Jaguar XKR Speed review

Jaguar's flagship coupe gets two new options packs to make it look meaner and go faster

Evo rating
from £82,455
  • Bragging rights
  • 155mph+ isn’t often achievable

What is it?

A Jaguar XKR that goes faster and looks darker. Technical highlights?

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

The speed limiter has been raised from 155mph to 174mph but the power and torque figures are unchanged from the standard car. A new front splitter and a larger rear spoiler help keep the car stable at the higher V-max. Meanwhile, if you spec the Black Pack then gloss black paint is added to the mesh grille and window surrounds. You also get 20in gloss black Kalimnos wheels.  What’s it like to drive?

Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to test out the new limiter but I have absolutely no doubt that it will hit 174mph and still feel like it could easily go another 20mph faster. However, I did have a lot of fun reacquainting myself with the XKR. It feels ludicrously fast (much more so than the 0-60mph time of 4.6sec suggests)  and the sense of speed is heightened because it feels like it’s almost floating across the ground rather than absolutely nailed to it like, say, a GT3.

There are two buttons on the transmission tunnel that are worth pressing. The first disables the DSC and the second (with a chequered flag on it) engages ‘Dynamic mode’. With these pressed, the throttle response is scintillating – all the travel seemingly compressed into the first half-inch – and oversteer is delightfully easy to provoke and ride. Dynamic mode also gives the exhaust its extremely full voice.

Strangely on circuit the XKR actually feels slightly too twitchy with the nose reacting quickly and almost upsetting the tail at the same time. Bizarrely the XFR is actually more enjoyable as a track car as it is better balanced.

The ZF gearbox remains the best automatic available in any car on sale today. The algorithm which chooses when to change down gear in Sport Mode is uncannily, almost spookily good. How does it compare?

With both packs added, the Jaguar’s price is getting towards Aston Martin V8 Vantage territory. However, the XKR should in no way be thought of as the Aston’s poor relation - the ride is better in the Jaguar and the Aston will struggle match it for straight line pace too. Ultimately, it will probably boil down to how much you are seduced by the looks of the Vantage…

Anything else I need to know?

You can only get the £4000 Black Pack if you buy the £3500 Speed Pack. GT3 RS style body decals are an option with the Black Pack but were thankfully left off our car.


EngineV8, 5000cc, Supercharged
Max power503bhp @ 6000rpm
Max torque461lb ft @ 2500rpm
Top speed174mph (limited)
On saleNow

Most Popular

Aston Martin DB4: review, history and specs
Aston Martin

Aston Martin DB4: review, history and specs

1959 was a watershed year for Aston Martin. As the DBR1 swept all before it on the track, the first customers were taking deliveries of the all-new DB…
11 Oct 2020
SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car

Over a decade after SSC last entered the record books, its Tuatara has claimed the title of world’s fastest production car
19 Oct 2020
Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble

Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble

Is Cupra about to get hold of Audi’s brilliant five-cylinder petrol engine?
19 Oct 2020
Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot

Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot

Heated-up Renaults but no A110 replacement for Alpine as it follows in Cupra and Abarth footsteps
21 Oct 2020