…And I drove the XKR anyway.
With the little snowflake on the dash flashing and, on top of the mountain, the snow coming down heavy, I drove like a little old lady with a nervous bladder and a trunk full of angry, nitroglycerin-soaked badgers. Why, with “CATS” active yaw control, stability control, etc, etc? Look at those rear meats: Those are 285/30R20s on the two-piece alloys. Not what you’d call all-season rubber. That is, in fact, why the car’s been parked for the last week. But that was only the mountaintop, and thanks to St. Callum, it was clear and dry in the valleys.
All the ingredients were there for me to hate the car: Active handling aids up the wazoo, paddle-shifter automatic, a 38-pound wheel and tire combination. This stuff normally drives me nuts. But oh man, is this one fantastic automobile.
Start with the exhaust note. This is the car with a little tube running from the engine compartment to the dash, to pipe in the engine sound. I don’t care. Push the Start button, and it barks and trembles, the idle rises and falls a little, it sounds every bit the exotic. And it should, with the old AJ 4.2 running at a supercharged 9.1:1 compression. That’s way up there, and get on it a little and the growl rises, the supercharger starts to whine and it sits back on it’s Kate Winslet haunches and flat scoots.
The dubs don’t do the handling any favors; with a distinctly handling-biased suspension setup, you really feel them whanging heavily around down there–no matter how nice they look, stick with the stock 19s. And believe it or not, the paddle shifters actually work. It holds a gear, it shifts nearly as quickly as a manual (especially upshifts), and a two- or three-gear dropdown for passing is always at your fingertips. Do that and bring the tach up towards the 6,250 rpm power peak, and you will run out of road anywhere in the Eastern US before the XKR runs out of breath.
But don’t think you’re going to get away with doing that unnoticed. The Junior Aston look snaps necks around as much as any new car we’ve ever driven. Go ahead and drive a new 400hp Corvette around, and while not an anonymobile, you won’t get eyeballed. Take the XKR for a spin outside of Palm Springs, the Hamptons or Miami Beach, and it’s like standing on a parade float. You will get looked at. Don’t stop. All they want to do is to put their grubby little mitts all over her Liquid Silver thighs, stroke her bonnet…she’s supposed to be yours, you feel the connection, the deep seats are holding you just right…
$85,000? Will you take a post-dated, out-of-state third-party starter check? No?
Riveted and bonded aluminium
Cylinders/valves per cylinder - 8/4
Bore/stroke - 86/90.3mm
Capacity - 4,196cc
Compression ratio - 9.1:1
Maximum power - SAE bhp (kW) 420 (313) @ 6,250
Maximum torque – EEC lb ft (Nm) 413 (560)@ 4,000
Jaguar Sequential Shift with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles
1st - 4.171
2nd - 2.340
3rd - 1.521
4th - 1.143
5th - 0.867
6th - 0.691
Final Drive - 3.31:1
PERFORMANCE (Manufacturer’s figures)
0-60 mph (0-100 kph) - 4.9 (5.2) seconds
50-70mph – 2.5 seconds
1/4 mile – 13.3 seconds
Top speed – 155 mph (250 kph), electronically limited
Cd - 0.341
Ratio - 17.1:1
Turns lock-to-lock - 2.77
Turning radius - 10.97 meters (33.4 feet)
Combined – 22.9 mpg (12.3 L/100km)
CO2 Combined – 294 g/km
Fuel tank – 71.1 Liters
Curb weight – 3,671 lbs
Weight distribution – 53.4/46.6
Length – 4,791mm
Width – 1,892mm
Height – 1,322mm
Wheelbase – 2,752mm
Front/rear track – 1,560/1,608mm