It’s nice to see that Jaguar has updated a few minor details on the XK. The old-school power antenna is gone, the headliner is much nicer, and there are some other minor improvements inside. Luckily, the company didn’t change the way the XK drives, as this XKR Convertible is still a wonderful car. From the linear steering to excellent ride quality, this is the best driving car in the class. You wouldn’t believe it’s on twenty-inch wheels as it glides over Michigan’s horrible roads. The six-speed ZF automatic is also miles ahead of the seven-speed setup in the Mercedes SL. Still, I can’t help thinking the Jaguar isn’t screwed together or designed as well as an SL. Some of the interior plastics just don’t feel fantastic. Plus, the slow to respond touch screen (also seen in the XF) is annoying. Ergonomically, the touch screen is quite good but it needs to have a much faster interface. Still, the Jaguar is a wonderful car to drive and that supercharged V-8 is very strong and sounds great.
Marc Noordeloos, Road Test Editor
I forgot that I was in an XKR rather than simply an XK until I was driving home behind a pokey driver in a BMW 3-series who did not adjust quickly enough, in my opinion, to the reality that Miller Road had segued from 30 mph to 40 mph to 50 mph. A passing lane opened, I flicked on the left turn signal, entered the left lane, and hit the gas. Whoosh! The rev needle swung around the dial, the ZF downshifted instantly and smoothly, and the supercharged V-8 made waste of the 3-series in about four seconds. Even before I had fully passed the BMW, I turned on the high-beam headlights, which illuminated the road ahead in a bright crown of white light.
I drove the XKR immediately after spending two days in our Four Seasons sedan, and it was interesting to drive them back-to-back. The XF, of course, has a more modern interior, what with its rising shift knob, hidden vents, and London nightclub aesthetics, but the XKR’s cabin is still a huge leap into the contemporary scene when compared with the fussy, cramped interior of its predecessor.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
2008 Jaguar XKR Convertible
Base Price (with destination): $94,175
Price as tested: $99,425
-Adaptive Cruise Control – $2,200
-Lux Aluminum Weave Pack – $2,300
-Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound System – $750
15 city/23 highway (18 combined)
HP: 420 HP
Torque: 413 lb.-ft.
Transmission: 6-speed auto
Weight: 3671 lb.
19 in./ 245/40ZR19 Front