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2010 Jaguar XKR Supercharged Convertible Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Featured, Jaguar, Test Drives

With the introduction of the all-new 2010 Jaguar XKR supercharged convertible, Jaguar has finally crossed into supercar territory with the 510hp supercharged AJV8 engine.

Not only is the engine and powertrain world class, but so is the dramatic new styling, bonded chassis, suspension, brakes, plus new interior ergonomics, workmanship and materials.  The all-new XKR is competitive against the Aston-Martin Volante, BMW M6 convertible, and Porsche 911 Twin-Turbo convertible like never before.  It is awesome to drive with all the power under your foot, so stiff yet very comfortable, that I sometimes forgot I was driving a chopped top, so responsive to my every input, (acceleration, cornering, braking), and with every elegant item inside in its rightful place for easy use, the car shot straight-up on my list of outstanding all-new 2010 luxury sport 2+2 convertibles.

Designed and built in house, the all-new XKR is completely reworked using the latest automotive high tech systems, and the finest, highest grade materials inside and out.

The new 5.0 liter Gen III V8 engine is almost 1in. shorter than the 4.2 liter V8, thanks to the relocation of the oil pump.  The aluminum block is now made via a high-pressure die-cast with cross-bolted main bearing caps.  The four-valve per cylinder heads are made from recycled aluminum, and the camshafts feature VVT activated by the torque motions of the valves themselves instead of oil pressure, enabling the oil pump to be reduced in size.  The engine also features what Jaguar claims is an industry-first direct injection system with centrally mounted, multi-hole, spray guided injectors.  The new supercharger is a roots-type, twin-vortex system blower with dual intercoolers and delivers 510hp from 6,000 to 6,500rpm, while max torque of 461lb.ft. comes on quickly, from 2,500rpm to 5,500rpm.  Jaguar says that the all-new XKR will sprint out to 60mph from a standstill in just 4.6sec.  Very fast, faster than any other XK-E from yesterday that sparked enthusiast interest at the time.  The all-new XKR keeps that tradition of building the finest sporting luxury convertibles alive and priced well under the competition.  Only one price, just $102,000.00 with all the super-luxury options.

Driving the new XKR is so much fun and exciting starting with the world-class chassis. The industry-leading lightweight architecture constructs the entire body shell (the internal chassis structure and external body panels), from a combination of pressed, cast and extruded aluminum alloy components.  These are riveted and bonded together using techniques first developed in the aerospace industry and adapted for automotive use by Jaguar.  The result is a body shell with a depth of quality that is rooted in the highest structural integrity.  It is also the lightest shell in its class by a significant margin, and the most torsionally stiff.  The all-round strength, remarkable rigidity and exceptional lightness underpin the magnificent, reworked wishbone suspension, and its inherent safety, durability and refinement-and of course, its precise chassis dynamics and high-speed driving capability.  Lightness benefits agility and agility with high performance defines the exhilarating yet refined nature of the new Jaguar XKR.

No cowl shake, no vibrations when traveling over poorly paved surfaces.  It feel like it is me, the perfect steering wheel and the foot pedals, nothing else registers in my consciousness.  The car accelerates harder, stops more quickly and handles with true precision-setting new standards of dynamic excellence.

Mated to the powerful supercharged V8 engine is the equally powerful and electronically controlled, 6-speed ZR 6HP28 transmission offering an unparalleled combination of driver control matched to virtually undetectable gearshifts.  With control either from steering wheel-mounted paddles, or full automatic with S mode, via the JaguarDrive Selector, the new XKR delivers exhilarating performance.  To handle the extra power, the transmission is upgraded with additional clutch plates, and a stronger torque converter.

The transmission has a fully-adaptive shift system which delivers seamless gearshifts and optimizes performance and economy at all times.  It also continually adapts to suit individual driving styles, which can vary from high performance to more economical.

The ‘mechatronic’ control module incorporated inside the transmission includes the software for the semi-automatic Jaguar Sequential Shift functions, selected when you operate any of the paddle shifter.

