When the 2011 Jaguar XKR Speed Pack arrived with its expensive additions and minor tweaks we were slightly skeptical, after all, it was Jaguar’s ferocious XKR with, well, a few changes. But it only took around 3.5 seconds for the skepticism to subside...
The Speedpack option may add an extra £4,000 to the overall price of the mighty XKR, taking the outgoings to nearly £80,000, but it’s a wonder the Speed Pack is an option at all, it should be an essential. The lower sills tantalisingly graze the road surface while the large aerodynamic scoops at the rear only accentuate those sporty quad tailpipes. The overall appearance is made even more aggressive than the models of old and the test model wore massive, 20-inch black alloy wheels and a show stopping red paintjob. It looked the business. Step inside and you are greeted with sheer luxury and plenty of racy reminders, a touch-screen multimedia centre, fantastic Bowers & Wilkins sound system, the new Jaguar centre console with futuristic gear selection disc and all the touchy-feely fabrics you’d expect to see on a luxury saloon. But this is no luxury saloon, it’s an undercover weapon, a weapon of mass acceleration…
The performance figures when written down on paper don’t really do this car justice; they don’t quite sum up how impossibly blistering this motor actually is. An official 0-60mph time of 4.6 seconds feels even more rapid when you’re pinned into the leather seats, eyes bulging, arms working overtime to keep up with the ‘lively’ rear wheels. The 510bhp swells and thumps as the Supercharged 5 litre V8 engine builds up a head of steam and delivers a whopping amount of torque that bellows and rasps out of the rear tailpipes. The top speed of 174mph is simply unreachable in this country but the speedo figures serve as a reminder that this car can compete with the big guns.
The all-new electronic set-up buttons are a welcomed addition, allowing the driver to easily switch into the potent sport mode at the turn of a wheel and stiffen the suspension by simply depressing a Dynamic Mode switch (which handily has a chequered flag on it, reminding you of the track potential). The Heads Up Display also aggressively displays gear and speed information when in Dynamic Mode, giving the driver a real F1 experience.
Jaguar sales reps will have no problem shifting this model. The £80,000 price tag may seem steep to us mere motoring mortals but that figure will surely have a select few tempted away from the Aston Martin and Maserati rivals. The XKR looks stunning, sounds delicious and comes with enough gadgetry to keep driver and passenger entertained. The 20mpg average isn’t too bad either, considering this beast goes like the clappers when you want it to. In the interest of a fair and balanced review I’m trying to come up with a reason not to purchase one of these, the only grounds I can think of is that I simply can’t afford one… a new career in petit criminality beckons.
Words by Leon Poultney. Check out his website, blokesincars.com