Reviews

Jaguar XKR review - prices, specs and 0-60 time

The revised XKR has been almost overshadowed by the XFR, but it’s a great car

Evo rating
Price
from £72,400
  • Fastest, best-looking, most rewarding Jag
  • The kids will have to stay at home

There’s a tendency to think of the new Jaguar XKR as a contractual obligation rather than a fresh initiative. You know how it goes. XFR hogs the headlines with its shiny new 5-litre supercharged V8 and hi-tech underpinnings – XKR gets the same drivetrain and chassis updates but as a fortuitous spin-off rather than measures implemented at the leading edge of its development. But that would be to seriously underestimate the XK’s importance to Jaguar. It might be the old man of the line-up but it by no means bows to the XFR and has been configured to deliver a different driving experience to its saloon sibling. 

There’s a crucial relationship between cross-range harmony (the family DNA, if you like) and model differentiation. It’s particularly interesting in this case because the current- generation XK has been the touchstone for so much of the cross-range development work that has come downstream of it.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

What does it offer that the XFR doesn’t? Beyond the obvious points – two fewer usable seats, more stares from the street – it’s the logical extension of the XK’s sporting personality, a car that applies some bias to the broad repertoire of abilities so meticulously balanced in the XFR. In short, it’s lighter, a little faster, a little louder when pressing on, more responsive (throttle, steering, brakes) and more playful in Dynamic mode, allowing slightly more mobility of the tail within prescribed limits before the electronic safety net is deployed. In cold figures, the power/weight ratio jumps from the XFR’s 270bhp/ton to 291bhp/ton and the 4.6sec 0-62mph time shaves a tenth from the saloon’s.

Naturally, there’s some rationalisation, too. Apart from sharing the terrific new 5-litre supercharged V8 (503bhp at 6000-6500rpm, 461lb ft at 2500-5500rpm), the exterior and cabin have been treated to a similar ‘R’-style makeover with a new aggressively ducted front bumper, LED tail-lights and, on the inside, the adoption of the XF’s centre console rotary gear selector while, cosmetically, the mix of dark wood and aluminium trim apply the necessary sporting tweaks to the ambience. 

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Even setting off from the hotel car park at the launch, the XKR’s sharper character is immediately evident. With just a light prod of the throttle that would have seen the XFR step briskly but unremarkably into Seville’s morning throng, the XKR leaps forward with genuine brio and a small chirrup from the tyres. Braking to a perfectly smooth stop isn’t as easy, either. It’s as if the XKR is straining at the leash, yearning for a stretch of open road. Even at this stage, it feels tauter and more eager than the saloon.

Confirmation that it is comes soon enough as we strike out for Grazalema and Ronda. Whereas the XFR is a willing accomplice in any raid on three figures, the XKR positively eggs you on. And if you want to know how the new, blown V8 really sounds, this is the place to hear it. Thanks to the Ferrari-style active exhaust valve, it has a fine, gravelly timbre that went completely unsuspected in the XFR.

As with the saloon, though, the astonishing torque delivery defines the quality of the performance. Using the paddles to flick between third and fourth delivers punishing thrust for what seems like just a handful of revs. Anything much more than half throttle and the acceleration acquires a sustained weight rarely experienced outside an airport runway. 

The XKR feels a little edgier and harder than the XFR but still rides with great composure. Turn-in has real bite and conviction, mid-bend responses are beautifully clean and crisp and damping control is simply sublime. Equally impressive is the transient behaviour. The intestinal S-bends that characterize the CA9104 between Grazalema and Zahara present no problem at all; the Jaguar shifts its weight with the lithe precision of a world-class downhill skiier. Great as the XFR is, the XKR sounds better, goes that bit harder and, on the right road, is more fun. It’s the best car Jaguar makes.

> Find used Jaguar XKRs for sale on the Classic and Performance Car site here

2009 Jaguar XKR specifications

Engine   5000cc supercharged V8
Max power   503bhp @ 6000rpm
Max torque   461lb ft @ 2500rpm
Top speed   155mph (limited)
0-60mph   4.6sec (claimed)
Price    £72,400
On sale  Now
Advertisement
Advertisement

More on XKR

Visit/jaguar/xkr/13977/jaguar-f-type-coupe-tuned-by-arden
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar F-type Coupe tuned by Arden

Tuning specialist Arden has given its own twist on the F-type Coupe, with various styling upgrades, and an uprated supercharger kit. Details here
2 Sep 2014
Visit/jaguar/xkr/13949/jaguar-e-type-lightweight-revealed
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar E-type Lightweight revealed

Fifty years after production ceased, Jaguar has revealed the first of six new lightweight E-type models
12 Aug 2014
Visit/jaguar/xkr/13923/jaguar-svo-builds-f-type-concept-for-team-sky
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar SVO builds F-Type Concept for Team Sky

Jaguar's Special Vehicle Operations division has created a one-off F-type Coupe support car Team Sky's Tour de France team. Pictures and details here
23 Jul 2014
Visit/jaguar/xkr/13864/jaguar-land-rover-announces-new-special-operations-department
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar Land Rover announces new Special Operations department

A new specialist division within Jaguar Land Rover, called Special Operations, will offer custom and special project vehicles to customers. Details he…
13 Jun 2014
Advertisement
Visit/jaguar/xkr/13805/jaguar-f-type-on-the-worlds-greatest-driving-road
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar F-type on the world's greatest driving road

evo goes in search of the world's best driving road, starting with a Jaguar F-type on the Transfagarasan highway in Romania. Video here
6 May 2014
Visit/news/evonews/292138/david_brown_speedback_gt_apes_db5_costs_500k.html
Jaguar XKR coupe

