Last winter, I had to confess to my police officer son-in-law and our friends in law enforcement that I had violated the speed limit laws of our state. I threw myself on the mercy of those who could understand why driving a Jaguar XKR coupe would cause someone to exceed the posted speed limit.
Well, I recently tested the convertible version of the XKR, and I am a repeat offender.
My recidivism is due to the fact that the XKR has a 510 horsepower supercharged V-8 hooked to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It will go from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, and those are among the most fun 4.6 seconds you can have behind the wheel of an automobile.
If you’ve ever been on Disney’s “Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster,” you know the feeling. The ride stands still, then jolts riders to 57 miles per hour in just under three seconds while Aerosmith is blaring on the sound system.
If you want that same feeling, hop in the 2011 XKR, download “Sweet Emotion” into the 525-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio system, crank it up, and hit the gas.
Even though the XKR is fairly large and heavy, it has great steering and an adaptive suspension system that makes it superbly maneuverable, even in traffic.
With this car, it’s all about the performance. The naturally aspirated Jaguar XK produces 385 horsepower, but whenever Jaguar adds an “R” to the name of the vehicle, that’s always a good thing. The XKR is the supercharged version of the XK, and produces 461 lb.-ft. of torque.
Inside, there’s classic Jaguar luxury. The seats are heated and cooled, with four memory settings. And that’s a good thing too, because the seats adjust 16 ways. If you can’t get comfortable in these seats, it’s time to call the chiropractor.
When you push the keyless ignition button, the gear shifter knob rises from the center console. Turn the knob one click to the right and you’re in reverse. One more, you’re in neutral and one more for drive. Paddle shifters add even more to the sporting experience.
The XK’s exhaust sounds rumble deep and powerful, but the XKR adds an active exhaust system and an acoustic filter to produce an even more powerful sensation. Two pairs of tailpipes peek from below the snubbed rear end.
The car’s navigation, climate control, Bluetooth and audio control settings are all displayed in a 7-inch touch screen monitor. All XK and XKR interiors are soft-grain leather with contrast stitching and oak or burl walnut veneers.
The new Jag has not been tested by the government for safety, but front, front side and thorax airbags are standard. The car has a rollover protection system, an adaptive restraint system and performance brakes.
Jaguar has made a special limited edition of the XKR coupe for the 75th anniversary of the first cars to bear the Jaguar name.
The XKR will deliver 15 miles per gallon in city driving, 22 mpg on the road. Not that great, but maybe not a great financial concern if you can afford the $102,125 base price. If you want the optional 20-inch Takoba wheels, they’re an extra $1,250 — each.
With $875 in destination charges, the bottom line on the test XKR convertible was $108,000.
So this iconic Jag is obviously not for everyone. But if they found oil on your land, if you’re a rock star, if you invented Post-its, or if you became wealthy some other way, you ought to experience the 2011 Jaguar XKR.
It’ll save you a trip to Disney World.