With a six-figure price tag, you'd expect the 2008 Jaguar XKR Convertible to have it all--and it nearly does. Its refined cabin, elegant and advanced technology, supercharged V-8, consummate handling, and traffic-stopping looks make it an all-round winner.
Like that of the XK we tested last year, the cabin of our XKR Convertible review car featured a forest of rich dark-wood trim for the dash, center console and door panels, and attractive leather finishing on the cowl and the front seats.
The XKR features a secondary LCD display located between the speedometer and the tach in the instrument panel. This rectangular, full-color display gives helpful--and very visible--information on the car's systems, such as open doors and engine notices, as well as trip information and figures on average mileage.
The XKR Convertible comes with an as-standard navigation system, which takes the form of a touch-screen LCD. The screen displays bright, colorful maps and intuitive programming menus, and a useful matte finish, which minimizes glare with the top down. Destination entry is straightforward, with drivers able to plug in an address or a point of interest, or make a selection directly from the map.
Among the traditional luxury of the XKR's cabin, there are some advanced tech features, including the electronic parking brake, which is activated via a chrome lever in the central wood-trimmed console.
...but great with the top down. The XK series was reportedly designed as a convertible with the coupe as an afterthought. With the soft top down (Jaguar says it decided against a hard top for aesthetic reasons), this really shows, as the XKR Convertible's bold beltline merges with the sculpted tonneau cover to produce a car with dashing lines.
The 2008 XKR Convertible comes with Bluetooth hands-free calling as standard. With a phone paired, drivers are presented with an onscreen keypad to dial outgoing calls, which is accessible even when the car is moving along.
Our favorite aspect of driving the XK was its consummate handling and balance, and the XKR Convertible delivers an equally razor-sharp ride. Front and rear springs and dampers are enhanced on the XKR to the tune of 38 percent and 24 percent, respectively. Added to the model's 52/48 weight distribution, Jaguar's eCATS two-stage damping system, and the XKR's monocoque body structure leads to a delightfully surefooted ride.
With a 420-horsepower Eaton-supercharged 4.2-liter V-8, the XKR is one of the most powerful cars to ever roll out of a Jaguar factory, and with the family resemblance to the beautiful XK still intact (albeit with a few "R"-inspired blemishes), it is also one of the most attractive.