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Road Test: Jaguar XK

Rachit Hirani, 07-Feb-2012. Car Tested: XK, Version: R V8 Coupe
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Introduction

 

Michael Philip Jagger, the man who formed the Rolling Stones is a true English rockstar. Not only does he have an attitude to kill he also has the performance to match with his powerhouse vocals. The same is the case with the car in question here, the new Jaguar XK-R. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, but it’s also a ferocious animal that can be difficult to tame, once you get behind the wheel.  A dedicated driver’s machine, it boasts loads of raw power.

Highlights:

- The Jaguar XK comes with three variants: XK with a 385bhp 5-litre naturally aspirated engine, XK-R with a 510bhp 5-litre supercharged engine and the XK-RS with a 550bhp 5-litre supercharged engine.

- The current Jaguar XK-R is the second generation that went into production in 2006.

- The XK range got the new AJ-V8 Gen III 5-litre petrol engine in 2009.

- Until the launch of the XK-RS recently, the XK-R was the most powerful Jaguar ever produced.

 

Looks and interiors

 

At the moment, the XK is the only GT car on offer from the Jaguar stable, though Jaguar plans to get in a smaller coupe some time later. The XK’s lines are those of a typical British sportscar (and also reminiscent of the iconic E-type); so you have a long bonnet and a short stout rear end. The overall effect, especially when seen in profile, is that of a sleek silhouette. What add to the sporty aggression of this sportscar are the strakes, the air scoops on the bonnet and the fenders and the shallow glass house of the low slung cabin.

The XK-R’s interiors are welcoming and the XK range has the pop-up Jaguar drive select too.  A multi-functional touchscreen controls the audio system with CD, aux and USB inputs, climate control and telephone connectivity.  The touchscreen is a bit slow but it isn’t difficult to use. On the version that we drove an R badge on the steering wheel reminds you of the supercharged engine under the bonnet. The XK is a proper 2+2, with the rear seat being fit only for children. It is better to flip down the seats, and use it for increased storage space.

 

The drive

 

The XK-R’s supercharged 5-litre V8 petrol engine delivers a breathtaking 510bhp and 625Nm of maximum torque at the dab of the throttle, with a sixth generation Eaton supercharger contributing about 135bhp to the kitty. Transmission duties are carried out by a 6-speed ZF automatic gearbox. For quick racer boy shifts, one can use the paddles behind the steering wheel. Push the start button, and the engine burbles to life. With the supercharger, there is no chance of a weak low or mid-range, so plant your right foot in and you will be pushed straight back into your seat. Acceleration, as you can imagine, is feral. 

The Dynamic mode on the XK-R, is just like the Sport mode, wherein the steering wheel becomes heavier, the engine response is heightened and the suspension stiffens. Being a thoroughbred it would be needless to say that the XK-R handles well. But since we’re on the subject, we should tell you it offers loads of grips and will stay true to its line as you flick it left and then right through a series of fast switchback roads. Put it in Comfort to watch the steering lighten and the suspension soften as the XK-R readies itself for the more mundane duties of driving to work.

 

Verdict

From that snarling cat on the bonnet to its sleek lines to the untamed sounds of that feral V8, the Jaguar XK-R is a car that will make you fall in love with it. And it’s certainly got the performance to match. So, at this end of the car buying spectrum, where things such as practicality and fuel efficiency are as important as small change in a jewellery shop, the Jaguar XK-R makes a great case for itself.

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