Warning: The Jaguar XK-R is likely to face ire from girlfriends or wives. So much of x-appeal could drive any woman to fall out of love with it just no sooner than you fall in.
UPSIDE: Very powerful, Good looking, Value in the sport luxury segment, Happy handling
DOWNSIDE: Fuel-thirsty, Front corner visibility compromised, Outdated cabin refinements, Some layered controls
The Price: XK – 335,000 to 355,000; XK-R – AED 465,000 to 604,000
Specs: AT THE END OF STORY
The five litre V8 that powers this car, supercharged in the XK-R and naturally aspirated in the XK version, has no dearth of useful muscle. In fact, the XK-R that I am driving is ready at the slightest nudge to display its performance capabilities.
With 510hp output, the engine is shared with the new Range Rover Supercharged but today it feels much more powerful and faster than the Range itself. The Supercharged motor shows a little delay, but only a little.
Even those who hopped in for a short ride are going to remember this car for the sound of it. Especially in the sport mode when the needle briskly tides past 3000rpm, all the way up to the red line which falls in the higher 6000s. But the resounding flutter of the V8 that flowed out through the twin pipes on either side would merely be a teasing soundbyte for the cars behind you. For, the XK-R is fast. Along with its amazing manoeuvrability, this Jag can actually weave its way through slow moving traffic with the precision of a bending bullet. The XK-R accurately slides into its trajectory in bends and corners. Though I should add that the visibility ahead, thanks to the low-pitched seating, suffers a bit in frontal angles especially when judging curves and corners.
The large-ish steering is easily manoeuvrable and responds on an almost one to one ratio with the wheels. The Jaguar XK-R ties its knot with your grip to never let go, sharply turning in with ease. The wheels, of 20 inch diameter, tread over road imperfections effortlessly and that’s what probably keeps the firm drive still smooth enough.
The natural downside to tremendous power is poor fuel efficiency. In my mixed drive, I fared 16.5 litres per 100 kms which turned out to be far better than what the car had clocked in its lifetime, going by the computer. Still, it is hardly more than 6 kms per litre!
The Jaguar XK-R does come with six-shift paddles but probably the most sporty element in this cabin is the sport mode itself. It brings out both the acceleration and the exhilaration at their best. 0 to 100 in sport mode came up in 4.6 seconds and with the top down, in 4.8 seconds.
The Jaguar XK-R is a fine example of a rear wheel drive sports car with its clear hint of oversteer, wheel slide and torque spin. But the car retains much of its manners all along, even when I press the chequered flag aka the dynamic mode to squeeze a little more fun out of its fantastically balanced chassis.
One of the most glamorous combinations of tin and tinsel, the Jaguar XK-R doesn’t let an overload of design cues to interfere with its classic looks that ends with its production in the spring of 2014. Just those red lateral lamps, chrome lamp niches and the wide oval grille do fine. The side airvents are a signature of the XK-R, looking aggressive beyond its functionality. This is the façade that inspired the absolutely stunning new F type but the XK-R effectively carries on the character that has stayed with it for almost two decades.
Cabin and Controls
Now, therein lies the problem as well. The interiors of the Jaguar XK-R too carry on that legacy making it slightly outdated. Thinly veiled in leather just above the hard plastics, there is no excess whatsoever of luxury or the softer feelings that high end dollars bring. But hey, no complaints; one of the sexiest cars in town is truly admired for what is under its hood.
The uncluttered console has only the buttons for the air conditioning and the sound system. The rest is taken care of by the 7-inch full colour touch screen. The controls are slightly layered when you compare them with the rest of the Jaguar family, be it the navigation or the audio. What is kept fairly simple is the Bluetooth connectivity and the parking aid with rear view guidelines.
The Bowers and Wilkins music system is supposed to be peerless but I found the Meridien in the Range Rover more impactful. Talking about acoustics, what the coupe version can never match is being privy to the take-off roar of the XK-R, in full steam.
Questions that pursue me: Why does one have to hold on to the button while the roof retracts all the way? And why doesn’t the AC turn off by itself as in the Bentley GTC?
Except for the fact that you can carry on with your car even as your family grows – because of isofix preparations in both the rear seats and the false promise of cramming a couple of people in the rear – there is not much family factor to it especially with a boot designed to fit not more than a golf pack with the roof down.
True, the car doesn’t have much of a body roll and the seats are comfortable though not extra-bolstered. The seat controls on the door move up and down in enough ways to cover up for your bad posture. What I didn’t like was the way the seat-back folded slightly each time the seats were being adjusted, making further fine tuning necessary.
Surprisingly there is not much road noise even with the 20 inch wheels, but the wind noise inevitable in a thinly covered convertible cuts straight in. But when you have power that can mask everything else, you really won’t mind.
The Essential Jaguar XK-R
The XK-R is a powerful beauty of a car and compared with its rivals, offers great value despite the bits of compromise within the cabin luxury. My question to someone who says it is a noisy car: “Why don’t you settle for a hybrid? There are many of them around.”
While a Jaguar XK can be yours from AED 335,000 onwards, which I think is tremendous value for the presence and pre-eminence you’ll enjoy on the road, the ‘Supercharged’ makes all the difference in an XK-R. However, the price itself is supercharged; starting at AED 465,000 to reach a whopping 604,000 in my test car.
XK: 5L all aluminium V8 engine, 385 hp @ 6500 rpm, 515 Nm @ 3500 rpm, 6-speed automatic with Jaguar Sequential Shift, Rear Wheel Drive, Top speed 250 kmph locked, 0-100: 5.5 sec (5.6 for convertible)
Dimensions: Length x width x height: 4794 X 2028 x 1322 mm, 2752mm wheel base, 330 L Load space (200L with roof down), 1660 kg (Convertible 1696kg)
XK-R: 5L Supercharged, 510hp, 625Nm, Top speed: 0-100: 4.6 seconds, Fuel: 6km/L
Drive and safety features: Dynamic Stability Control, Airbags front and side, Adaptive Emergency Restraint System, Emergency Brake Assist, Front and Rear parking sensors, Reverse parking camera
Drive Courtesy: Al Tayer Motors
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy