2013 Jaguar XKR
2013 Jaguar XKR. Click image to enlarge
Comparison Test: Luxury Toys

Manufacturer’s website
Jaguar Canada

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Photo Gallery:
2013 Jaguar XKR

Beauty is as beauty does.

At the risk of sounding superficial, unprofessional, or just plain glassy-eyed love-struck, such is the enduring beauty of the Jaguar XKR Coupe, I would desire this 2+2 even if it were powered by a two-stroke Trabant engine and, in the words of Monty Python, “smelled of elderberries.”

Turns out, the Jag is not powered by a Trabant engine. The 510-hp 5.0L supercharged V8 is epic, featuring whip-crack throttle response, road-melting torque and an exhaust note for the ages.

Five years on, Ian Callum’s all-aluminum XKR still looks drop-dead gorgeous from every angle. It’s a flowing, sensual confluence of recesses, curves and classic Jaguar cues culminating in arguably the perfect expression of modern British sports car beauty.

Yeah, I know. Get a room.

And if you want to plead the case for Aston Martin, Callum had a hand in those too.

2013 Jaguar XKR
2013 Jaguar XKR
2013 Jaguar XKR. Click image to enlarge

Base price for the 2013 Jaguar XKR Coupe is $109,125. This tester flaunted some extra visual mojo thanks to the $10,900 Dynamic Pack that adds 20-inch forged Vulcan alloy wheels (named after the Roman god of the forge rather than the logical race of humanoids on Star Trek, I’d wager…), red brake calipers, 10 mm reduction in ride height, body-coloured side sill extensions, rear diffuser, and XKR Aerodynamic Pack that consists of front splitter and larger rear spoiler.

The pack also bestows forged and fully machined front knuckles with unique spring and damper settings, uprated Adaptive Dynamics and a maximum speed limiter increase from 250 km/h to 280 km/h.

Perhaps the thing that most surprises about the XKR is its bad-ass attitude that is merely an ankle flex away. Yes, it coddles and cruises as a proper Jag should, but push a little harder and this beauty queen gets all gnarly.

Even with the stability control on the default setting, goose this coupe in a sharp bend on cold tires and its shapely arse sidesteps in a most entertaining fashion—before the electronics rein things in. And I’ll admit it caught me off guard. Kinda’ like going on a date with the prom queen and she roudhouse-kicks your old girlfriend. Love it.

In contrast, the stoic Mercedes-Benz SL 550 will allow no such hooliganism unless really provoked.

A button on the XKR’s console marked with a checkered flag calls up sport mode, which does the usual thing with high performance machinery equipped with such presets—it firms up the adaptive dampers and steering feel, increases throttle response, sharpens the transmission mapping, and relaxes the electronic stability control.

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