2011 Jaguar XKR | road test

Posted on Oct 27, 2011 by

2011 Jaguar XKRMy impression of the Englishman, epitomized in a song by Sting, “An Englishman in New York” also resonates my image of ; calm, composed, opulent and even classy. Then I switch on the news one August day, 2011 and I find hooliganism being traded in for all of the above. It got me thinking could there be a wild side to Jags as well?! Rightly so, there is.
Let me introduce to you the 2011 Jaguar XKR. Just look at it. It makes other Jags look like men in tuxedoes using the rest room at a cocktail party, desperately hiding their privates from each other while this one’s just loitering unclad with pomp. It’s a looker and show-off no doubt and there is something about that vulgarity that can make slaves out of a gender, not male. I am witness…2011 Jaguar XKRSTYLE EYE

It is no secret that Jag’s have always possessed idiosyncratic flair since the early days. The E-type has been glorified year in, year out and has won every accolade possible. The XJ 220 from 1990’s has been the teenager’s wallpaper for good decade and don’t even get me started on the XK roadster from 1954. The XKR is not at par with those divine delineations but in totality there is something beautiful about it. Starting with the gaping front grille, reminiscing F1 cars of yore.  Then there is the tone of aggression set by the air scoops in the bonnet, the side slits and the chrome tipped quad exhaust. The front and rear lamps though are a little bland, even dismal like English rain. It’s just something you need to get used to. As for the decals, the leaping jag decal alone would have been good; the extra stripes gets a minus. Not surprising though, the XKR is the most photographed car (by random folk) we have ever had on our test fleet (bet the decals helped!).
From the insides, you don’t get that you are driving a high performance luxury car, one that you’ve paid top dollar for. It’s a bit of a plain jane. Yes, the alcantara cabin lining is like brushing horse skin and the chrome accents on the seat controls are positively classy, but it ends there.
Interesting bits? The XK has a sort of tub effect, the door sill does not lay flat with floor.
Irritating bits? The pop-up shift knob a.k.a Jaguar Drive Selector. Call me old fashioned but nothing feels better than gripping a gear lever (even on an automatic) and for such a speed wagon, you’d expect the speedometer to show atleast 320, this has an uninspiring 270 inscribed. Also, the Speedo could have been bigger.
Funny bit? One morning when I pulled up at a gas station, some guy came over and asked about the car, he seemed amazed. After that tit-bit conversation, he tells me that I should have gotten another colour. Now imagine you’re being your cool self driving around in a car that costs over a 100,000 USD and a guy says that to you. You will either run him over or go crash into the nearest lamp post.2011 Jaguar XKRENGINE & PERFORMANCE

The motor that powers the XKR is a tried and tested one. It’s found home in the Supercharged Range Rover & Jags very own XJ SS. Between 6,000 – 6,500rpm the 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 produces 510 mechanical horses. It may look like pocket change these days, but the 625Nm available from a 2,500rpm all the way till 5,500rpm, backs it up properly.  So then what’s the problem? Traction!
Everytime you floor it, traction control kicks in and then power is cut down by half and its “Party Over, People!”. It certainly is a tragic tale of horses. On the highway though, its pace is blistering. Spot an over taking opportunity and you’ve got instant torque for over-taking; as evident from the 60 to 120km/h time of just 3.4 seconds.
Braking is good but brake pedal feel has a profound sense of mediocrity to it and we shared the same concerns with the gas pedal.
Keep your foot down long enough and the needle bristles past the 280 mark. Decent? Yes! But not considering that your friendly neighbourhood Cayenne Turbo (and ofcourse you are going to have a few of those around, assuming you’d be staying at the Arabian Ranches, Dubai Marina etc.) can do 0 to 100 in 4.7 seconds and it tops out at 278 km/h.2011 Jaguar XKRRIDE & HANDLING

In good faith Jaguar have installed  electronic nannies between gas pedal and the colossal 625Nm of torque, but they should also have known better than sticking 285mm wide tyres at the rear. We think 305s would have fared better. On flooring the pedal on city streets, traction control lamp illuminates and the car keeps seasaw-ing with you as fulcrum. It loses composure quickly and regains it just as fast.  Switch off all the electronics and plant your foot and you instantaneously lite up the rear tyres; a crazy smoke machine it becomes. I’ve been to hell and back on a few occasions.
From a driver’s car perspective the steering is light, too light perhaps and does not communicate well enough. That R badge simply doesn’t do to the XK what the M does to the 3 Series.


