What is it?
The Jaguar XKR-S Convertible, the entirely predictable drop top version of the most powerful XK coupe.
The R-S gets tweaks to the suspension (focussing on camber and castor stiffness) as well as a reprogrammed Active Differential to increase stability at high speed.
What’s it like to drive?
The XKR-S is truly monstrously fast, and being open to the elements only adds to this sensation. The ride is very good, as you’d expect from a Jag, but those lured in by the R-S badge might find the experience a little less hardcore than they were expecting. The six-speed ZF gearbox is still very good for an auto and the paddles attached to the back of the steering wheel respond well, but it now lacks a little edge and alacrity compared with the best double clutch ‘boxes.
If you like having more power than grip, then this could be just the car for you. It will spin up its tyres with incredibly little provocation, especially on the wet Irish roads where we conducted most of our first drive (a habit made life extremely interesting!). In the wet the steering is a little too light and lacking in feedback to give you all the information and confidence you want in order to place the front wheels in a turn. In the dry with more resistance from the tarmac, however, this would improve.
How does it compare?
For a little less money (or about the same with a few options), you can buy an Audi R8 Spyder, which is still our pick of all the convertibles. We would be inclined to say that you consider the £20k cheaper standard XKR Convertible as well, unless you really want the extra wings and the (admittedly lovely) Recaro seats of the R-S.
Anything else I need to know?
Being a convertible obviously means that you hear the Performance Active Exhaust all the better, and in this case you’re treated to a deep, rough-edged snarl, with just the occasional hint of high-pitched supercharger whine too.