David Brown Speedback GT apes DB5, costs £500k

The David Brown Speedback GT mates retro, Aston DB5-like styling to modern Jaguar XKR mechanicals
24 Apr 2014
Visit/jaguar/xkr/13729/jaguar-xk-production-ends-picture-gallery
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar XK production ends: picture gallery

Time has been called on Jaguar XK and XKR production. Our picture gallery charts the model range's history
11 Mar 2014
Visit/jaguar/xkr/13580/jaguar-f-type-r-tops-coupe-range
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar F-type R tops Coupe range

The Jaguar F-type Coupe is official at last, the range topped by the 542bhp F-type R
20 Nov 2013
Visit/news/evonews/291256/la_motor_show_2013_roundup.html
Jaguar XKR coupe

LA motor show 2013 roundup

All the stars and highlights from the 2013 Los Angeles motor show, including the Jaguar F-type Coupe and Porsche Macan SUV
19 Nov 2013
Visit/jaguar/xkr/7268/jaguar-f-type-project-7-review
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar F-type Project 7 review

The Jaguar F-type Project 7 is a roofless speedster concept with a big power rise. Even more exciting?
2 Aug 2013
Advertisement
Visit/jaguar/xkr/13397/jaguar-xkr-s-gt-coming-to-the-uk
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar XKR-S GT coming to the UK

The Jaguar XKR-S GT is the most extreme version of Jag's XK coupe yet, and it's now going on sale in the UK. Full details here
31 Jul 2013
Visit/jaguar/xkr/14102/jaguar-f-type-v6s-v-porsche-911-cabriolet
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar F-type V6S v Porsche 911 Cabriolet

The smaller-engined Jaguar F-type takes on its key rival: the entry-level drop‑top Porsche 911
19 Jul 2013
Advertisement
Visit/news/evonews/289183/evo_magazine_june_2013.html
Jaguar XKR coupe

evo Magazine: June 2013

Jaguar F-type vs Porsche 911, Boxster and Aston V8 Vantage, Audi R8 Plus vs Ferrari 458 and McLaren 12C, Lotus Elise megatest, mk7 VW Golf GTI
23 Apr 2013
Visit/jaguar/xkr/13171/2013-jaguar-f-type-v-porsche-911-cabriolet-video
Jaguar XKR coupe

2013 Jaguar F-type v Porsche 911 Cabriolet video

Tiff Needell gets the new Jaguar F-type alongside a Porsche 911 at Bedford to see which is the most fun on track. Video action here
19 Apr 2013
Visit/jaguar/xkr/7228/2013-jaguar-xkr-convertible-review-and-pictures
Jaguar XKR coupe

2013 Jaguar XKR Convertible review and pictures

As the new F-type Roadster nears sale, we reassess the similarly priced and powered Jaguar XKR Convertible
13 Mar 2013
Visit/jaguar/xkr/13022/low-mileage-jaguar-xj220-up-for-auction
Jaguar XKR coupe

Low mileage Jaguar XJ220 up for auction

A low mileage Jaguar XJ220 has been consigned to the 9 March Historics at Brooklands car auction
18 Feb 2013
Advertisement
Visit/jaguar/xkr/13015/jaguar-f-type-first-ride-video
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar F-type first ride video

Hear the new Jaguar F-type Roadster's fantastic soundtrack as we ride in it for the first time in this video
13 Feb 2013
Visit/jaguar/xkr/12977/jaguar-f-type-roadster-first-ride
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar F-type Roadster first ride

evo's Harry Metcalfe rides in the new Jaguar F-type, and senses a bit of a sports car revolution
4 Feb 2013
Visit/jaguar/xkr/12960/jaguar-xj220-tuned-by-overdrive-ad
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar XJ220 tuned by Overdrive AD

Little known Bulgarian tuner brings the Jaguar XJ220 supercar up to date
25 Jan 2013
Visit/jaguar/xkr/12947/jaguar-f-type-tuned-by-arden
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar F-type tuned by Arden

German tuning company Arden takes its spanners to the Jaguar F-type, boosting power to 542bhp
22 Jan 2013
Visit/features/features/287023/martin_brundle_and_his_eagle_etype.html
Jaguar XKR coupe

Martin Brundle and his Eagle E-type

We meet Martin Brundle and his gorgeous Eagle Jaguar E-type. Plus Ferraris, Goodwood Revival and his surprising first car
5 Nov 2012
Visit/jaguar/xkr/12418/new-york-show-jaguar-f-type
Jaguar XKR coupe

New York show: Jaguar F-type

Jaguar has confirmed that its new sports car - based on the C-X16 concept - will be called the F-type
4 Apr 2012
Advertisement
Visit/jaguar/xkr/12282/video-jaguar-xkr-s-convertible-around-dundrod
Jaguar XKR coupe

Video: Jaguar XKR-S Convertible around Dundrod

A video guide to a historic motor racing venue - Ulster's Dundrod Circuit - with a Jaguar XKR-S Convertible to help
17 Feb 2012
Visit/jaguar/xkr/7110/jaguar-xkr-s-convertible-review
Jaguar XKR coupe

Jaguar XKR-S Convertible review

Jaguar has produced a soft-top version of the mighty XKR-S - but is it as good as the XKR-S coupe? evo's Henry Catchpole decides
8 Feb 2012
Advertisement