Let’s ignore Jaguar’s imminent sale and instead focus on what the company manages on a budget that probably wouldn’t cover the development costs for a BMW wheel nut. The XK, for example, really is a fine car; it’s not perfect but is still worthy of the Jaguar badge and no slouch thanks to its aluminium construction. The supercharged XKR is even better of course, and though nobody needs a convertible with 420hp it is perfect for those customers who simply want the best of the best. Jaguar wisely chose not to shout the XKR’s abilities too loudly, opting instead for subtle refinement like the new bonnet and wing vents, a deeper front apron, wire mesh grilles, larger wheels and quad exhaust pipes. Inside, there’s lots of leather, aluminium and cheapy aluminium-effect plastic, but overall it’s still a nice cockpit, made all the more enjoyable by having an intuitive touch-screen infotainment system.
Unfortunately, the XKR is only available with an automatic but at least it’s a very good unit, with seamless changes and superb calibration. Slot the lever into ‘Sport’ mode and there are gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel that you’ll actually find yourself using quite a lot just to hear the throttle blip on down changes. With the roof folded, it’s an absolute delight and is reason enough to opt for the convertible version of the XKR. That’s not to say it’s not good in other aspects: like all the best Jaguars, it is effortlessly fast yet agile too. It wouldn’t challenge a BMW M6 convertible, perhaps, but it is a massive 300kg lighter and no less rigid so it can hold its own on a twisty road. You can’t ignore how complete the XKR is. Let’s hope we get to see more from the same engineering team soon, despite the dark cloud hanging over the company.
Jaguar XKR Convertible
Engine 4.2-litre supercharged V8 petrol, 420hp, 560Nm torque
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Acceleration 0-100km/h 5.3 seconds
Top speed 250 km/h
Economy 12.3 litres/100 km
CO2 Emissions 294 g/km
Boot Capacity 100 litres
Weight 1,715 kg
Base Price €149,585