Supercharged big cat growls
Ah, England. Land of Shakespeare and soccer hooliganism. Afternoon tea and A Clockwork Orange. The Royal family and The Long Good Friday.
What I’m trying to get at is that old Blighty is a place where genteel doesn’t always mean gentle. And, when it comes to car companies, perhaps no British manufacturer captures this multi faceted essence better than Jaguar.
If Aston Martin is a company building motorcars for gentlemen, then Jaguar makes boulevardiers for bounders. It’s the car company for the caddish, the luxury line for cockney gangsters, the designated driver of the devilish.
Of course, these days, the Jag everyone’s talking about is the lithe and lovely F Type. Not since, well, since the E Type has a Jaguar captured the imagination this way. As such, the other two door Jaguar offering has moved into its shadow somewhat.
Introduced in 2005, and on the market by 2007, the XK may have gone a little long in the tooth. Make no mistake though, this supercharged version of the big cat is still one sabretoothed tiger.
Design Where Germanic rivals favour sharply creased aggression, the XKR simply flows along its form. It’s a good looking car this, classically styled with that long bonnet and short rear section, flared rear haunches and smoothed out shape.
Its designer, Ian Callum, once famously claimed to have found inspiration in actress Kate Winslet’s curves. Flattering, I suppose, though I’m not entirely sure Ms. Winslet would appreciate being compared to a car with four rumbling exhaust pipes.
The XKR stands out from the colourful fallen leaves, resplendent in white, a car that’s not angry looking but beautiful.
My week’s tester came equipped with the optional Black Package, which adds in various blackaccented aerodynamic enhancements, and 20 inch alloy wheels that are painted bright pink.
Just making sure you’re paying attention they’re gloss black, naturally. I’m not sure I’m completely sold on their combination of steel screws and shiny black surface it’s a bit like seeing Her Majesty wearing a biker jacket but it’s optional anyway. Environment Much like the pub down the road from where this car is built, everything inside the XKR has a certain old world charm, and some of it probably needs replacing. If we’re pulling at threads, the steering wheel looks a bit outdated, and for such a big car, it’s pretty close quarters in here.
Also, the touchscreen navigation system is slow to react and looks dated. You can tell that this car is half a decade old.
However, the seats are excellent, very comfortable and fitted with full adjustability including variable side bolstering. It’s not an option either, the standard seats are excellent. And while there’s a lot of shiny piano black plastic, the rest of the car’s inside looks just right for this price range.
The shifter is a pucksized disc of metal that rises up from between the seats when the starter button is pressed. You twist it to go into gear: it’s a bit theatrical, but theatre is what this car is all about.
As the XKR is nominally a 2+2, it does technically have rear seats. These are almost completely useless the only way your kids would fit in there is if you had them dehydrated, ground into powder and then vacuum packed into five pound bags.
Happily, the trunk is surprisingly spacious, and should easily accommodate both the luggage required for a weekend getaway, and whatever bits of leftover offspring remain.
Performance The Jaguar XKR comes with a 510 horsepower supercharged V 8. supercharged V 8. It goes. Cor blimey does it ever! Jaguar claims a 0 100 kilometres per hour time of something like four and a half seconds for this big GT, but that’s not the really impressive bit. It’s the phenomenal shove from that big b ray ban lown eight that’s simply stunning. Roll on acceleration is outstanding you feel like you’ve just lit the fuse on the world’s biggest Guy Fawkes firework and are along for the ride.
The rumble that accompanies this rush ain’t half bad either. It’s a lusty growl that’s just the sort of soundtrack you want for a car with a leaping cat emblazoned on the rear. The Jag simply explodes down the road like a steam locomotive escaped from the tracks.
And then you ask it to turn. There’s grip. Even with Vancouver now fully ensconced ray ban in wet weather season, there’s still plenty of grip. Sadly, it’s just not enough.
If you put the XKR in Dynamic mode, it’s all too easy to get on the throttle a bit too aggressively, and then watch out you’ve got a tiger by the tail. The back end steps out, swinging around until the traction control steps in and stops the fun. Well, not fun exactly. It’s all a bit lairy and hairy for the public roads.
It’s a big car this, and if you’re brave enough to turn off traction control, there’s a lot of pendulum to catch. Beneath the leather lined luxury lurks the heart of an absolute beast, and it’s not necessarily interested in making friends with you.
In short, it’s a bit badly behaved which, for a Jaguar, is exactly what you want. Features The XKR is very well equipped right from the get go, with the only options on my tester being the aforementioned Black Pack at $4,700, a no cost black headliner, $200 for stainless steel pedals, and a $300 charge for a heated windshield. I would leave the last out: it’s a unique feature, but it does interfere with night time visibility.
Navigation, Bluetooth, those adjustable seats everything else is standard on the car; that’s the way it should be in the luxury car segment, but not always the way it is.
Fuel economy is officially rated at 13.9 litres/100 kilometres city and 9.2 l/100 km on the highway. Ha! As if. Driven gently, the highway mileage might not be too ba ray ban d, but the city fuel consumption is. . well, supercharged V 8, whaddya expect? Green light Styling; acceleration; comfortable cabin and roomy trunk grace, pace, and space.
Stop sign Useless rear seats; dated, clunky navigation; older interior design; thirst for ray ban premium fuel.
The checkered flag A Jaguar, through and through.
Competitor BMW 6 Series ($99,800) The perfect rebuttal to the Jag’s Vulcan fighter jet impression? This Bavarian V 2 rocket. With a twinturbocharged V 8, the Bimmer is years ahead both under the hood and in the cockpit.
Of course, that’s if you’ve shelled out for the right options. What’s more, you probably need to step up to the much more expensive M6 model to get the same performance as the XKR. Hard to think that you could call a Jaguar a bargain, but there it is.
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