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

Review by Brendan McAleer, photos by Brendan McAleer and courtesy Jaguar

In the Queen’s English, there is no such thing as a white horse, only a grey one. White horses are either albinos, or they are merely white-appearing with dark skin and eyes – like the Lipizzaner stallions, for instance. These breeds are more properly called greys.

So too is this big white cat actually a bit grey. The Jaguar XK series has been been on sale since 2007 and debuted two years before that. Many of those who own these long-nosed coupes are perhaps themselves greying about the temples. It’s a distinguished-looking car but an older one, and it runs in a segment that’s filled with recently updated, high-tech Germanic rocketry.

However, the XKR has several things going for it. Despite the fact that Jag gets kicked to the bottom of any reliability survey or projection you’d care to name, most owner reviews seem to indicate that things aren’t actually that bad. If the XF and XJ have teething troubles, somehow the XK seems to be relatively trouble-free for most folks. Granted, many Jaguar enthusiasts will be willing to put up with issues that an ordinary car owner might not be, but neither BMW nor Mercedes has a reputation for building cars that are completely trouble-free either.

Yes, this is an older design, but that makes it a known quantity, and Jaguar’s had the opportunity to polish their production over the years, in particular picking up a few initial quality awards recently. All I can tell you definitively about the car is that it never gave me any trouble during my week with it, and that people seem fairly happy with their 2007 and up cars. Disclaimer: I won’t help you fix it if I’m wrong.

It is a very pretty looking thing though, isn’t it? I like to think of the XK as the Hawker Hurricane to Aston Martin’s Spitfires. The former were even more successful than the latter fighter planes in the Battle of Britain, but somehow all the glory went to the fancier one.

Here’s the thing though: the Jaguar is half the price of a DB9 and could go toe-to-toe with it when it comes to performance. Well, the same could be said of a Nissan GT-R, for that matter, but the Jaguar simply looks just as classy as the Aston – aggressive, but not too aggressive, shapely, not angry. While I could live without this particular car’s somewhat gauche blacked-out screw-studded 20” alloys, the XKR has presence without shouting about it.

Er, that’s shouting visually, I mean. Stomp on the rightmost pedal and 510 supercharged V8 horsepowers get very shouty indeed. Before that though, check out the interior.

2013 Jaguar XKR2013 Jaguar XKR
2013 Jaguar XKR. Click image to enlarge

There are several complaints to be made about the interior of the XKR, but it’s all minor stuff. The steering wheel, for instance, is a bit outdated looking. The rear seats are completely useless – I did manage to fit the child seat back there as a lark, but this thing makes the Scion FR-S look like a Toyota Sienna.

Also, the electronics and switchgear all look a bit circa 2007. It all works, but it’s also a bit olde worlde, particularly ye navigation system. This last is slow to react, some of the menu layouts are a bit quirky – basically, it’s old technology.

The puck-shaped shifter that rises out from between the seats is a neat bit of theatre, but really no more impressive to use than a column shifter would be. Actually, it can be a bit fiddly sometimes when you’re trying to do a three-point turn, and in a car this big, that’s not an infrequent occurrence. However, once you’ve got everything all sorted, put the car into dynamic mode and off we go down the road. Sideways.

Connect with Autos.ca