Find a car review

Make
Model

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

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

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

Have You Considered

Visit/mercedes/gle/201748/2019-mercedes-gle400d-review-a-worthy-original
Mercedes GLE

2019 Mercedes GLE400d review – a worthy original

12 Sep 2019
Visit/porsche/porsche-911-carrera-4/201744/2019-porsche-911-carrera-4-and-carrera-4-cabriolet-detailed
Porsche 911 Carrera 4

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 Cabriolet detailed

12 Sep 2019
Visit/mercedes/201726/mercedes-amg-electric-car-to-target-porsche-taycan-and-tesla-model-s
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG electric car to target Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S

10 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/18328/2020-volkswagen-id3-revealed-vws-electric-revolution-is-here
Volkswagen

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 revealed - VW’s electric revolution is here

9 May 2019

Most Popular

Visit/features/17721/the-best-family-cars-that-are-fun-to-drive
Best cars

Best family cars that are still fun to drive

Saloon, hatchback or SUV, family cars come in all shapes and sizes, and needn’t be a snore to drive. These are some of the team’s favourites.
13 Sep 2019
Visit/abarth/201755/2020-abarth-595-pista-arrives-with-162bhp
Abarth 595

2020 Abarth 595 Pista arrives with 162bhp

The supermini has been given a new Garrett turbocharger, paint options and tweaks inside
13 Sep 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
Features

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
13 Sep 2019
Visit/article/201613/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-picked-by-porsche
Sponsored

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - picked by Porsche

Goodyear has many close associations with premium global car brands, but being asked to develop a trackday tyre for Porsche's extreme 911 GT3 RS was a…
14 Aug 2019