contemporary luxury materials abound with features such as finely stitched leather contrasting with a choice of high-tech trim surfaces, including metallic finishes.  The layout features intuitive controls and driver-oriented technologies with sporty, yet user-friendly ergonomics.  It's highly supportive seats are set low in relation to the high waistline, contributing to a purposeful "cockpit" feeling. 
My review vehicle was finished in a rich Botanical Green metallic colour, complemented by a Caramel leather interior with Charcoal stitching and polished Burl Walnut veneer trim accents.  The base price was set at $108,770, including destination charges, while fully loaded with either of two sets of optional 20" alloy rims (standard are 19s), adaptive cruise control and a heated windshield comes to $116,770. 

The Jaguar XK models are extremely fine vehicles in their own right, while XKR models add the supercharger and considerably more horsepower, unique "R" exterior styling with deeper front bumper, aluminum-finish mesh upper and lower grille and side vents, and colour-keyed hood louvers.  Other "R" attributes include 19-inch alloy wheels, performance brakes with black brake calipers featuring the stylized "R" logo, fully active exhaust, adaptive front lighting, and special "R" interior treatment. 

The XKR Coupe is essentially, two cars in one, both a sports car and a grand tourer. From its distinctive oval grille opening up front, over the long "power bulge" sloping hood, past the sharply raked windshield and the 2+2 seating and the elevated deck with integrated spoiler, the XKR appears to be in motion, even when parked. The car exudes the highest level of quality.  This is of primary concern in the evaluation of vehicles manufactured by the Jaguar Car team, who refer to that quality or essence as "Jaguar-ness," which is quite simply a feast for the senses that comes from producing gracefully sculpted automotive forms that also serve as stylish packaging for race bred and proven machines that tend to stir the souls of adventurous and passionate motorists. 

Push the keyless start button and the XKR's powerful V8 roars to life, then move the gearshift into drive, vigorously prod the electronic throttle and the realization that this is no ordinary automobile becomes instantly apparent.  Choose a challenging, isolated twisting mountain road to experience the joys of spirited motoring, along with the audible treat of the throaty exhaust note. 
The XKR is bigger, bolder and more beautiful than ever before.  Its EPA rating as a mini-compact (probably due to the limited back seat space when drivers of my dimensions are behind the wheel) is a misnomer, since it tips the scale at nearly two tons.  This Jaguar car is capable of slinking along slowly and stealthily, while maintaining the ability to spring rapidly to top speed -- a feat that is indeed comparable to its big cat namesake. 

The XKR Coupe continues to elevate the essence of Jaguar; motoring in stylish elegance, constituting a near perfect formula with the top up or down.  The XKR truly possesses the heart of a racing machine. 

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Coupe, Jaguar, 2010, XK Series, XKR, $75,000 - $99,999, $99,999+,

Organizations: Jaguar

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