The rear seats are really cramped and do not equate to the size of the car, luckily the carpeted cargo bay enjoys a better dimensions; boot space is good for a suitcase and a few rucksacks.2011 Jaguar XKRThe month of September was not a cool weathered one, but both the air-conditioning and seat cooling worked in our favour, so we didn’t break a sweat, literally. The distance on the Adaptive cruise control can be regulated on the steering quite easily, unlike in the Audi A8 where u need to log into MMI and for all that dough you dish out you don’t get a rear camera. I’m part surprised, part appalled.
Bowers & Wilkins, the manufacturer for the 525W system featuring Dolby® Pro-Logic II Surround Sound is world acclaimed but we think its good for second prize. Clarity is good and power output is mediocre. Integrated into the central bin are the USB ports and ipod dock. But scanning through their song listings is a tedious task, you need to make clinical touches of the screen; no scroll knob here. Thumbs down!
The sat-nav displays has some near life like representation of important landmarks, but negotiating the controls on the insensitive touch-screen is a hassle, especially if you’re used to the swipes on an iPhone 4.
The knobs on the centre console especially the radio power button are small and meant for the unworked hands of the bureaucrat. For us working crew, we prefer slightly larger knobs.2011 Jaguar XKRFUEL ECONOMY

Half way through the ‘domestication of the beast’ we had to return it. The econometer read 16.6 l/100km. Not bad for such a bad a**, especially considering that our performance test runs and some show-off revs at mall entrances and others, were all accounted for.


This nifty piece of anglo-indian machinery retailed at a not so cheap Dhs. 430,000. The convertible Dhs. 455,000. Apparently 2011 stocks are done, prices for the 2012 models mentioned below.


There is no hiding that the XKR is a good GT car. Touring the Isle of Mann or driving down Europe’s best say the San Bernardino Pass listening to that thunderous wail or the B&W audio in comfort in the XKR should be on everyone’s bucket list. But here, on the streets of Dubai or any other Middle Eastern city. It simply doesn’t fit, especially if you want to enjoy the thrills of speed. It is a handful to maneuver on city streets, a hooligan it is. But on counts of exclusivity or its sporting silhouette, buy it! And since all that grunt seems less than usable, we say save yourself a few grand, get the regular 385bhp 5.0-litre XK and be merry.
2011 Jaguar XKR


Engine: Supercharged 5.0-litre AJ-V8 GEN III
Max power (bhp @ rpm): 510bhp @ 6,000 – 6,500 rpm
Max torque (Nm @ rpm): 625Nm @ 2,500 – 5,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic transmission with Jaguar Sequential Shift™
Drivetrain layout: front engine; rear wheel drive
Weight: 1,753kg


0 to 100km/h: 4.8 seconds (claimed)
0 to 60km/h: 2.9 seconds (tested)
0 to 100km/h: 4.9 seconds (tested)
80 to 120km/h: 2.5 seconds (tested)
60 to 120km/h: 3.4 seconds (tested)
100 to 0km/h: 3.2 seconds (tested)
Top speed: 280km/h w/ speed pack (claimed)


Price as tested: Dhs. 430,000
Price on a 2012 model : Dhs. 450,000

One Response to 2011 Jaguar XKR | road test

  1. Kayo Reply

    October 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    It’d be great if you guys could add video to it , even if its just of the car, but you guys driving to it…

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