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2011 Jaguar XKR Review by John Heilig +VIDEO

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Jaguar XKR convertible



Model: Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V8

Horsepower/Torque: 510 hp @ 6,000-6,500 rpm/461 lb.-ft. @ 2,000-5,500 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters

Wheelbase: 119.4 in.

Length/Width/Height: 201.7 x 74.6 x 57.0 in.

Tires: P255/35ZR20 (F)/P285/30ZR20 (R)

Cargo volume: 10 cu. ft. (top up est.)

Fuel economy: 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway/15.0 mpg test

Fuel capacity: 21.7 gal.

Curb weight: 4,281 lbs.

Sticker: $108,375 (includes $875 transportation and handling charge, $5,375 in options ($5,000 for wheels)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Jaguar XKR convertible

Five reasons to buy this car
1. Power
2. Handling
3. Luxury
4. Comfort
5. It's a Jaguar

The Bottom Line: Jaguar's have always had a certain panache about them. Sadly, it's usually at a cost. The XKR is no exception. The cost is into the six-digit range, but for that you get superb Jaguar power, handling and luxuriousness.

It's not just because I owned one once, or because this is a powerful, expensive car, it's because the Jaguar XKR is as close to what would result if I had the talent and resources to design and build a car.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Jaguar XKR

First, there's the sensual experience of opening the door and sitting in the comfortable leather-appointed seats. There's the smell of the leather. There's the comfort of the seat holding you in. There's the wood and leather dash in front of you. There's the multi-function steering wheel that you grab. There's the Jaguar exclusive pop-up shifter that rises out of the center console.

Under the hood is a supercharged 510 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 that is as smooth as it is powerful. Supercharging is a much better way of increasing power than turbocharging because you don't get the sudden boost of power; it's more gradual. Power reaches the rear wheels (as it should in a real car) through a 6-speed automatic transmission. there are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel if you choose to play that way, but in all reality, even though this is an XK, the manual option isn't really necessary.

The excellent power emanating from the engine can be sensed, even at low speed. Acceleration (0-60 in 4.6 seconds, according to Jaguar) gets you a supercharger surge, but it's more of a push in the back, a very firm push.

The convertible top goes down easily, and I took full advantage of it, even though my wife complained that her hair would get messed up. Unlike my old MG, though, there's very little wind buffeting inside the XK. The trunk suffers when the top's down, but you can always use the (nearly useless) rear seats to stow extra luggage if you and your sweetie are headed off for a fun weekend somewhere. You could probably fit two people in the rear seats, but they wouldn't be comfortable.

Watch the Jaguar XKR Special Edition promo video

Power adjusting for the front seats not only includes fore and aft, rake of the seats and height, but there's also a bolster adjustment that better ensconces you in the seats. Seat controls are on the doors, with memory settings for both seats.

Styling is very much in the E-Type mode, but with a more modern twist. It's more subtle. However, the car enthusiast pre-teenager across the street filled up his memory car taking pictures of the XK.

Along with the excellent audio system, the HVAC is also excellent. We drove the XKR in some pretty high temperatures, but since we had to have the top down, we ran the air conditioner at top level to make the cabin more comfortable. It reminded me of the first winter in my MGA roadster, when I drove around with the top down and the heater on full blast and blankets wrapped around our legs.

I confess to a certain bias for Jaguars, having owned one and written a couple of books about them. But the XKR, which is on its last legs before a new Jaguar supercar is introduced, is exceptional. Yes, I know it's ridiculously priced, but it's almost worth it.

2011 The Auto Page