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Jaguar XKR (2011 - 2015)

SUPERCHARGED STYLE (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Introductionword count: 85

Jaguar's XKR is a British sportscar that takes on the finest and fastest of its rivals with huge reserves of supercharged power and an awesome array of technology to get it on to the tarmac. Just over 500 horsepower from the standard version will be more than enough for most but for those needing performance close to supercar standards, the 542 braked horses of the top XKR-S should certainly satisfy. Here, we look at the later 2011 to 2015 models from a used car perspective.

Modelsword count: 7

2dr Coupe / Convertible [5.0 Supercharged V8]

Historyword count: 268

There are two kinds of luxury sportscar buyer. One wants a comfortable and very fast cruising GT. The other, a harder-edged performance car that's racy rather than relaxed. If you know this market, then you'll also know that something like a Mercedes SL represents the soft-edged sector, with cars of the ilk of Porsche's 911 the choice of more committed enthusiasts. With their XK coupe and convertible models, Jaguar always tried to satisfy both groups, the standard V8 model there to snaffle SL sales and this car, the supercharged XKR version, produced with Porsche and Maserati firmly in its sights. When this supercharged car first appeared in 2006, it represented a principle fine on paper but not quite so effective in practice, seeming to be less of a 911 and more. well.. simply an XK with a lot more power. Like an AMG Mercedes, it was quick in a straight line but you wouldn't want one on a trackday. So the Coventry engineers tried again - and in 2009 brought us a much more effective machine. So-called 'Active Dynamics' were introduced to sort the suspension, while a clever Active Differential aimed to properly aid delivery of even more tyre-smoking power to the tarmac. The result was good enough to convince Coventry that an even faster version was feasible, so to coincide with minor styling and interior updates for the 2012 model year, a supercar-slaying 542bhp XKR-S flagship model made its debut. Enough reasons then to open your wallet wide and say 'R' before opting for this as the used performance sportscar you've always promised yourself? Let's find out?

What You Getword count: 707

Be honest: you want one don't you? You probably wouldn't be reading this otherwise. The dramatic seductively sweeping curves of the bodywork are supposed to have been inspired by those of actress Kate Winslet - according at least to stylist Ian Callum. This was his first Jaguar design and it was also the first of the brand's cars to feature the aluminium construction supposed to make this model 30% stiffer and 100kgs lighter than its XK8 predecessor. You wouldn't know this of course from looking at the shapely profile - and to be frank, you wouldn't guess the fact from looking at the stats either: this car's 1.7-tonne kerb weight makes it no lighter than a rival Mercedes SL and that car has to carry a heavy metal-folding roof. Still, forget the facts: just revel in the contemporary fusion of power, style and uncompromised luxury which, according to Jaguar, is what we have here. It certainly looks an assured piece of work, with the oval front grille and the way the rear cabin tapers in over the haunches both classic E-Type-inspired touches. Even the front badge is a nod to that illustrious sports coupe. The car looks sinewy and muscular, the sheet metal stretched over something seriously purposeful. Not that the whole look didn't benefit from refreshment throughout the XK model's lifetime - as you'd expect given a spell on the market that dated between 2006 and 2015. The 2012 model year wash 'n brush-up we're focusing on here saw the adoption of slimmer front headlamps that incorporated LED signal functions and running lights. Combined with a larger grille and a sleeker bumper design, this all gave the XK a bit more 'rear view mirror' recognition. XKR-specific bits include a more aggressive colour-keyed front bumper that, if not quite as extreme as the one you get on an XKR-S, is certainly menacing enough to scatter fast lane dawdlers as you bear down upon them, incorporating tall air intakes on each side that complement potent side power vents and old-school bonnet louvers. As you walk round the car, you glimpse 'R'-logo-ed brake callipers peeping out through enormous 20-inch 'SUPERCHARGER'-branded alloy wheels, while below the LED lamps at the back, the post-2011 XKR models feature a revised lower valance. Opt for a Convertible XK or XKR and you'll find that like Porsche and BMW - but unlike Mercedes - Jaguar has opted for a fabric roof, the triple-layered hood rising or falling in under 18seconds and slotting neatly beneath an aluminium tonneau cover when not in use. You'd expect the rag top approach to facilitate a larger boot than would be possible on a metal folding topped rival like Mercedes' MK6 SL. In fact, the XK lags a little behind the 364-litres available from its Stuttgart competitor. Still at least the 313-litres you get from the XK Convertible is only 17-litres less than you'd get from the Coupe. And that's almost three times what you'd get from a Porsche 911 Cabriolet from this era, enough to make the difference between pleasant packing into conventional suitcases for a weekend break and uncomfortable cramming of your designer clothes into squashy bags. Inside the wonderful snug yet spacious leather and alcantara-clad cabin, owners of earlier XK models will notice that the fit, finish and choice of materials of the post-2011 version is noticeably more up-market - once they've adjusted to the replacement of the original XK's J-gate auto gear lever with a neat rotary JaguarDrive Selector. It rises up into the palm of your hand after you press a Start button that pulses red on the centre console while around you, the dashboard illuminates and the cabin features are highlighted in a cool phosphor blue. At the same time, the 7-inch colour touchscreen that dominates the centre of the dash lights up, controlling satellite navigation, climate control, Bluetooth 'phone functionality and in-car audio. Around it, dark wood veneer and aluminium trim supply the necessary sporting ambience and electric adjustment of both seat and steering wheel mean it's easy to find the ideal driving position. Behind you, all models offer a couple of occasional small child-orientated seats that'll doubtless be more usually be used for the carriage of designer jackets or shopping bags.

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Category: Coupes

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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