Test Drive: 2010 Jaguar XKR car test drives luxury cars jaguar
2010 Jaguar XKR. Click image to enlarge

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Buyer’s Guide: 2010 Jaguar XK

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Review and photos by Jil McIntosh

Photo Gallery:
2010 Jaguar XK

I’m writing this review while sitting on an airplane. Working on the photos, I had several pictures of my 2010 Jaguar XKR Coupe test car up on my laptop screen. A flight attendant, catching a glimpse over my shoulder, stopped dead in his tracks. “Is that your car?” he said. “I need you to take me for a drive in it!” Such is the appeal of Jaguar’s sportiest cat that even a photo will pique interest.

Both the XK coupe and convertible are redesigned for 2010, with new engines, exterior styling, and several new interior features, including standard heated and cooled seats, a 525-watt speaker system and the now-famous rotary gear selector.

The XK line-up, previously equipped with 4.2-litre engines, now uses 5.0-litre V8 powerplants. My tester, the XKR, has its eight pistons force-fed their air by a supercharger, resulting in 510 racehorses, along with 461 lb-ft of torque that peaks at 2,500 rpm, sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.

Test Drive: 2010 Jaguar XKR car test drives luxury cars jaguar
Test Drive: 2010 Jaguar XKR car test drives luxury cars jaguar
2010 Jaguar XKR. Click image to enlarge

Tickets for the ride ain’t cheap. The XKR coupe starts at $107,000, and mine was further goosed with options that took it to $115,100 before tax and delivery. For that, though, the XKR is as exhilarating and luxurious as you’d expect. This coupe accelerates with such power and smoothness that my husband dubbed its paint shade “Goin’-to-Jail Black.” That paint code is part of a $6,500 package, the “Black Pack,” that can only be optioned on the XKR Coupe. It adds 20-inch gloss black wheels, gloss black grilles, intakes and window surrounds, body-colour chin and rear spoilers, and black rear trunk lid finisher. Oh, and the package also requires that you order red brake calipers, which are an additional $500. But they sure do look good.

It’s no wonder people stop and stare: the XKR is one of the snarliest-looking cars on the planet, with low-slung body, slippery styling and muscular haunches. The two-door configuration is fine for front-seat passengers, but only those truly desperate for a ride, or perhaps a couple of Munchkins, could curl up into the deep-set buckets that pass for rear seats. The XKR is really a two-seater with some extra space behind the front chairs.

Test Drive: 2010 Jaguar XKR car test drives luxury cars jaguar
Test Drive: 2010 Jaguar XKR car test drives luxury cars jaguar
2010 Jaguar XKR. Click image to enlarge

Once you get in, the red light in the console-mounted starter button flashes rhythmically to mimic a heartbeat. Press it, and you’re rewarded with the sound of that massive V8 coming to life and sending its rumble out the quad pipes. As the engine starts, a dial slowly rises out of the centre console: it’s the gearshift selector, which you rotate to the desired gear. It’s a showstopper for first-time drivers and passengers, although I’ve heard horror stories from tow truck drivers who say that if it fails to emerge, the centre console must be dismantled in order to put the car into neutral for towing. It remains pretty much the only offbeat trick in Jaguar’s offerings. Vents that closed completely to form a smooth dash when the car was shut off, and slid silently open when it was started, have been replaced with the plain-Jane variety. Likewise, sensors that opened the glovebox door or turned on the reading lights when a hand was waved in front of them have been swapped for garden-variety buttons. There is a limit to how much gee-whiz you want in a car that’s dependent on a British electrical system.

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