Sound quality is a key characteristic of all Jaguars, and is one particular aspect that customers relish.  With that in mind, Jaguar engineers have accentuated feedback into the cabin in order to further enhance the driving pleasure.  The XKR’s fully active exhaust sound track has been enhanced to provide a deeper and more powerful character that matches the increase in torque at low revs from the new engine.  At higher engine speeds the intake acoustic feedback system combines with the exhaust system to provide more of that unique Jaguar sound quality character, it growls like a big, powerful Jaguar cat.

Another first for Jaguar is the new Active Differential Control (ADC), the final stage in the supercharged V8 driveline, which is designed to give improved traction and dynamic stability.  The electronically controlled differential continuously adapts to both your demands and the amount of grip available at each individual wheel.  Operated by an internal electric motor and ‘ball-and-ramp’ mechanism, the differential contains a multi-plate clutch which transmits or ‘vectors’ torque to the wheel with most grip and therefore maximizes the car’s traction.  The multi-plate clutch assembly is designed to prevent excessive differential slip, but differs fundamentally from a conventional traction control system, which uses the brakes to counteract differential slip, after it has occurred.

For the first time, the new XKR introduces the innovative JagaurDrive Selector as its transmission control interface.  It was first introduced in the XF sedan, and features a rotary shift control which rises into your hand as the car is started to give an intuitive, ergonomically efficient transmission control from an extremely neat, space-efficient interface.  Just push the red, pulsating, like a heartbeat, start button, then start the engine and the large, cast rotary dial rises from it seat.  From there, automatic transmission functions are selected simply by turning the control with the fingertips.  It is so simple and neat, a great ‘world-exclusive’ item.  When you shut the engine down, the rotary dial recedes into its seat flush with the surface.

The fully independent wishbone suspension system has been reworked in the new XKR with stronger control arms, stiffer springs, thicker anti-roll bars and new crossmembers to further increase stiffness and strength for the heavier convertible model.  The latest generation of Adaptive Dynamics replaces Jaguar’s proven Computer Active Technology, (CATS), with an even more sophisticated solution.  Active damper tuning system remove many of the compromises of a passive damping system-which must make a single choice between softer damping for a comfortable ride and firmer damping for more tautly controlled handling.  While CATS you had only two modes, with the new Adaptive Damping System in effect, you have continuously variable damping between wide extremes, benefitting ride comfort, ultimate control and handling grip.

The variable-rate, magneto-rheological shocks, which samples body motion and steering inputs up to 100X per second, and individual wheel positions 500X a second, as well as throttle and braking inputs, then adjust accordingly.  When you select Dynamic Mode, via a button on the center console with the checkered flag, it sharpens the car’s instincts as the shocks respond faster and firmer, the throttle response is quickened and the transmission will allow the engine to rev up to 6,800rpm rev limiter without upshifting

Its best to use on the track or on smooth roads, as the basic chassis setup is so good even when diving moderately.

Putting the power to the ground further than ever is the new Active Differential Control, (ADC), which is an electronically controlled alternative to the traditional mechanical limited-slip differential, with far more subtle control strategies.  ADC is fully automatic and can vary its locking torque, (and therefore the proportion of torque sent to each driven wheel), depending on surface conditions and power applied.  Its subtle control strategies optimize traction at each wheel, improving acceleration on low-grip surfaces but also potentially improving stability when required.   Wow!  Away we go with total control.  To further challenge you when the moment arrives and the time and place is perfect, on the Dyamic Stability Control system modes, you can choose trac DSC mode with its sportier settings allowing the more experienced driver to fully exploit the car’s performance and enjoy greater involvement in controlling it, what’s it all about!

DSC OFF allows you to switch the system’s electronic protections off completely by pushing the button for 10sec.  Now is the time for pushing the XKR to its grip limits and letting it slide through turns nicely throwing the rear out and getting back in line at the end of the turn.  Small beads of perspiration grow on the forehead as the new XKR follows you inputs fast and correctly.

The new XKR goes where you point it to go with quicker turn-in from the upgraded speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack & pinion steering system that is slightly more weighted for better road surface feel, yet still feels elegant.

