2006 Jaguar XKR 2dr Coupe (4.2L 8cyl S/C 6A) review: 2006 Jaguar XKR 2dr Coupe (4.2L 8cyl S/C 6A)

With its luxury appointment and comfort, the 2006 Jaguar XKR can seem less a sports car than a land-bound executive jet, especially when the accelerator pedal is pressed hard. Then there's the noticeable whine from the Eaton supercharger that sits atop the 4.2-liter DOHC, 32-valve AJ-V-8 engine, which produces 390 horsepower at 6,000rpm and 399 pound-feet of torque at 3,500rpm. It sounds like a jet on a runway, and the big cat's acceleration reinforces that impression. It's progressive, and it doesn't get into its stride until seriously antisocial speeds. At wide-open throttle, there is no question as to why the cat's-head hood emblem is nicknamed the growler. Zero-to-60 time is 5.2 seconds, with top speed electronically limited to 155mph. Most people considering a car such as this won't be too concerned about fuel economy, but with an EPA rating of 16mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway, as well as an average of 17mpg in our driving, it is better than the exotics.

The classic Jaguar J-gate puts normal transmission operation on the right and manual control on the left.

Twin air-to-liquid intercoolers keep the 2006 Jaguar XKR's intake charge as cool and dense as possible, and maximum boost is 13psi. Torque is immense and immediate enough that pretty much any gear will do for all but the most extreme driving. The six-speed ZF automatic transmission can be shifted manually through the J-gate shifter.

The 2006 Jaguar XKR has double-wishbone suspension with antidive geometry in front and a multilink setup at the rear that uses the half-shafts as upper links, a design pioneered in the E-Type. All XKR models have Jaguar's CATS, which uses adaptive variable-rate electronically controlled shock absorbers that react in real time to road shocks and body motion. CATS plus stiffer springs gives the XKR a ride that is firmer than the regular XK's but is still far from harsh, with very little body roll. Even with massive 255/35 ZR20 front and 285/30 Pirelli P Zero Asimmetrico tires on BBS alloy wheels, the variable-ratio power steering allows a light effort at parking speeds, with appropriately more effort needed at speed. CATS keeps all that rubber well planted for excellent grip.

The big Brembo brakes contribute to performance and safety.

With a curb weight of nearly 3,900 pounds, the 2006 Jaguar XKR coupe is no lightweight, and this shows on tight roads. More open secondary roads and highways are its preferred habitat, where it can cover distance quickly and smoothly, just like an executive jet. When stopping is necessary, the monster Brembo vented discs are happy to oblige. Cross-drilled, 13.98 inches in diameter in front, and 13 inches at the rear, with floating aluminum calipers and braided stainless steel lines, they are quite impressive from both appearance and performance standpoints.

For passive safety, the 2006 Jaguar XKR's rigid monocoque structure utilizes high-strength steel in highly stressed areas for maximum strength with minimal weight. Dual-stage front and seat-mounted side-impact air bags protect the front occupants; those in the rear have three-point safety harnesses.

Standard in the 2006 Jaguar XKR are power and handling to avoid trouble--aided by the CATS system--plus excellent brakes for active safety. Electronic driver aids include antilock brakes and traction control, which, with input from allied acceleration and yaw sensors, can be controlled by dynamic stability control to limit oversteer or understeer, or traction loss in slippery conditions. The automatic speed-limiter system can be programmed to prevent the car from exceeding a selected speed, regardless of throttle position. Available but not fitted to our test car is the adaptive cruise-control system, which uses microwave radar to detect slower vehicles in your lane or a vehicle coming into the lane ahead and automatically adjust speed to maintain a safe gap, overriding any set cruise-control speed.

Every 2006 Jaguar XK comes with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty. During that time, scheduled maintenance is complimentary, and 24-hour roadside assistance is included.

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