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 upgraded audio system gives drivers the ability to use digital sound processing (DSP) to set the sweet spot for sound output in the cabin.
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 comes with a wireless start key, which lives in a slot in the central storage console.
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.
A few cosmetic interior signs differentiate the XKR from its naturally-aspirated sibling, including "R"-embossed headrests, and "R" logos on the top of the shifter and the bottom of steering wheel.
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.
Those who splash out on the Luxury Package get the benefit of heated seats with 16-way power adjustment, which are controlled by a button cluster on each of the doors.
The 2008 XKR looks good with the roof on...
...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 XK comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels. Our test car came with upgraded 20-inch Senta wheels, which added an extra $5,000 to the price tag.
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.