What is it?
A curious edition of the Jaguar XKR, which has a 174mph top speed rather than the electronically limited 155mph of the regular car.
The Speed Pack comprises no more power than the standard car’s 503bhp, but the engine and transmission are recalibrated to allow the higher top speed (still electronically limited, incidentally). To increase high speed stability a new front splitter and a larger rear spoiler, both reducing lift, are fitted, while the steering’s sensitivity at very high speeds is reduced to make the XKR happier in a straight-line too.
Speed Pack cars can be had in seven colours, on different 20-inch alloys to the standard car, while there are also a couple of other very minor exterior changes. It adds £3500 to the price.
Jaguar has also just introduced a Black Pack, a bunch of interior and exterior styling changes that make the XKR look more aggressive. You have to add the Speed Pack first, bringing the total to £4000.
What’s it like?
Pretty much like a regular XKR, to be honest. I strongly suspect you’d have to try a pair back-to-back at very high speeds to discern any notable difference between the two. Certainly, at any speed you can reach in the UK, the Speed Pack just behaves in the same manner as regular XKRs.
Not that that is a bad thing, you understand. We’ve long thought the XK is a terrific car and, although some say the naturally-aspirated V8 is the best handler of the lot (‘tis true), there’s something to be said for the appeal of the supercharged XKR’s extra thump.
It’s a cracking engine, and the six-speed torque-converter auto’ it drives the rear wheels through is tightly controlled. So it’s a peachy drivetrain but, even so, it’s hard to imagine too many people feel it’s one that’s overly restrained by ‘only’ being allowed to reach 155mph. You’d trouble that limiter on very few racetracks (Silverstone’s Hangar Straight, perhaps) and even on very few sections of German autobahn these days.
It’s as-you-were for the ride and handling; the XKR is one of the most capable and comfortable grand tourers around, with a fine ride/handling balance. The Speed Pack is coupe only, by the way.
Should I buy one?
Frankly, it’s hard to see very many people exploiting the objective improvements that the Speed Pack brings over the standard XKR. I suppose there might be the odd person who wants to shave a few seconds of their commute from Hannover to Berlin, but it would be entirely academic for most drivers. Nonetheless, with or without the Speed or Black Pack, the XKR is a lovely car.
Jaguar XKR Speed Pack
Price: £78,445 (£78,955 with Black Pack); Top speed: 174mph (limited); 0-60mph: 4.6sec; Economy: 23mpg; CO2: 292g/km; Engine type: V8, supercharged, petrol, 5000cc; Power: 503bhp at 6000-6500rpm; Torque: 461lb ft at 2500-5500rpm; Gearbox: 6spd automatic