Jaguar XKR 5.0 L V8: A cat possessed

XKR is the among the fastest and most powerful production sportscars Jaguar has ever built.

Written by Vikram Chaudhary | Published: April 13, 2013 1:00 am

The XKR is the among the fastest and most powerful

production sportscars Jaguar has ever built. We find how it fares in real-world driving conditions

Now,I have driven a number of supercars—Audi R8,Mercedes SLS AMG,Jaguar XKR-S,Audi R8 V10 Plus and Audi TT,in that order—but all of these experiences have been in controlled conditions on the track. So,when given an opportunity to drive one on Delhi roads,and that too on a relatively traffic-free Sunday,I couldn’t resist. In fact,I was also curious to find out how does a supercar fare in real-world driving conditions.

And there I had,at my door step,the Jaguar XKR—the fastest and most powerful production sports car Jaguar had ever built,before it came up with the XKR-S. Now,it just doesn’t look like any other car—the first thing you will notice is that it is long,really long; at 4,794 mm,the XKR makes the Audi TT or the BMW Z4 look puny. Then,the design is such that even while standing still,the XKR looks fast—its athletic lines and muscular rear haunches exude some kind of visual energy,and the twin-exhausts add to its aggressive posture. (In fact,Ian Callum,Jaguar design director,claimed that the inspiration for the shape of the XKR came from his admiration for British actress Kate Winslet’s curves!) Under that immense bonnet,there is a monster of an engine—a 5,000-cc supercharged V8 petrol motor that churns out a maximum power of 375 KW (510 PS) at 6,000-6,500 rpm and a maximum torque of 625 Nm at 2,500-5,500 rpm. That makes it among the most maniacs of all Jags.

You have to bend low,quite low,to get into the XKR,and once you do,you will find yourself in the lap of luxury. Although this is not a premium luxury saloon,Jaguar has left no stones unturned to make you feel good. You sit on soft grain leather sports seat that are not only comfortable but also look good with contrast stitching lines. The interior trim is finished in decorative veneers,the steering wheel is multi-functional,you have basic features such as automatic climate control and electrochromic interior rear-view mirror,and under your feet rests a carpet mat set with Jaguar script and logo. Although the XKR is a two-seater,you have two more small seats on the back,but which are good enough only for kids. In fact,I took a friend to a ride who took the rear seats and she exclaimed,“The rear seats are not made for humans!”

As you fire the engine,it produces a slight purring sound,which is barely audible inside the cabin. At the same time,the rotary gear-shifter rises from its slot on the centre console. Once you put the six-speed automatic transmission into the D (drive) mode and release the brake,the car slowly moves forward. A soft press on the floor-mounted accelerator pedal and the engine growls,but slightly; a little more and you are pushed back into the seat as the massive surge of torque takes over. In no time,actually in just 5 seconds,the XKR reaches a ton. But wait,this was just the D mode! Want more? Get into the S (sports) mode,step on the pedal,and the XKR shoots forward like a cat possessed. The acceleration in the S mode is so terrific that it seems everything around you is being fast-forwarded. In this mode,the 0-100 kmph time is even faster. And the best thing about this whole experience is that the XKR,from 2,000 rpm onwards,sounds epic. The XKR doesn’t seem to lose steam at any speed and goes on to hit a top whack of 250 kmph. Plus,even though it is a six-speed gearbox as compared to other supercars that have seven or eight gears,the gearshift is quick and seamless.

Now,as the slogan of Pirelli goes,“Power is nothing without control”. To control this cat you have features such as dynamic stability control and Jaguar high performance braking system that has gun-metal brake calipers. And it rides on large,really large,20-inch alloy wheels and 245/45 size tyres that grip the road like a gecko.

Alas,we don’t have Autobahns in India. So,the major trouble you might face with the XKR is a low 100-mm ground clearance—which means that,if not ridden carefully,your supercar might scrape over some speed-breakers on Delhi roads. Then,even at half throttle,the XKR crosses the 60 kmph speed limit set for some Delhi roads. So,the only option is to take it to the expressways,but even there you cannot cross 100. In such a scenario,you have to keep in mind that the stunner is not the knockout three-figure speeds,the stunner is the way the XKR reaches those speeds—the engine is sensationally responsive. Additionally,it rides brilliantly and can carry two people in utmost comfort.

As far as competition is concerned,you have cars such as Aston Martin Virage,Ferrari California,Porsche 911,maybe the Audi R8 and a model or two of Maserati—almost all of which cost more than the XKR,which is priced at R1.19 crore,ex-showroom,Delhi. But don’t forget that,at the end of the day,Jaguar is a Tata company and this means relatively easy availability of spare parts,more dealers and easy servicing.

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