In the rarefied air of this automotive segment, there are a few must-have items to be checked off the list. I want elegant exterior styling with subtle muscular design cues. I need a comfortable interior that is fitted with up-scale materials, up-dated technology, and provides adequate support if the road gets twisty. Finally, I need a power plant under the hood that growls, snarls, pops, and shouts at me when I push the gas pedal to the carpet – yet remains civil and smooth when I pick my wife up from a long day at her office.
So does the 2010 Jaguar XKR cover all areas of my checklist? No.
It lights the list on fire while slapping me in the face… it has everything I want and more.
The XKR is a damn good car to stare at, regardless of whether it is moving or standing still. I had more than one person ask me if it was an Aston Martin… not a bad car to be confused with, and proof the that exterior style works. Those who know even a little bit about cars however, can tell that this is indeed an aluminum-skinned jungle cat. The exterior lines flow smoothly from front to back with the occasional protrusion to hint at the fact this is no mere shuttle for smooth sailing between point A and point B.
The interior of the Jaguar is a simply a nice place to be. The soft-grain leather seats are both heated and cooled. The sound is pumped through a magnificent Bowers & Wilkins 525 watt audio system with a six-disc changer. The climate controls, audio system, and navigation system are accessed through an easy-to-reach touchscreen. The interior is wonderfully laid out and quite comfortable. The seats also provide the aforementioned required support when I feel like pretending the Pacific Coast Highway has morphed into the Isle of Man.
It is not all perfect inside however – the touchscreen was confusing to use at first because of the way the menus are arranged. It was not very intuitive. I also wish the graphics could be brought up a few notches. Once I learned how to use the system though, it became second nature – it’s just that the learning curve should have been much shorter.
New for this year, and easily the most exciting part of the car, is the 5.0L V8 under the hood. With the aid of a supercharger, the XKR produces 510 hp, and sends it out to the rear wheels. The six-speed automatic transmission goes from luxury car smooth to neck-snapping fun with the slap of a steering-wheel mounted paddle. This car, to put it quite un-eloquently… hauls ass.
Oftentimes, when reviewing a car, it is nice to turn the traction control off (or as far off as the computer will allow) and really enjoy the experience. Not so for this XKR. The traction control system does a marvelous job of wrangling all the rear-wheel power without hurting any of the fun behind the wheel. Turn that off and the car turns into your choice of : a) a burnout king or b) the next star of Fast & Furious: Liverpool Drift. A & B can be fun at times, but for wringing out the most of the car without ending up as guardrail paint – I recommend keeping the watchful eye of HAL partly in check. Besides the traction control, there is a button near the console-mounted gear selector with a picture of a checkered flag on it. This one you do want to push. It puts the car into Dynamic Mode, which firms up the suspension, increases throttle response,and lets you rev the engine up to the limiter in each gear.
The 2010 Jaguar XKR is truly a polarizing luxury sports coupe, with many seemingly contrasting words fitting as a proper description. The car has a classical style yet boasts a powerful stance with strong features (like the rear hips and the front lower air vents). The interior space is luxurious yet a comfortable place to sit while pushing a car to its limits. The engine … well there is nothing polarizing about the engine. It is a true beast that makes driving the XKR a joy with every press of the start button.
The 2010 Jaguar XKR coupe starts at $95,150.00 and the one you see here wears the optional ($5,000) 20-in Nevis wheels. This, along with destination, pushes the car to an even $101,000. This is the second time we have reviewed a powerhouse luxo-rocket with a six-figure price tag… only this time it makes sense.