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.