Faster acceleration means the need for bigger and stronger brakes are need and the all-new XKR is up to the task.  Alcon Brakes custom 15.7in. vented discs are clamped with giant 6-piston calipers aluminum calipers with the Jaguar R clearly seen.  The rear brakes measure 13.8in. are vented and grooved and clamped down with 4-piston aluminum calipers.  Enhancing braking power and control are standard ABS, EBD and BA.

The new big cat rides on standard 19X9in. front and 19X10in. rear, 10-spoke Tamana designed aluminum alloy wheels.  The high-performance Dunlop SP 01 Asymmetric tires are a perfect match for this rocket ship with extraordinary grip and a compliant ride.  Up front are 245/40ZR19in. tires and 275/35ZR19in. tires in the rear.  You can option for the new, distinctive twin-five-spoke 20X9in. Kalimnos or twin-seven-spoke R Performance Nevis design.

The high-performance and riding dynamics is unparalleled in the higher realms of the industry; the XKR has broken through into supercar territory with its engineering and use of all-new automotive technology.  Can it be matched with the look and interior?

The dramatic and contemporary new exterior styling is aggressive, showcasing the car’s visual agility and beautiful lines that have been enhanced with a new front end, new rear lights and revised body styling that give it even more presence.  Changes are highlighted by a distinctive and purposeful new front bumper design, new LED rear lights, new side mirrors, and new lower rear bumper spoiler.  You’ll also see the new LED rear light clusters incorporating fog lamps, plus new twin reversing lamps.

Lamps gives the new XKR a unique ‘night time’ signature, while LED technology is also included in the integrated side repeater and approach lamps in the new exterior mirrors.

The XKR sports stylish, chrome-detailed inserts and further chrome detailing to the upper mesh grille.  Silver chrome mesh is also found on the lower mesh grille of the XKR to add even more sport and elegance to the look.  The A-pillars are steeply raked to help with aerodynamics.

The hood features two working heat extractors to enhance engine cooling and opens like a clamshell, while at the sides, fenders cutouts announce what Jaguar you are drooling at, and are also working to extract heat. At the sides of the new bumpers two uniquely styled, large vertical slits, with black painted mesh protection and chrome surrounds, each leads directly to the rotors helping to cool the massive front brakes during spirited driving.  The XKR also features new chrome detailing on window surrounds and rear signature blade.

The XKR also comes with a new rear bumper spoiler that is finished in body color and a revised tailpipe design further emphasizing its sporting performance.  The newly designed lip spoiler further enhances rear downforce adding to better stability and handling.

The new lower stance and deeper side extensions give the all-new XKR a lower center of gravity enhancing handling and stability.  The car when parked shows it new ‘hunkered- down’ stance, add to the mix the exotic curves and lines, the classic long hood and short deck style, and you have a pure luxurious supercar, ready to be taken to the edge and back, and yes, the all new interior matches its new style, power, performance, and handling to continue in ‘world-class’ territory among 2+2 luxury sports cars.

Contemporary, sporting luxury, exceptional quality of craftsmanship and Jaguar’s renowned attention to detail are the keynotes of the new XKE.  The cabin is clean, uncluttered, is spacious for two, very elegant, and remains entirely in harmony with the sporty character of the revised exterior.

The luxury character of the XKR is guaranteed, regardless whether you choose the XKR hardtop coupe or fabric-roofed convertible.  Both benefit from the inherent strength of Jaguar’s lightweight aluminum architecture, which means that as well as being the lightest body structure in its class, the XKR shells also have the highest torsional strength, and that exceptional rigidity, with or without a fixed roof, means creak and rattle-free refinement on virtually any surface, however unforgiving.  I loved driving this car as I felt closer to being part of the machine, guiding it on its chosen path.  The interior just enhances the good vibrations.

My seven-day test drive was behind the wheel of the XKR convertible and it was a treat every second.  The triple-lined fabric roof gives a level of fit and stability even at very high speeds that minimizes wind noise and other road noise and includes a luxurious Jaguar Suedecloth headlining that comes standard gives the appearance of being in the coupe.  The top can be powered up or down with the push of a toggle button located on the overhead console, in less than 18sec.  When the top is lowered, the convertible’s flush roof retracts completely into the bodywork behind the rear seats, under a smooth cover that retains the elegant, sporty lines of the car.  Nor does the convertible compromise the new car’s safety, for its rollover protection system, which remains hidden behind each rear headrest, is ready when needed to provide occupants with the highest levels of protection.

