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Jaguar XKR Coupe review




Not too long ago I got behind the wheel of a Jaguar XF, which proved to be a very accomplished car in terms of design, build, drivability and, most importantly, technology. The XF was a real triumph for Jaguar, allowing the company to shake off the dry and staid image that many had associated with it. Put simply, the XF is as good a luxury saloon as you're likely to find, and Jaguar should be very proud of that fact. Now I've got an XKR sitting in the car park, which currently sits at the top of Jaguar's range and promises to provide all the thrills of a sports car coupled with the luxury and comfort of an executive saloon.

The XKR definitely looks the part. It's all sleek, smooth lines that hark back to the iconic E-Type and make the car look like it's moving, even when it's not. Many who saw the XKR parked up remarked that it looked like an Aston Martin - now I'm not sure if Jaguar would see that as a compliment, but I can't help but feel that it's an indication of success as far as design goes.

Things are no less impressive inside the XKR, and I have to say that Jaguar is up there with the best when it comes to cabin design. The XF had a beautiful cabin, but the XKR takes things up a notch with a liberal sprinkling of aluminium and glossy black panelling. You also get the same moody blue cabin lighting as seen in the XF, as well as the solid metal dial for gear selection - it really is a lovely place to sit.

And then there's the performance, which is, to put it mildly, astounding! Under that long, sleek bonnet is a supercharged 5.0L V8 engine that pumps out 500bhp and 460lb/ft of torque, and believe me when I say that it makes this car unbelievably rapid. Now I regularly drive fast cars, but the surge of power that the XKR delivers when you put your foot down is simply epic. The sound it makes will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention, and in case you're worried, there's no hint of supercharger whine either.

The chassis isn't too shabby either, and the XKR is surprisingly agile for such a large and relatively heavy car. To be fair, this is very much a grand tourer (GT) rather than an out and out sports car, but if you fancy throwing it around your favourite roads on a Sunday morning, you won't be disappointed. Even considering the automatic gearbox, I defy any petrolhead not to step out of an XKR with a smile on their face.

Of course I could spend the next few pages talking about the brutal power and dynamic ability of the XKR, but here at TR it's the technology that counts, so let's see what Jaguar has packed into its powerhouse coupeā€¦


December 2, 2009, 2:37 pm

Great review, Riyad. I imagine that many people, like myself, enjoy reading this kind of review, even though we can't afford a car of this class. It's nice to dream, and to have aspirations!

It would be interesting to know what your own point of reference is though. When you say "I can't help but feel slightly underwhelmed when I slide into the driver's seat of my own car" what car is that? This is not such a meaningful statement if your own car is a Ford Escort.



December 2, 2009, 3:40 pm

He does mention later on in the review. He owns a Porsche 911 Carrera S 997. The lucky sod.

Rich 42c5

December 2, 2009, 3:40 pm

Riyad's car -

Specs include -

  • Poo brown

  • Missing hub cap

  • wet dog odor

  • leaking sun roof

  • cassette deck


December 2, 2009, 4:59 pm

That Maestro isn't even an 'MG' version!


December 2, 2009, 6:16 pm

*sigh* we can but dream...and with six years of university loans to repay I think dreams are the only place I'll ever drive a car like this! Great review as usual. Perhaps the reason people compare the Aston and Jag is that the DB7/DB9 and the XK/XKR were designed by Ian Callum and were based on the same XJS platform. I can't remember for sure but they may even have shared engines!


December 2, 2009, 7:06 pm

@dev - The DB7 and origninal XK shared the same platform. I'm not sure that they shared engines though.

@Rich - now you've spoiled everything. And there was I pretending that I knew something about cars :(


December 2, 2009, 8:50 pm

@Riyad Fair play, cheers for the info! Still...you wouldn't complain if you got any one of them would you ;)


December 2, 2009, 9:17 pm

Riyad's CV in brief:

- Ran the labs at PC Pro

- Editor in Chief at PC World Magazine

"He also hired and trained many of the IT journalists that populate the industry today."

Sounds less like luck and more like career dedication to me!


December 2, 2009, 10:20 pm

I had a spin in one of these a couple of months ago... the ICE was very good, and it's one of the best in car sat-navs I've used. The DAB was rubbish, but that's probably as much a problem with the signal in my area. And the B&W stereo... oh yes.

The thing did seem a bit overpowered for the chassis/setup to me, and the build quality of the interior was average, but it's an awesome machine.


December 2, 2009, 11:25 pm

@purephase: "the build quality of the interior was average" - what car would you rate as having above average interior build quality?


December 3, 2009, 3:32 am

On a completely different note anyone realised that rich added a picture comment - I believe this is a first for TR


December 3, 2009, 3:33 am


Don't get me wrong - I really liked the car. The interior was well laid out and the materials are good, but it just didn't seem that well put together. I think the usual German rivals are better in that respect, which is not to say I'd choose them in preference!


December 3, 2009, 5:13 am

@dev - we can but only dream...

Have a look though. Whilst the in car technology might not be up to spec with this review, you can easily pick up a Jag XK 4.0 V8 supercharged with well under 100k miles for less than 10 grand these days. You'll have to go back to a Y plate or so, but they are out there.


December 3, 2009, 4:13 pm


And get it insured for two lads aged 23 (+ 3 points) and 20 years? Hehe thanks for the suggestion anyway, perhaps I'll suggest it to my dad as a mid-life-crisis gift to himself that I can 'share' :)


December 3, 2009, 4:43 pm


If you're having a slow afternoon stick your info in for a quote - I could use a laugh ;)


December 3, 2009, 4:57 pm

I could get insured on this XKR for a mere £5600. 21, three years' no claims bonus.


December 28, 2009, 6:15 pm

If you splash down £72,400.00 for the car a mere £5600 to insure it is just some additional pocket change ;)

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