I find it only fitting that on Valentine’s Day I write about one of the vehicle’s I am most in love with – the Jaguar XKR, and in convertible form no less.
Since Jaguar redesigned the XK line for the 2007 model year, we have been raving about how much we adore this Castle Bromwich pussycat doll which, in hardtop coupe form, looks as much at home in a museum of modern art as it would in the carriage house.
And while Mother Nature may preclude us from truly benefiting from the passionate driving experience offered by the convertible version of this purebred, we managed a healthy dose of motoring nirvana nonetheless.
High-tech, high fashion and high craftsmanship provide stellar supporting roles to the Jag’s beauty, and the motorcar is an absolute dream to drive.
Despite rolling out in a 2+2 seating format only two adults will fit comfortably in any XK or XKR model. Just consider the rear seat area a voluminous extension of the trunk compartment.
Where XK ends, XKR grabs up the baton and finishes the race. Underneath the long aluminum bonnet is the smooth and quiet all-aluminum 4.2-liter V-8 engine but in supercharged form when wearing the “R” badge and churning out some 420 ponies. This kitty has claws.
A slick six-speed automatic gearbox sends this power to the rear wheels under the watchful supervision of dynamic stability control and computer active technology suspension, and for the first time, drivers have the option of steering wheel mounted shift paddles to control the transmission. When pushing the powertrain to dynamic limits in sport mode of the J-gate shifter, drivers are treated to a dose of throttle blips to further engage the senses.
Bringing the spirited cat to a halt is as effortless as most other functions on the XKR thanks to a healthy dose of performance disc brakes. Our tester was treated to the Senta wheel upgrade for its 20-inch performance rubber that occupies each broad-shouldered corner, and tire pressure monitoring technology plays nanny over them all.
The 2008 XKR features a lot of unique and race-inspired technology, including that big red start button on the center console as part of the keyless entry/start system, and state-of-the-art safety systems that wrap occupants in a cocoon-like sanctuary.
Were we to find something to give us pause it would be the learning curve required to fully navigate the center dash touchscreen computer system that integrates the audio, climate, navigation and driver information systems. We did manage to quickly find the steering wheel heater function this morning as another cold front blew through last night. Priorities, you know.
Comfort and convenience take no back seat to the level of performance found in the XKR convertible (actually, nothing does if you have been paying attention here) and Jaguar loads the drop-top cat to the whiskers with all the latest goodies. These include premium Alpine audio system with digital surround sound and subwoofer, Bluetooth wireless technology, adaptive front bi-xenon lighting (with powerwash function) that turn into the corner with you and, of course, those huggable, heated 10-way power front seats.
Fuel economy is manageable in the big cat, albeit on premium grade, with ratings of 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, and trust me, this is a car that begs to get out and test that highway mileage rating.
The Jaguar XKR is not for the faint of heart (or pocketbook) as one of these loaded convertible models will set you back a bit over a hundred grand. And if you spend any time with the 2008 Jaguar XKR convertible, you might just find yourself asking it, “Won’t you be my Valentine?”