The beautiful trim and feature enhancements inside are highlighted by the JaguarDrive Selector, which is very neatly and elegantly placed in the center console.  The welcome to the car is also enhanced by new bright treadplate inserts.  Many of the other changes emphasize very high levels of Jaguar craftsmanship with new jewel-like touches.  The three spoke steering wheel now has a leather-wrapped lower spoke and Jaguar’s striking ‘growler’ badge.  The column tilts and the wheel telescopes for the perfect feel.  The new instrument cluster now emphasizes it performance character with red pointers but I would like to see four smaller gauges and a supercharger boost gauge so you can keep an eye on your levels during spirited driving.  The aluminum bezels give speedometer and tachometer a more elegant look.

The Jaguar front bucket seats are magnificent, so comfortable and support high-grade leather hide.  These new seats feature heating and cooling functions and are 10-way adjustable with the controls easily accessible on the door.  It even has a new twist screw control that increases or decreases side bolstering pressure.  Anyone behind the wheel will be snug and night for exciting driving times.

The door castings are even more luxuriously crafted than before, with saddle-stitched lines and a new interlayer to give a softer touch to the top shoulder of the casting.  The leather door pulls also introduce twin-needle stitching and a soft-feel interlayer.  In each door, the modified seat switch pack now includes single-piece chrome ‘highlight’ switches.

Real wood veneers remain an important part of Jaguar’s craftsmanship and now include a new Rich Oak veneer option but the new XKR comes with its own unique Dark Oak.  A Knurled Aluminum veneer is also available on the XKR.

In true, contemporary Jaguar fashion, a great deal of useful and intuitive technology is controlled by the clear and elegant 7in. Touch-screen in the center console-which is standard.  It provides Touch-screen access and control for the climate control and audio systems, for the Satellite Navigation system, for Bluetooth mobile connectivity and for Jaguar’s Portable Audio Interface-which are all standard equipment.

The Audio system options range from the HD radio single-slot or multi-disc CD players,

or the ultimate, high-end Bowers & Wilkins system which is a 525-watt system with Dolby ProLogic II Surround Sound, three channel stereo with a unique amplifier, kevelar mid-range speakers and high-output and low distortion and specialty designed aluminum tweeters.

Standard safety equipment includes driver/front-passenger front and side airbags, three-point safety belts for all four-passengers with load limiters/pretentioners, rollover protection system, adaptive restraint system, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, tire pressure monitoring system, anti-theft engine immobilizer.

Jaguar’s all-new ‘flagship’ XKR is a spectacular piece of automobile styling and technology.  What a beautiful car to gaze upon, be lucky enough to drive.  It is built and engineered to be driven everyday, and hard whenever the time, place and feeling are right.  Everything is so well connected and supportive of each other.

Ever since I got my first ride in an XKE many, many years ago when hitch-hiking, this is the car that Jaguar was always destined to build, the best ever!



Price: MSRP $101,150 As-Tested $102,000

Type: Midsize Convertible
Where Built: England
EPA Class: Subcompact Cars


Length: 188.7 in.
Width: 74.5 in.
Height: 52.3 in.
Wheel Base: 108.3 in.
Curb Weight: 3968 lbs.
Gross Weight: 4817 lbs.
Front Head Room: 37.8 in.
Rear Head Room: 33.1 in.
Front Leg Room: 43 in.
Rear Leg Room: 27.6 in.
Luggage Capacity: 11.1 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 11 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 4

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 8
Base Engine Size: 5 liters
Base Engine Type: V8
Horsepower: 510 hp
Max Horsepower: 6000 rpm
Torque: 461 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 2500 rpm
Drive Type: RWD
Turning Circle: 35.8 ft.
0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 16.1 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 15 mpg / 22 mpg / 17 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 241.5 mi. / 354.2 mi. / 273.7 mi.


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