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2012 Jaguar XKR-S First Impressions

2012 Jaguar XKR-S

As if an XKR wasn’t mean enough, Jaguar’s latest addition exposes an anger I have not yet seen before seen in an English automobile. The XKR-S has no clue what “discreet” means, and frankly, we can all be glad about that.

At this year’s AJAC TestFest, the XKR-S was undoubtedly the most spectacular piece of machinery on the lot, and it’s not because there weren’t any other high-powered beasts on the premises (such as the BMW 1 Series M Coup and 650i Cabriolet, the Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG, the Porsche Cayman R as well as a trio of Chrysler SRT8 models).
Spine-tingling engine sounds
The XKR’s supercharged 5.0L V8 gets a power increase for S duty, producing a grand total of 550 metric horsepower as well as 501 lb-ft of torque from 2,500-5,500 rpm. Paired with a 6-speed automatic (with paddle shifters), the XKR-S blasts to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and, according to Jaguar, can reach a top speed of 300 km/h. Blimey.

Beyond whipping the arse of every other 2012 TestFest contender in a straight line, the story here is that the blown V8 is damn noisy – the kind of climax-inducing wail that’s so addictive you’ll call your real estate agent during the test drive and remortgage the house. Or the villa. Or the ranch. Whatever; you’ll want fast money.

On the closed course set up at the Niagara District Airport runway, my talent behind the wheel reached its limits way before the car did. However, on a second run around the track the surface was wet, and the XKR-S become pretty twitchy: no revelation here, as the fat 295/30ZR20 rear tires can only do so much when it comes to handling so much firepower.

Around town, the engine does hush down quite a bit allowing you to cross paths with the men and women in blue without causing any fuss. Then again, flying under the radar is pretty challenging when your XKR-S is dipped in French Racing Blue paint.

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