Jaguar XKR review

Hearing the raucous engine note of the Jaguar XKR you’d be forgiven for thinking this was some tearaway, untameable beast.

Indeed, the supercharged 5.0-litre petrol engine puts out an eye-watering 500bhp and 460lb-ft of torque, meaning it’s a creature to treat with significant amounts of respect.

A sleek, low-sling grand tourer profile reinforces the view that the Jag XKR means business.

And indeed it does. But don’t be fooled into thinking the XKR is some rough and ready powerhouse.

A glimpse at the interior should be enough to reassure most drivers that this isn’t a car waiting to send the unsuspecting driver into a hedge at the first opportunity.

There’s the sumptuous leather and other soft furnishings. But it’s more than that. The cabin is beautifully laid out, and the controls from the XF slot into the XKR perfectly, as if they should have been there all along.

Jaguar’s controls are among the more easy to figure out, and the XKR multimedia system is something of a doddle. Dials and switches feel reassuringly sturdy, and the rotary shifter is simply a lovely touch.

Our test model was decked out with a two-tone interior, cream leather contrasting with black trim on the interior panels, and the off splash of chrome. It’s rare that a stunning car looks as good inside as it does outside.

Step inside and the car is as comfortable as it looks, with seats that move in more ways than we could count. There’s ample head- and leg-room up front, and limited room in the back for children or more luggage, while the XKR doesn’t skimp on luggage space, with 300 litres in the back.

Back to that power. Despite the cosseting interior, it’s easy to assume that steering all of that power and twist might be a fairly hair-raising experience. Not a bit of it.

There’s a smooth and steady flow of power right up through the rev range, and it never feels like it will run out, with a smooth autobox or paddle shifters to choose from.

However, equally, it never feels manic or twitchy on the road. The XKR puts down the power beautifully, feeling safely planted in the corners and wonderfully composed on any surfaces.

That it does all of this while proving an exciting and engaging drive is better still. It is, quite simply, a brilliant mix of handling ability and ride comfort.

If you fancy something a little more exciting, and if you’re in the market for a Jaguar XKR you probably are, switching the transmission to S mode; selecting dynamic mode and switching off traction control will give you all the sideways action you ever dreamed of.

More prosaically, you can have some fun on A roads, with a brilliant little throttle blip for the dropdowns to pin you back into your seat.

All in all, the Jaguar XKR is a grand tourer with a little bit more. A little more Jaguar elegance, a little more road presence, a little more power and a lot more fun.