The Jaguar XKR-S will rip a smile onto your face

Jaguar's pipe and slippers image is fading fast. That, in part, is thanks to making its cars a little bit mad, as it has with the XKR-S.

Alex Goy Editor / Roadshow
Alex Goy is an editor for Roadshow. He loves all things on four wheels and has a penchant for British sports cars - the more impractical the better. He also likes tea.
Alex Goy
2 min read
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The Jaguar XKR-S is an odd creature. Its basis, the Jaguar XKR, is a refined Ian Callum design. It's a stately beast that can transport its occupants with speed and style to any destination they desire. The XKR-S is more than that. It takes its style from the world's race tracks rather than its galleries. It borrows its performance from ballistic missiles, rather than cross country runners.

It's a Jaguar with rabies, a wildcat with a glint in its eye that begs you to hop in and see how long you can hold on for. And it's utterly stunning to play with.

When you walk up to the XKR-S, the first thing that crosses your mind it how utterly mad it looks -- wings and vents seemingly spattered all over its precious shell leer at you. That, however, is your first warning. Slip yourself inside and all the clues to its true nature are there before you -- flags, carbon fiber, a growling cat in the center of the wheel.

Pressing the Start button is a treat -- the sonorous 5.0-litre V8 stirs to life with enough energy to scare bird from trees. The noise the XKR-S makes is akin to nothing I've heard: it's mechanical, loud, unrelenting, and...brilliant. It's everything you think a 1950s race car sounds like and a bit more, too.

Jaguar XKR-S is almost too much (pictures)

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Alongside the noise is the power: 550 bhp, 502 lb. ft., 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds, and a 186 mph top speed. That's pretty rapid by anyone's standards. All that power means the Jag's acceleration is unrelenting. The moment your foot hits the carpet, your view begins to blur into nothing and your hearing is consumed by the engine's visceral rasp. It's quite a thing to experience, but something that needs to be experienced in certain conditions.

In the dry, the XKR-S is the perfect car. It'll grip quite happily and step its bum out if you ask it to. In the wet you are given the illusion of control. It simply can't put its power down in any meaningful way, and the slightest bit of power can cause its rear to want to meet its front.

That aside, I love it. It's a Jaguar I'd keep for the track, something to bring out and scare the big boys. It's damn near perfect, if a little mad.

Engine 5.0-litre supercharged V8
Power 550 bhp
Torque 502 lb. ft.
0-60 mph 4.2 seconds
Top speed    186 mph