UK drive of sharper, more extrovert tourer. Shame about the price.

Our Verdict

Jaguar XKR-S GT
Jaguar's £135,000 XKR-S GT is powered by a 542bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8

The Jaguar XKR-S GT is very quick, very loud and very rare. It is the ultimate Jaguar XK

What is it?

The fastest, and most powerful roadster Jaguar has ever produced - tested here for the first time on UK roads. Yet the funny thing about the Jaguar XKR-S is that it shouldn’t work. Not only is it a car that has its roots firmly in grand touring of the more gentile (if rapid) kind, but it has a soft top. And something that looks quite this hardcore rarely comes with a retractable roof.

Ultimately this is a soft-top version of the XKR-S Coupe that we first tested last year, getting the same 542bhp, 502lb ft from the supercharged 5.0-litre V8. As Jaguar is keen to point out, the all-aluminium XK was designed from the off as a cabriolet as well as a coupe and so it loses little of the tin-top’s rigidity.

As well as the power upgrade, the XKR-S gets uprated suspension (softer at the rear than the coupe), and a modified exhaust as well as better downforce produced by the styling tweaks.

What’s it like?

The misleading thing here is that the XKR-S is not the track-oriented mentalist that the aggressive body addenda hints at. In fact, it’s a much more rounded, and certainly still a road-biased thing.

In practice it does feel firm, but not in an uncomfortable way. In fact, if anything this is one of the rare instances where the convertible rides with a little more suppleness than the coupe equivalent. It manages an impressive blend of full-on, hairy-chested, slightly bonkers performance without too much compromise to the touring ability.

Even refinement is good, though if that’s your main concern you’re unlikely to be considering this model. In fact, the noise that the XKR-S makes is only ever going to be a selling point. It really is on another level to the standard XKR, and being able to drop the roof and get a little more exposure to the angry bark it emits only makes the convertible’s appeal even clearer.

Ultimately, driving the XKR-S is like meeting a psychopath in a well-cut suit. It’s so ludicrously overt in its intentions, yet at the same time it can be really quite civilised.

However, there are some problems, namely the £103,000 price tag, which puts the XKR-S at £18,450 over the standard XKR convertible and a number of other seriously good sports roadsters. And whilst we can only be impressed with the sharper turn-in, more aggressive noise and responses, and more dramatic experience, the non-S still promises such a blissfully well-sorted experience that it’s hard to justify.

Should I buy one?

Ultimately, if you won’t be happy unless you get the fastest, baddest XK out there, then this is it and you will be mighty pleased with it, because it’s brilliant. But for those happy to live with a little less posturing, the XKR makes for a better value buy with little compromise to the everyday experience. After all, it’s difficult to feel short-changed with ‘only’ 505bhp under your right foot.

Jaguar XKR-S Convertile

Price: £103,000; Top speed: 186mph; 0-62mph: 4.4sec; Economy: 23mpg; Co2: 292g/km; Kerb weight: 1795kg; Engine type: 5000cc, V8, supercharged; Power: 542bhp at 6000-6500rpm; Torque: 502lb ft at 2500-5500rpm; Gearbox: 6spd auto

Join the debate


16 November 2011

Somehow, surprisingly, this works better than the tin top.

Maser Gran Cab now has dropped down my list.

(usually spend 2 grand on a car so know it's a dream to the extreme list)

16 November 2011

Now we need this 550bhp engine in the XF so that it can take on the new generation of M5,E63, etc. And then in the XJ, just for the sake of it!

16 November 2011

[quote Fidji]Now we need this 550bhp engine in the XF so that it can take on the new generation of M5,E63, etc. And then in the XJ, just for the sake of it![/quote]

Yes please.

16 November 2011

One hundred and three thousand pounds?

Grace, pace, and piss poor value? GTR, all is forgiven.

16 November 2011

The 5.0 normally aspirated convertible sounds nicer, looks nicer, rides better and does the whole 'convertible on a sunny day' thing better. And it will still pull 0-100 in around 12 seconds. Even that's not cheap at £71K, but it's a far better buy than this at £103K.

I can see why one might want the 550 bhp in a fixed-head XK, but really can't see whey you'd want this particular combination of features. Mind you, I've never understood why people want a convertible 911 Turbo either, and quite a few seem to, so that's me told...

16 November 2011

[quote Submariner Redux]Mind you, I've never understood why people want a convertible 911 Turbo either,[/quote] I agree, SR. (And on an aesthetic level too.) Even with todays curved windscreens, rear head protection, and hot air blown from the headrest, after 40 mph most drop tops invite severe buffeting, the faster you drive the worse its gets. And isnt an open-topped car meant to have the driver enjoy scenery thus engaging all the senses?

16 November 2011

[quote Los Angeles]

One hundred and three thousand pounds?

Grace, pace, and piss poor value? GTR, all is forgiven.

Nicely put. Quality car but 103 big ones is somewhat frightening.

17 November 2011

[quote Evo_ermine]Nicely put. Quality car but 103 big ones is somewhat frightening[/quote]

Totally agree. I love this car and the coupe version but £103,000 is just too much. I would go for the normal XKR which to my eyes looks better and goes almost as hard for a lot less.

It does seem as if Jaguars are getting a tad expensive

17 November 2011

This puts the Jaguar into the same price range as a Maserati GranCabrio - a far more gracious and spacious choice - I know because I looked at the lack of room in the Jag and bought the Maserati !

17 November 2011

This price is more of an indication of intent from Jaguar that it intends to price the XK replacement closer to the DB9's of this world rather than the 911's (that it's frankly sick of being compared to when one's a GT and one's a sports car.)

This is a way of getting customers used to the idea that you can pay more for a Jag.


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