I thoroughly enjoyed this review of the 2010 Jaguar XKR Coupe from Car and Driver.
WHAT IS IT?
The XKR coupe is the fastest and most beautiful car in the Jaguar line of fast and beautiful cars. For 2010, the XKR is even better dressed with a cleaner, more aggressive front fascia; LED taillamps; and new 20-inch wheels. And just when you thought it couldnt—or, given its demure gaze and voluptuous curvature, shouldn’t—get any faster, Jaguar goosed it with a supercharged version of the stellar new corporate 5.0-liter V-8, with a whopping 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque under its bonnet. (For reference, we hustled the last, 420-hp XKR to 60 in 4.5 seconds.)
HOW DOES IT DRIVE?
If I had three words to describe the XKR, they would be fast, fast, and fast. Seriously, while it may look all debonair and mannerly, when you hammer the go-pedal, hold on for your life. We didnt have test equipment on hand during our time with it, but one thing is for certain: the latest XKR is waaaaaaaay faster than last years model. I fully expect the 2010 model to hit 60 in four seconds flat, maybe less. Moreover, unlike some 500-plus-hp cars, it doesnt feel overpowered (yes, there is such a thing—ahem, Viper). On the contrary, particularly when pushed, the aluminum-structured XKR feels uncannily light, as if it suddenly sheds 1000 pounds, dancing with the sort of agility normally associated with 370Zs and Boxsters. Credit the light, precise steering, instant-on brakes, and a rear axle that steps out easily then hangs on like a tetherball. If there’s a dynamic bone to pick—and this should surprise no one—its that the XKRs rear wheels could use about double the rubber if they are to get all that power to the ground. Oh, and that traction control is mighty meddling.
HOW DOES IT STACK UP?
The XKRs competitive set couldnt be tougher, including the Maserati GranTurismo and Porsche 911. But no worries, cat lovers, it can easily hold its own, undercutting each not only in price but in straight-line acceleration if, as I expect, it ends up being a four-second car. As a hatchback, it is also somewhat more practical, though the Maser definitely has the edge in the rear-seat department. Still, the XKR has never been so competitive with those two cars as it is now. Oh, and a word of warning to hot-shoes in M5s and Corvettes: this Jaguar may look slinky and elegant, but dont piss it off; like its predatory namesakes prowling the jungles of Central America, it can catch you and eat you.