The new XKR-S is Jag’s hottest XK yet, a 542bhp beast based on last year’s75 anniversary special but with even more power. And this time it's got mouth as well as trousers.
The front end of the XKR-S features a pair of gaping nostrils delivering air to the supercharged V8, and a black mouth that gives it a very different look to the faux E-type nose found on other XKs. At the back there’s prominent hoop spoiler and part of a diffuser, although since it extends about a hair’s breadth under the car, it might be more for show than go.
It’s probably better to think of it having some of the flavour of extremely focused cars like GT3, but still retaining a very Jaguar feel, and therefore a load more civility than the Porsche.
So while Jag has finally fitted some body-hugging Recaro chairs, you won’t find anything so grubby as a roll cage in there. Its closest rival would probably be Maserati’s new Granturismo-based MC Stradale.
By any normal standards the XKR is a great performance coupe. But it is a new XKR-S inherits some of the tricks first aired on last year’s 75 anniversary special to lift the R-S onto another plane dynamically, including a very stiff aluminium front suspension upright. So the steering is more precise, incredibly alert and full of feel.
The body control is superb too, and not just on smooth roads. Throw in some bumps and the XKR-S barely notices, somehow managing to glide over them. A very acceptable pay-off is the noticeably knobblier low-speed ride, particularly since you also get 39bhp and 39lb ft more to play with than in the regular XKR.
- How much? £97,000
- Engine: 5000cc 32v supercharged V8, 542bhp @ 6000-6500rpm, 501lb ft @ 2500-5500rpm.
- Performance: 4.2sec 0-62mph, 186mph, 292g/km, 23mpg.
- How heavy? 1753kg, aluminium.