the enhanced XKR-S takes Jaguar performance to a new level
It can reach a top speed of 186mph (300kph), making it the fastest series production car Jaguar has ever built. Off the line, it can rush from a standstill to 60mph in an astonishing 4.2 seconds and will hit 100mph in under nine. Through the curves, it has agility, responsiveness and a precision that takes the sports car experience to exhilarating new heights.
The new XKR-S is the most extreme, most driver-focused expression yet of Jaguar’s passion for building beautiful, fast cars. Comprehensively re-engineered and aggressively restyled, this new, track-capable XK flagship is designed to allow the enthusiastic driver to explore the edges of performance and handling.
To deliver this sensational experience, Jaguar’s supercharged 5.0-litre direct injection AJ-V8 Gen III engine has been extensively recalibrated to produce a staggering 550PS and 680Nm of torque, making it the most powerful Jaguar road engine ever made.
To heighten the XKR’s already impressive handling agility, the entire suspension has been reworked and refined. There are new aluminium front suspension uprights, which significantly increase caster and camber stiffness and transform the accuracy and precision of the handling. At the rear, the suspension geometry has been revised to work in harmony with the revised front suspension, while at each corner there are stiffer springs and reprogrammed dampers. The car’s Dynamic Stability Control, Active Differential and Adaptive Damping systems have all been recalibrated and optimised for the increased power and torque of the engine, with the aim of allowing the driver to exploit the car’s increased handling capabilities.
To offer even greater levels of grip and driving precision, the XKR-S comes with a set of specially chosen lightweight, forged Vulcan 20-inch alloys that are nine inches wide at the front, and 10.5 inches at the rear. To lower the car’s centre of gravity, the ride height has been reduced by close to half an inch.
Yet Mike Cross, Jaguar’s chief engineer of vehicle integrity is quick to explain that, while the car is far more track-focused than a standard XKR, it has not lost its everyday driveability or legendary Jaguar ride comfort.
“Here is a car that’s easily capable of transporting a driver in comfort and quiet across Europe to the legendary Nürburgring, before lapping the fabled 13-mile Nordschleife in less than eight minutes – which is quick – and cruising home for dinner,” says Cross. Well, perhaps not in complete quiet. The XKR-S comes with a new Performance Active exhaust system that aurally rewards the press-on driver with a much crisper, edgier and, yes, louder motorsports-inspired soundtrack. “The car sounds sensational,” adds Cross.
It looks sensational too. Julian Thomson, director of the Jaguar Advanced Design Studio, says that although the car’s dramatic new styling was honed partly to give it a much more focused and aggressive look that would distinguish it from standard XKR models, it was also engineered to enable the XKR-S to achieve its 186mph top speed in the unruffled manner expected of a Jaguar.
“As the XKR-S approaches its top speed, there is a critical need to channel air cleanly over, around and under the car in order to maintain stability and ensure balanced downforce at both the front and rear,” says Thomson. With extensive use of carbon fibre, gloss black detailing, vibrant colours and a unique body design, the XKR-S sends out a powerful message. The most significant changes have been applied to the front of the car. A completely new front design includes dramatic vertical feature lines running down from the edges of the oval air intake, supporting a new carbon-fibre splitter and lower spoiler.
Horizontal twin nacelle slots in the leading edge of the bonnet reduce both under-bonnet lift and heat, aided by new-style horizontal side power vents in the front wings. At the extreme edges of the front wings, vertical side intakes channel air along the sides of the car and along the extended sills for increased high-speed directional stability. And to balance front and rear lift at high speed, the XKR-S features a unique, dramatic rear wing with carbon fibre inlay – a first for the XK. This lightweight structure works in concert with the carbon-fibre rear diffuser, part of the new distinctive apron.
As Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design director explains: “The design of this car isn’t just about image, it’s about true performance. Like Jaguar’s C- and D-types before it, the forms have been driven by geometry and aerodynamics for genuine design purity. The physics required to achieve 186mph have led the aesthetic.”
Celebrating Jaguar’s competition heritage, the car is offered in five stunning colours. These include the head-turning – and unique-to-XKR-S – French Racing Blue and new Italian Racing Red, both evoking Jaguar’s racing heritage. Polaris White, Ultimate Black and Stratus Grey complete the palette. Supporting this statement of intent are 20” Vulcan alloys, forged and lightweight in a unique dark technical finish, coupled with bright red brake calipers and the Jaguar High Performance Braking System.
With the design of the cabin, Thomson and his team resisted the temptation of giving the XKR-S a bare, stripped-down, race-car look. “Despite the car’s true sporting intentions, it is still a Jaguar and should be about beautiful interiors. As a flagship, it should have the best of the best,” he explains.Exclusive to the XKR-S are new sculpted Performance front seats (see panel, left). Resembling a racing-style fixed bucket seat, they actually offer 16-way power adjustment with memory and heating functions.
Unique to XKR-S is the new Dark Linear aluminium finish. Poltrona Frau Jet leather headlining cocoons the interior, adding to the overall ambience. Finishing touches are provided by a full Piano Black centre console, soft-feel paint to the switch-gear and touch-screen, brighter paint to the vents and instrument control panel and phosphor blue ambient lighting throughout, creating a harmonious and luxurious interior. Other unique touches include a leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel, polished treadplates engraved with ‘XKR-S’ and premium carpet mats with nubuck edging.
For practicality and safety, a reverse park camera with guidance – conveniently located in the boot lid finisher and viewed via the seven-inch touch-screen – is available as an option. Front and rear parking aids are standard.
“We’re extremely proud of this car,” explains Mike Cross. “While it has track capability it also has real-world usability. Someone getting into an XKR-S from, say, an XKR will sense a sharper, more focused driving experience and more response from the engine. Its mid-range performance is just sensational. It’s the ultimate fast Jaguar.”
The XKR-S is scheduled to go on sale this summer in Coupé body style and to customer order only, with pricing to be announced closer to the on-sale date.