News Column

Jaguar XKR

March 12, 2008

By Ralph Gray

Jaguar XKR
Jaguar XKR

How in the world do you get a car to cost more than $100 grand? Easy. Start with a Jaguar XKR with a base price of $92,035.

Then you add $5,000 for 20-inch Senta wheels. Another $2,500 for a "luxury package." They do toss in burl walnut interior trim at no charge.

A premium sound package is another $1,875. Destination tacks on $200 for a grand total of $101,610.

And the 2008 Jaguar XKR convertible is worth each and every penny.

It's a super car that comes as a metal-roofed coupe or soft-top convertible. The tested convertible carries the $101,610 price tag.

Jaguar chose a soft top for the convertible rather than the trendy retractable hard tops. The sof top opens up in 15 seconds with a one-touch button.

The reasoning: The soft top would keep two plus two seating (although the rear seat is small). The flowing side lines at door height are not interrupted for a bigger trunk. Sleek is what defines a Jaguar, after all.

The coupe is one-tenth of a second faster to 60 mph than the ragtop--4.9 seconds to a flat five seconds. That's swift indeed from a 4.2L V-8 that's supercharged to 420 screaming horses.

It is untrue that you need a pilot's license to drive a Jaguar XKR. It only feels like you're flying--in a British Spitfire fighter plane.

That's because the XKR is the screamer for the Jaguar XK lineup. The "R" could stand for "rocket."

The blistering acceleration is matched by handling dynamics (computer aided) and a stiffer suspension, up to 38 percent over the XK. Steering becomes weightier with quicker response.

The Jaguar XKR makes the driver look good. It pounces on curves and just chews them up--XKR seats are more bolstered than the XK so drivers don't slide. The car picks its way through, offering gentle suggestions to the driver. It's like Jeeves suggesting the right cravat to Bertie Wooster.

The adaptive cruise control makes long-distance runs easier as does the athletic but supple ride. Using microwave radar technology, it monitors the road a head and automatically cuts speed when necessary. If another vehicle cuts you off, the ACC hits the brakes, too.

The gap between the XKR and vehicles ahead can be set by the driver as well. When approaching another vehicle or obstacle, the system estimates the braking effort needed, sounds and sounds an alert. Now it's up the the driver to take action.

Not only does the XKR make the driver look good when actually operating the car, the Jaguar exterior design does the same at rest. Just sitting behind the wheel makes anyone--even automotive writers--look good.

Jaguar XKR Jaguar XKR

•Engine: 4.2L supercharged V-8.

•Dimensions: 108.3" wheelbase; 188.6" length.

•Base price: $92,035/tested $101,410.

•Fuel economy: 15/23 mpg.

Source: Source: (c) 2008. All rights reserved.

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