2010 Jaguar XK
The XKR convertible should feel inferior to the XKR coupe
in just about every way. Except it doesn’t, because the geniuses who designed it in Coventry, England decided to do the whole thing backwards, building the convertible first and fitting the coupe around it. It’s proven an effective tactic, blessing the convertible with uncompromised poise and feel while only packing on an additional 110 lbs over the coupe. That means it’s still legitimately fast – 0-60 mph comes in a holy heck 4.5 seconds – and also a good steer on twisty roads. On a sun-soaked day with the top down and the active exhaust blaring a supercharged V-8 soundtrack, it doesn’t get much better.
What's to Like
In sunny weather, just about everything – typically lavish Jaguar refinement, the heavens above and the supercharged V-8 – blend together into blissful perfection. With the top up, wind noise is nearly nonexistent. Where the regular XK
fells like it has just enough power, the supercharged XKR comes across as properly potent. Did we mention the direct injection 5.0-liter engine with 510 horsepower?
What's Not to Like
Digital screens located in the instrument cluster and on the center console prove difficult to read in direct sunlight. Strangely, there is no rear windscreen and the rear windows cannot be raised when the roof is down, leading to lots of wind noise and buffeting for taller drivers. Trunk space is quite limited, though we have seen worse. You can’t scroll backwards on your iPod in shuffle mode – a small gripe, but still.
The DriveDriverSide Driving Impressions
For a performance car, the XKR’s active suspension is incredibly forgiving, remaining floaty over even extremely coarse surfaces. It simply glides over the road. The steering is direct but power-assist is dialed up so high it feels about as authentic as non-dairy creamer. Still, it’s accurate and predictable – all that really matters in a near-two-ton convertible. As with the XF
and XK, the six-speed automatic transmission remains excellently judged, blipping paddle-activated downshifts with sophisticated precision. The supercharged engine means power delivery is torque-heavy at all revs, but the engine really comes alive above 4,000 rpm. And thanks to active exhaust, you’ll get to hear that V-8 roar when you’re standing on the throttle, but it will quiet down under normal load.
Engine and Drivetrain
The XKR gets its power from a vocal, 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 engine that cranks out 510 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque, enough to get the coupe to 60 mph in roughly 4.5 seconds. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a six-speed ZF automatic transmission with paddle shifters and a dedicated sport mode.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
Active rollover protection comes standard on all XK convertibles. It’s a clever system that protects occupants by deploying two aluminum bars if imminent rollover is detected. Also of note is the ASL button on the center console, or “Automatic Speed Limiter.” It essentially assures you don’t accelerate beyond a speed you’ve set with the cruise control.
Key Technology Evaluation
There is a lot of luxury built into the XKR, with rims, uprated brakes, premium speakers and adaptive cruise control being the only optional add-ons. A USB link for your iPod comes standard, but the interface doesn’t allow for going back one track while in shuffle mode, so if you skip a song, don’t expect to hear it until you’ve looped through your entire playlist. Inflatable side bolsters on the seats provide the best of both worlds – loose, comfortable freeway cruises and snug, sporty canyon drives.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
For a 5.0-liter V-8, the XKR returns surprisingly decent fuel economy, achieving 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. Admittedly, those aren’t fantastic numbers, but 20 mpg on a Saturday afternoon cruise is pretty decent for a 510 horsepower supercharged V-8.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
Simplified by a multiple menu touchscreen system, the XKR’s interior is able to avoid heavy use of buttons and achieves a clean interface as a result. Seemingly every surface is covered in some form of soft leather. Stylish and elegant, it leaves little room for improvement.
The soft-top looks somewhat cumbersome when up, and it provides comically minimal rear visibility, so you’re best leaving it down. 19-inch wheels come standard and provide plenty of grip. There are many exterior colors are available, but really, just go for the British Racing Green. It’s a Jaguar.
Market Segment and Pricing
With an MSRP of $102,005, the 2010 Jaguar XKR competes in a very exclusive market. Rivals include the $99,800 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet
, $102,600 Mercedes-Benz SL550 and $108,150 BMW M6 convertible, all of which have the firepower to keep up with the mighty Jag’s performance.
What We Think
The 2010 Jaguar XKR convertible is the ne plus ultra of the Jaguar lineup, and, with the most firepower under the hood – a 5.0-liter, 510-plus horsepower V-8 to be exact – this may also be the fastest Cat ever made. It’s sumptuous. sexy and fast and is everything a Jaguar should be. At about $102,000, it’s not inexpensive, but the best things in life rarely are. A compelling buy, if one has their druthers.