Jaguar XKR-S track & road test preview

Jaguar XKR-S 300km/h/405kW/680Nm/0-100km/h 4.4 SEC
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CarAdvice has just arrived in Faro, Portugal with a small contingent of motoring media from Australia and South Africa for a very special event; to track test Jaguar’s most potent production car ever, the XKR-S.

CarAdvice was privileged to have been in a development version of the XKR-S on a fast lap of Germany’s Nurburgring only a few weeks ago and reported then, that this was a seriously fast car that would have even Porsche worried.

It wasn’t just the straight-line speed that impressed, although, 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds isn’t that far off supercar standards, it was the sheer pace this GT car could carry through the corners at the ‘Ring’ that was even more exciting.

So you can imagine how we felt here at CarAdvice when we got the call to come to the Autodromo Algave circuit in Portugal to track test the XKR-S with some flat-out laps, along with various handling exercises that will demonstrate the just how composed this chassis is; ecstatic, doesn’t even come close.

After track testing the 2011 Jaguar ‘R’ cars earlier this year at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, we walked away with the unbridled knowledge, that a standard Jaguar XKR Coupe running on standard road tyres could be pushed at race-like speeds for up to twenty laps of the 3.8 kilometre road circuit per driver session, without any loss of pace, grip or brakes. Remarkable for a luxury grand tourer to be this ‘track capable’.

Jaguar has an extensive history of successful sports car racing including many wins at Le Mans in their famous D-Type racers that blew away Ferrari and many other competitors in the late ‘50s due to their considerable power and light weight construction.

The new XKR-S embodies those particular Jaguar hallmarks like no other production car they have ever built, excluding of course, the XJ220 supercar.

The company marketing blurb says, “The new XKR-S is not just our quickest and most powerful Jaguar ever, it’s also the most agile, responsive and driver focused.”

Armed with a uprated supercharged Gen 111 R direct-injection engine producing a walloping 404 kW (550 PS) and 680 Nm of torque for a top speed of 300km/h, Jaguar bosses say it’s the first Jaguar to enter “Junior Supercar territory”.

Jaguar Australia is expected to price the XKR-S at $340,000 and that’s considerably less many of the exotic GT cars it will be up against. Deliveries are expected during the fourth quarter of 2011, although the first allocation of just three cars, was sold out months ago. Jaguar Australia's Kevin Goult, told us today that they were hopeful of another allocation as soon as possible. The problem is, that I expect that lot will be pre-sold too.

The XKR-S is also said to be the greenest car in its class with CO2 emissions less than 300g/km.

Among the many attributes of this car is its unique race-inspired sound track. I’ve heard it at the Nurburgring, and it’s positively angry when the taps are open and sounds more like a car GT1 racer that should be lining up on the grid at Le Mans than any luxury grand tourer.

The agility and torsional rigidity of the XKR-S and the entire XK model range comes from Jaguar’s advanced lightweight aluminium construction employed across the XK and XJ model line ups and will be properly demonstrated during our road tests over the next two days.

Other features unique to the XKR-S though, are the bespoke suspension modifications to the front and rear of the car, as well as the re-calibrated Adaptive Dynamics, which is said to allow drivers to push the car to the edge of its handling limits. We can’t wait.

Check back on CarAdvice for the XKR-S track test and road drive later this week.

We will also be driving the 2012 XFR and a review of that car will follow.