Since 1997, when Jaguar introduced its current generation XK, sales have gone through the roof, especially on the convertible, which outsells the coupe by 8 to 1. As trendy and attractive as the drop top is, the Coupe is actually sleeker and sportier. And in the case of the XKR (offered in either version) it really doesn't get much better.
For 2005, the supercharged coupe received a few mild refinements, but overall it's the same sexy beast capable of sprinting from zero to 60 mph in only 5.3 seconds. That's a surprisingly rapid pace considering the XKR's heft (3,865 pounds) and overall dimensions (188 x 82 inches).
Much of the weight seemingly blows out the window, as acceleration is swift and forceful, a direct result of its 390 bhp. Its 4.2-liter, 32-valve V8 is quite the animal, offering nearly 100 bhp more than the normally aspirated XK8. Mated with a smooth six-speed automatic transmission, the XKR rockets to speed with great enthusiasm and continues to run without hesitation. Cruising at 90 feels like a leisurely drive through the park. Thanks to its slippery aerodynamics, wind noise is minimal, barely a whisper. Virtually the only sound is the rhythmic hum of the fine tuned engine. Squash the pedal and the blower chimes in with characteristic harmony. It's music to my ears.
Engineered with a stiffer body structure and equally stout suspension, the XKR is particularly sporty, able to corner with surprising agility and not bad for a car that's more than a foot longer than a 911. Giant cross-drilled rotors and bright red Brembo calipers peer through equally massive 20-inch alloy wheels, which are, naturally, wrapped in performance rubber. Regardless of its pleasing handling traits, the XKR is more at home on the open highway or cruising Main Street.
A nod to the elegant styling of the classic first-generation E-Type, the XKR draws its fare share of attention and is by far the best looking coupe from Jag in decades. In typical Jaguar fashion, the cabin is wonderfully luxurious, clad in rich leather upholstery and trademark burl walnut trim. A pair of Recaro front bucket seats are well bolstered and keep you snug behind the wheel. The car does have two rear seats, but you will be hard pressed to fit a small child back there, let alone a fully-grown adult, which renders it pretty much useless.
While it's comfortable once you're settled in, headroom was a bit tight, as might be expected considering the low-slung roofline. Rear visibility was also slightly compromised. Hey, style comes at a price. And at around $90,000, the XKR doesn't come cheap. On the plus side, the coupe offers decent trunk space with 11.5 cubic feet (10.8 for the ragtop). Factor in a long list of creature comforts and safety features such as Computer Active Suspension, Dynamic Stability Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, Ultrasonic Parking Assist and Bluetooth connectivity and this coupe is about as tech-savvy as you can get.
Inspired by over 70 years of legendary performance and design, the XKR offers elegance, power and prestige like only a Jaguar can.
From the Hip
+ Supercharged performance, luxurious cabin, generous trunk
- Limited head room, poor rear visibility
2005 Jaguar XKR
Price as tested: $90,695
Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
4.2-liter V8, dohc, four valves per cylinder, supercharged and intercooled
Peak Power: 390 bhp @ 6100 rpm
Peak Torque: 399 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
0-60 mph: 5.2 sec.
Top Speed: 155 mph (electronically limited)
Fuel Economy: 17 city/ 24 hwy