2007 Jaguar XKR Convertible Road Test
Options Fitted: Adaptive Cruise Control ($4,500); Luxury R Interior ($6,000).
The Jaguar XKR isn’t so much a car as it is an emotive experience – from approach, right through to the drive. Jaguar’s lifelong affinity with racing can be dated back to the ‘50’s with the C-type sports car. Over the years, the brand has evolved to cater for the needs of a large cross section of punters, ranging from those after luxurious appointments, right through to those looking for road-tearing performance.
Climb inside and behold lashings of carbon fibre and precise attention to detail, this is what the Jaguar experience is meant to be. Hit the starter button and this seemingly sedate cat fires to life. A bevy of electronics and controls are piloted through the LCD touch screen located on the dashboard.
Getting used to the Jag’s size takes a bit of time. The driving position is quite low, which is great for enthusiastic driving, but can become tedious in tight car parks or when trying to battle peak hour traffic. Forward and sideward (not to be confused with ‘sideways’) visibility is good for a convertible.
Line up a set of corners and prepare to be stunned – and that’s being modest. In-line with Murphy’s Law, it rained the entire week I had the drop-top XKR, none the less I was keen to give it a shot through one of my regular test routes.
Although the XKR is a sedate mover on the highway, everything changes the second you shift the gear lever into the ‘Sport’ position. The ZF Sachs 6-speed cog box does an absolute stellar job of taming the XKR’s supercharged V8. After a few minutes of monitoring the driver’s inputs, the gearbox literally reads the driver’s mind. Every time I jumped on the anchors for a corner, the gearbox was on the ready to grab a lower gear for the exit of the corner.
With a starting price of $249,900, the XKR convertible isn’t cheap. But, take into consideration that BMW’s M6 Convertible costs nearly $50,000 more than the Jag. Mercedes’ SL500 also costs around $50,000 more than the XK-R – making the Jag considerably good value in comparison.
After opening the forward facing bonnet, a 4.2-litre, supercharged V8 bears itself. At 6250RPM the screaming V8 produces a walloping 306kW, while at 4000RPM; the maximum torque of 560Nm is reached.
XKR standard features include: 20” Senta alloy wheels; cruise control; electric windows and mirrors; auto dimming rear vision mirror; heated seats; electronically adjustable driver and passenger seats; dual zone climate control; electrically adjustable steering wheel; front and rear parking sensors; adaptive bi-xenon headlights; tyre pressure monitoring system; leather seats; premium sound system with 6-disc CD changer; auto headlights and windscreen wipers; satellite navigation; Bluetooth functionality and keyless entry and start.
Suffice to say – Jaguar’s new XKR is no pussy. The long-lived Jaguar stereotype of cardigan wearing chaps couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to this potent mix of power and ability.
The XKR takes what is an impressive car – the XK – and turns it into a nose-bleeding lout which relentlessly outdoes any misconception one could possibly have about the Jaguar brand. Although I haven’t driven the BMW M6 Convertible, or the Mercedes SL500, both would have to be pretty damn special to even consider spending the extra $50,000. I think it would be difficult, actually...make that very difficult to improve on the XKR Convertible’s proposition.
The new Jaguar XKR is a car that will most certainly not grow long in the tooth any time soon.
- by Paul Maric