Last year I wrote about the Jaguar XKR convertible as one of the cars I love the most on – appropriately – Valentine’s Day. This year I find folks green with envy as I enjoy the 2009 model on (wait for it) St. Patrick’s Day, as well as the first day of Spring.
Since Jaguar redesigned the XK line for the 2007 model year, I have been raving about how much I adore this Castle Bromwich pussycat doll which, in coupe or convertible form, looks as much at home in a museum of modern art as it would in the carriage house.
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 an open extension of the diminutive 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 churns out some 420 ponies.
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, in fine F-1 fashion, drivers have the availability of steering wheel-mounted shift paddles to control the transmission as well. Adding to the thoroughly engaging driving experience, the Jag treats occupants to a healthy dose of throttle blips when shifting manually.
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 2009 XKR features quite the array 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.
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 (that automatically adjusts output for top up or to down conditions), 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 this sleek feline, 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.
This summer, Jaguar is set to release a new XKR model, complete with new 5.0-liter supercharged engine pushing power output to 500 ponies.