Strengths and weaknesses:
- fuel economy
- blinding chrome
- rear seats
Jaguar R coupe goes like a scalded cat
"The XKR’s aggressive looks are a none-too-subtle hint at what this vehicle is capable of."
The 2012 Jaguar XKR is irresponsibly fast, inefficient, and loud, and it’s plenty ostentatious to boot, but it’s also one of the most luxurious and exciting new vehicles on the road.
It would be all too easy to overlook the XKR considering the model Jaguar has been talking up for months now is the newly-released and even sportier XKR-S, but you better believe the version without the “S” is a wicked performance machine from top to bottom.
The XK is one of only three model ranges in the current Jaguar stable (along with the XJ and XF), and the current generation model is the first Jaguar styled from start to finish by the company’s Design Director Ian Callum.
There’s little doubt the XKR’s aggressive looks are a none-too-subtle hint at what this vehicle is capable of. Under the hood is a meaty 5.0-litre supercharged V8 that’s sure to sate even the hungriest performance enthusiast. This vehicle goes like the proverbial stink with nary a hesitation. Just drop the pedal on the right, and go.
Steering is just as sporty and predictable, and is of the point-and-holy-shoot variety. The XKR goes where you want it to, when you want it to; it’s as simple as that.
When you’re ready to really push this Jag to its limits, there’s both a “Sport” setting available via the pop-up Jaguar DriveSelector (you can forget about a manual transmission), as well as a dynamic mode that can be activated at the push of a button.
These change the vehicle’s dynamics, tightening up the suspension, holding gears longer - the usual. The change is very noticeable to say the least.
Oh, and for those who need to keep themselves - and their insurance rates - in check, there’s a speed limiter you can activate to notify you when you’ve reached a pre-set limit. Believe me, this is a fantastic feature, because the XKR reaches excessive speeds without even breaking a sweat.
And speaking earlier of the lack of a manual transmission, the XKR does include paddle shifters to give the driver a slightly more involved experience. You can activate the clutchless manual mode simply by pressing one of the paddles, or by moving into Sport mode. Careful in Sport mode, because the vehicle won’t shift up for you, even when the tachometer needle cruises past the redline.
With all this talk of performance, it would be wise to touch on the XKR’s comfort and luxuriousness, both of which it has a lot. This is legitimately one of the nicest car interiors you’ll find anywhere. Everything fits tightly together, the stitching looks fantastic, all controls have a nice tactile feel to them, and the chrome shines brilliantly throughout - in fact, a little too bright on sunny days.
The standard front bucket seats are really comfortable, and unlike a lot of other coupes that make ingress and egress a chore, it’s really quite simple getting in and out of the XKR. That said, considering what this vehicle is capable of, the seats could stand to be slightly more body-hugging. There is an option for upgraded sport seats, though.
I won’t bother getting into the details of the rear seats - you need me to describe how useless they are about as much as you need to be told how mindless and explosion-heavy a Michael Bay movie is going to be.
For those who use this vehicle as a daily driver, even the cargo space is pretty nifty. The rear hatch opens tall to show a generous amount of room considering what the XKR is meant for. Plus, those rear seats with the deep scoops are sure to hold a couple of bags of groceries securely in place.
But try not to pay too much attention to that. This vehicle may not get as much attention as coupes from Porsche or BMW, but it’s every bit as awesome.
2012 Jaguar XKR
Price as tested (before taxes): $120,525
Options on test vehicle: Dynamic Pack ($10,900) inc.: 20-inch wheels, red brake callipers, 10 mm lower ride height, upgraded dynamics settings, body-coloured side sill extensions, rear diffuser, XKR aerodynamic pack (front splitter and larger rear spoiler), increased maximum speed; heated windscreen ($300); stainless steel pedals ($200).
Configuration: front engine/ rear-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 5.0L supercharged V8/ 6-spd auto. with sequential shift
Power/torque: 510 hp/ 475 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): Premium (65L)
Fuel economy ratings: 14.1 L/100km city; 9.1 L/100km hwy
Observed fuel economy: 12.8 L/100km over 584 km
Warranties: 4 years/80,000 km (comprehensive)
Competitors: BMW 650i; Nissan 370Z; Porsche 911