The Jaguar XKR range has carried an aura of a subtle and smooth gentleman's racer with it. But for those who considered 503bhp less and wanted a bit more power and drama for some reason, nice people at Jaguar are giving them the option of the XKR-S with a 543bhp and a very loud and snarly active exhaust. Our day out with this blue cacodemon proved us that this is the most extreme Jaguar in the entire line-up yet. In fact with power generation figures as much as the legendary XJ220 states that the XKR-S is the most powerful car Jaguar sells today.
Already the XKR is a handsome looking brute with beautiful GT car proportions. The XKR-S's design has more been dictated by the laws of physics than artistic overload. The added vents and louvers on the body are there to channel air around it to extract the best possible aerodynamic advantages, be it straights or corners. The 5.0 litre V8 breathes through the large front intakes and bonnet vents.
The long low nose and the long sweeping curves end at that mean looking rear end with a large spoiler and those four snorting muffler tips. The luxury and elegance of the XKR has been preserved here, with the gains of those aerodynamic tweaks. The XKR-S still looks a beautiful GT car but now with added muscle to go with the guts.
While opening the pillar-less door and entering the cabin, you cannot help but notice that in the pursuit for more performance, the XKR-S has not lost its class and comfort. The interior is a mass of leather and man-made fibres. Everything, from electrically adjustable seats, to dual zone climate control, to cruise control, and even that brilliant gear selector that rises up when the ignition is turned on, is all here.
The seats cuddle you in to stop you swaying from side to side when the g-forces reach ridiculous levels. The bolstering can be electrically adjusted to further ease different drivers with different proportions. Theoretically there are two seats in the rear, but are barely usable.
The instrument cluster is simple and legible, with just the correct amount of information and less unfathomable numbers. There is also a boot that can comfortably hold that Jaguar driver's favourite luggage, golf bag. Everything aside, this GT still preserves all the craftsmanship and finesse of a true to its heart Jaguar.
Engine and performance
At its heart sits the same 5.0 litre supercharged V8 that powers its other siblings, although in a different state of tune as mentioned earlier. Power is now up 40bhp and the total output now sits at 543bhp. Peak torque now developed is 680Nm, which is a 55Nm hike over the XKR. This boost in power means the 0 to 100kmph sprint takes a mere 4.4 seconds. The XKR-S runs into the electronic buffers at 300kmph.
And then is the fantastic sounding exhaust note that is loud enough to be heard 3 kilometres away. While driving the XKR-S you get that feeling of never ending power from its engine to the extent of backing off the accelerator pedal even on straights. And this is when you are in D, push and turn the gear selector to S mode and XKR-S responds even quicker to the driver inputs. And best part is that the exhaust system gets even louder satisfying your sonorous fixation.
Ride and handling
One concern that crops up looking at the XKR-S is that maybe the legendary Jaguar ride quality has gone for a toss while making it a faster machine. But rest assured, the XKR-S's ride quality is still supple and plaint. Not as much as the XKR, but considering the way this one goes round corners it is very good. Tiny undulations and ripples on tarmac are absorbed as, not to forget, it still has to be a GT car. The handling in sport mode is now even more accurate and precise.
Point it in a direction and it does what you ask it to, and faster. Even if you want the tail sliding, it is very manageable and you can bring it out of any situation as long as the surface is dry. On wet surface, or even remotely damp tarmac, the big cat might pounce on you going around in a cloud of white tyre smoke. However, get it right and it will very likely give its competition a run for their money, be it Lamborghinis, Porsches, AMG's.
The XKR-S is a genuine thoroughbred Jaguar and it still stands true to its name. It is a tail happy track monster with the capabilities of a long distance GT car. You can sit in comfort, listening to that magnificent Bowers & Wilkins audio system and prowl around the city on slow evenings. Or when the mood takes you, turn the music off, put it in Sport and drive away on the alluring exhaust note. You might question that the same can be done on the XKR which costs lesser money. Yes you can, but remember, power corrupts and the XKR-S has a lot more in it.