Ever since the halcyon days of Jaguar’s formative years the British car maker has had a happy knack of delivering some eye catching icons. As those early days of the 1940s and 1950s bore witness to the company’s founding father Sir William Lyons’ aim to produce cars boasting ‘grace, space and pace’ so the legendary big cats have continued to attract attention.
There is very much a luxurious character to the XK and XKR body style, whether in hard-top coupe guise or the cloth cocooned convertible which is driven here. This is truly a sophisticated grand tourer with the power to move the sports car experience on to a new level courtesy of class leading body strength coupled with the lightest aluminum architecture leading to an on road performance boosting fuel efficiency and delivering some precise chassis dynamics.
You can’t really deliver a reworked model of anything without some cosmetic change and Jaguar has not failed here presenting an ever so subtle makeover with visible changes to the front bumpers, LED indicators worked into the wing mirrors and LED assistance to the tail lights.
Although pretty spacious for driver and front passenger, the XKR is very much a 2+2 with space in the rear perhaps best reserved for children, while the boot is actually surprisingly generous at 313 litres
The cabin is in harmony with the sporting character of a well crafted interior and the XKR’s luxury heritage shines through regardless of body style.
The thoughtfully laid out dashboard features new white background illumination while the XKR emphasises its performance qualities with red pointers for the instrumentation.
In what is very much a sporting model, Jaguar has continued to do the luxury bit in time honoured fashion. There is plenty of stitched leather to admire alongside shining chromework and some jewel like touches while Jaguar’s legendary use of real wood veneer has not been neglected.
Neither has the luxury touch for in-car features with the mod cons line-up including the likes of heated/cooled seating, plus a steering wheel which heats up, automatic climate control, a Bowers & Wilkins sound system with six-disc CD changer and user friendly sat nav.
The showcase feature is the Jaguar Drive Selector. Neatly packaged, this cylindrical driver aid rises from the centre console when you press the Start Button and links with the smooth operating six-speed automatic transmission to deliver stacks of exhilarating driver involvement.
Other driving aids in the guise of the Jaguar Control system can deliver Winter Mode and a hugely racy Dynamic Mode to boost grip.
True wind-in-your-hair driving awaits at the touch of a button which enables the triple lined fabric roof to be powered up or down in under 18 seconds. However, while the flush folding roof retracts completely into the bodywork behind the rear seats it doesn’t disturb the sporting lines of the XKR.
All the best Jaguars are renowned for their Grand Tourer abilities and this latest generation of XK sports coupes and convertibles are hugely capable of continuing the good work.