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Jaguar put the XK line of grand tourers out to pasture in 2015. Before discontinuing the lineup, the Coventry company built some beautiful GT cars. The mild-mannered XK gave way to the XKR with the addition of some performance acumen. After that, Jaguar made an even-more-manic GT car in the XKR-S. All these years later, the Jaguar XKR-S is a big cat that still has razor-sharp claws.

Jaguar’s XKR-S is another renaissance car in the XK line

2012 Jaguar XKR-S Convertible | Car and Driver

When Jaguar unveiled the XK as the ALC concept, the automotive community quickly fell in love with Ian Callum’s grand tourer. After all, Callum did design the Aston Martin DB9 that we know so well. The revolutionary aluminum construction made the XK light, and as a result, the 300 horsepower 4.2L V8 was more than enough to move the car spiritedly. Of course, the XKR arrived soon thereafter and brought with it a supercharged 4.2L V8 producing 410(?) horsepower.

In 2010, a design refresh made subtle changes to the XK and XKR. More notably, the update installed a 5.0L V8 into the cars, with the XKR yet again adding a supercharger. That 5.0L V8 is the base for the XKR-S and its wildness. The Jaguar XKR-S took that supercharged V8 and produced a drift-inducing 542 bhp and 502 lb-ft of torque.

The Jaguar XKR-S convertible may prompt you to drive around with the top down- permanently

Jaguar XKR-S: Big Cat Still Has Razor-Sharp Claws
Jaguar XKR-S | Aaron Davidson, Getty Images

The XKR-S, much like the XK and XKR, was available in either a rigid coupe or a soft-top convertible. Top Gear states that driving the convertible XKR-S will instigate the driver to flog the Jaguar with the top down. The noise that the V8 makes is reportedly the impetus for cruising around with the top permanently stored. The supercharged Jaguars use a Performance Active exhaust system to transform the car from refined to raucous with a bit of throttle. Top Gear calls the sound of the unrestricted Jag a “metallic roar” with “fireworkish bangs” on deceleration.

Not just loud and fast, the XKR-S can corner with the best of them, if you respect it

Jaguar XKR-S GT on Track | THE DRIVE

Jaguar equipped the XKR-S with updated springs and dampers. Additionally, the XKR-S features a lowered ride height and an Active Differential. Jaguar installed all the performance handling goodies in an attempt to get the XKR-S to corner as flatly and intently as possible. Of course, given the power and torque of the grand tourer, oversteer is abundant. 

Jaguar XKR-S still has the grand tourer credentials that drivers want in an XK

Just because the big cat has a bite doesn’t mean it can’t cruise in refined comfort. The convertible grand tourer is as composed on imperfect roads as the coupe, says Top Gear. Striking a balance between relaxing and race-ready is no simple task, and Jaguar did it with the XKR-S.

XKR-S is a pretty as it is potent

Jaguar XKR-S: Big Cat Still Has Razor-Sharp Claws
Jaguar XKR-S | John Keeble, Getty Images

Accomplished designer Ian Callum designed the Jaguar XK line, and it shows. Callum designed the X150 body XK to be a beautiful replacement for the X100 body XK8, and he succeeded. The XKR-S carries much of the same design language. The characteristic grille is surrounded by only slightly altered styling, and an updated diffuser and spoiler give it away from an XKR. The big cat is as pretty as its siblings but with much sharper claws.


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