2007 Jaguar XKR
One way to make a big cat faster is to give it stronger legs, and Jaguar has done just that by supercharging its svelte sports coupe.
The XKR's 4.2-liter V-8 pumps 420 horsepower through a six-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles on the steering wheel. This engine isn't built for snap-your-neck acceleration, even though it is capable of pushing this car to 60 miles per hour in a tick less than five seconds, but for the high-speed touring. Squeeze the throttle and the power flows steadily, like water running downhill.
The Jag's engine is as smooth and sophisticated as the car's aluminum body. The XK is available in both coupe and convertible iterations. The all-aluminum monocoque body structure and chassis are constructed with techniques developed by the aircraft industry. Aluminum panels, aluminum castings and aluminum extrusions are joined with rivets or bonded with epoxy. The resulting chassis has high strength and low weight. The body shell is 31 percent lighter and 90 percent stiffer than the previous XK and its steel chassis.
Styling has long been Jaguar's strength, and the new XK has contemporary elegance like Scandinavian furniture. The aerodynamically efficient nose looks rather blunt, but its shape helps keep the car stable at high speed.
Handsome detail work is evident in the taillights and front fender vents. The design is the work of Jaguar design director Ian Callum, who also worked on the Aston Martin DB9. Ford Motor Co. owns Jaguar and just sold Aston Martin.
The interior combines traditional craftsmanship with modern luxury materials. Finely stitched leather is accented by high-tech trim surfaces including metallic finishes. The test car's blond wood-grain trim was just this side of gaudy. Good ergonomics, contoured seats and a low waistline make the XKR easy to drive.
The instrument cluster's round dials flank a high-resolution color display that is split into several zones showing vital information such as gear selection, cruise control information, low-tire-pressure warnings and satellite navigation instructions.
The center stack houses a 7-inch touch screen to control climate, audio, navigation, telephone and vehicle personalization settings. I found this system to be much less intuitive and convenient than conventional knobs and buttons, especially for the audio functions.
Bluetooth wireless technology will be offered, as will an Alpine 525-watt surround-sound system and Sirius satellite radio. An adaptive cruise control, which adjusts the car's speed by using radar to monitor the speed of cars in front, is also available.
The anti-lock brake system governs brake pressure of each wheel individually, allowing for more precise control. The ventilated discs are very large.
Other safety aids include bi-xenon headlights that turn slightly as the car is steered, a tire-pressure monitoring system, run-flat tires, headrests that protect against whiplash, adaptive cruise control, traction control and vehicle stability control.
The test car's base price was $85,835. The only option was adaptive cruise control. The sticker price was $88,700.
Four years or 50,000 miles.
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||November 22, 2006|
|Amanda Wegrzyn||Cars.com National||November 15, 2006|
|Steven Cole Smith||Orlando Sentinel||August 26, 2007|
|Scott Burgess||The Detroit Newspapers||July 18, 2007|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||March 16, 2007|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||January 24, 2007|
|Steven Cole Smith||Orlando Sentinel||December 7, 2006|
|Royal Ford||Boston.com||November 18, 2006|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||October 22, 2006|
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