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Massively symbolic of Jaguar's new dawn
Fabulous to drive, has great street presence and the quality to match more expensive rivals. A Jaguar XKR in the same breath as an Aston Martin Vantage V8? Actually yes.
The XKR instantly feels more forgiving than its rivals no matter what arena you pick for it. Strangely, even the 20-inch wheels don't destroy the ride, so we'd always advise going big. The convertible was created alongside the coupe, so it suffers from virtually no scuttle shake.
The XK is relatively light at under 1600kg (coupe), so motivation from either the normally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 or the supercharged XKR 4.2 is more than adequate. You lose tenths for the convertible, but with the stock 4.2 hitting 100kph in just 5.9 seconds and on to 250kph and the ‘R' sprinting to 100kph in 5.0 dead, you won't lose any face at the traffic lights.
All of a sudden an XKR isn't a golf-course staple - this is a cool car again.
Jaguar has tried hard with the XKR, and the quality is way, way up even though it's treading a fine line with the wood and tech interior. Early cars had an awful electric post aerial, but that's a distant memory...
Slightly more comfort-orientated than a Porsche 911, the XKR is still one of the most exciting cars to drive that Jaguar has ever made. Poised, comfortable, alive - it has the big GT game pretty much wrapped up. It can't stay with the Germans at the absolute limit, but the compromises for daily life are infinitely better judged. The convertible is equally at home.
Technically this is a 2+2, but you'd have to be really sadistic to want to put anyone in the back - leave the hitchhikers on the hard shoulder. Given that the old XKR was a lesson in ‘big car, small interior' packaging, the new version is a joy - great room for tallies in the front and a hatchback in the rear, making for a really quite practical sports GT.
Not cheap, but resale should be good.