Juar XKR â€“ Review: Anybody with a pulse will feel it quicken when gazing upon the 2007 Jaguar XKR. From the fender vents to the hood louvers to its tight proportions, its sleek lines promise performance. Looks have never been Jaguarâ€™s shortcoming, but previous XKâ€™s delivered an underwhelming driving experience that failed to deliver on the stylingâ€™s promise. This new XKR largely changes that. Its supercharged powertrain is a masterpiece, the suspension is a good compromise between handling and that silky Jaguar ride, and from the driverâ€™s seat there are few cars that fill the high-performance GT role as well as this car. Despite this, we were distracted by several refinement shortcomings in the XKR that buyers may not accept on a $90,000 car.The Frost Blue 2007 Jaguar XKR we drove had a base price of $86,500 including a $665 destination charge. For that you get the supercharged 4.2-liter V8 engine and excellent six-speed automatic, an active exhaust system that keeps things quiet at cruise but lets it roar at full throttle, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone synching, dual climate control, bi-xenon headlights and most â€“ note we said most â€“ of the luxury equipment youâ€™d expect of a car in this price range. The only option noted on the sticker was the $2,200 active cruise control system, however, our test car was also fitted with the $5,000 20-inch wheel package, which means our car stickered for $93,700.
If you see an â€œRâ€ in a Jagâ€™s nomenclature, youâ€™re in for a good time. Under the long louvered hood of the XKR rests a supercharged 4.2-liter V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower and 413 lb.-ft. of torque. Routing that power to the rear wheels is a six-speed automatic transmission with manual control through paddles mounted on the steering wheel. The thrust is prodigious, pinning you in your seat as the automatic shifts effortlessly. Use the paddles and it matches revs on downshifts, blipping the throttle with the expertise of a Formula 1 driver. Shifts are harsher in manual mode, and the transmission upshifts redline in either mode, but otherwise this is an excellent powertrain that also netted us 15.6 mpg.
This is a close-coupled two-door, so visibility is limited in every direction except for directly in front of you. The long hood is visible from the driverâ€™s seat, but not the nose, which can make parking the XKR an equal combination of skill and crossed fingers. Look out back and things are tougher. The sloping rear glass creates huge blind spots and turns lane changes into a memory game â€“ what happened to that motorcycle anyhow? The rear glass didnâ€™t help much. We donâ€™t know if it was the glass, the severe angle, or a combination of both, but warps and waves in the glass turned the world behind us into a funhouse mirror.
A grand tourer like the XKR errs on the side of ride comfort more than a sports car like the Porsche 911. So the ride is firm without being harsh, but a stiffer chassis would eliminate shudders over really rough stuff. At its handling limits the Jag understeers uncomfortably, and the too-light steering is devoid of feedback. But keep it at about 8/10 and the steeringâ€™s quick ratio, the big tires and the carâ€™s roll resistance and sharp responses combine for an enjoyable mountain road run. The traction control comes on subtly but early; shutting it off increases understeer, but with so much power you can kick the tail out with a little creative effort.
Fun is flooring the XKR at a stoplight and watching the plebes in lesser cars disappear. The active exhaust opens up and the XKR sounds like a vintage Chris Craft boat. The transmission is so good it left us wondering if the days of traditional manuals really are numbered. Despite its drawbacks itâ€™s still fun to throw around a curve, and if you donâ€™t get a thrill each time you look upon the XKR, well, we feel sorry for you. Being seen in the XKR is half the fun; during our week with it we got countless thumbs up by other drivers, queries about how we liked it, and were sometimes simply followed by dreamers.
Front ComfortFront Comfort
Itâ€™s amazing what a modern chassis can do for comfort. While dimensionally similar to the old XKR â€“ which boasted a chassis dating to the Nixon era â€“ this carâ€™s modern aluminum structure offers plenty of foot, leg and head room, despite its low stance and tight-looking cockpit. Though you sit low, the seat is supportive and comfortable both for regular driving and hard cornering. Even tall drivers will find plenty of head room in the XKR, and the steering column adjusts electrically for angle and reach. Both seats are adjustable 10 ways, and heated for those cold mornings (although the heater controls are annoyingly located on the touch screen). The low stance makes getting in and out difficult.
Rear ComfortRear Comfort
We received no protest whatsoever from the various gym bags and briefcases we stowed on the rear â€œseats.â€ While they slid around quite a lot on the leather, they didnâ€™t seem to mind the tight quarters. We refused to put an actual human being back there, however, for fear of triggering a Gitmo-sized torture scandal. These arenâ€™t really seats, theyâ€™re beautifully upholstered package shelves. One editor laughed out loud when he noticed that there were LATCH points for child seats; there is no child seat in existence that would fit back there. These seats are an unfunny joke; Jaguar should just make the XKR a two-seater.2007 Jaguar XKR ReviewInterior NoiseThe XKR is not without its flaws, and interior noise is near the top of the list. Supercharger whine has been virtually eliminated, but the 20-inch tires are a constant companion, rumbling over rough pavement, howling at speed, and generally making a nuisance of themselves (although we loved the grip they provided). But thereâ€™s a lot of other noise coming through as well, such as wind noise at the top of the windshield, and the rumble of the engineâ€™s exhaust note. At least one source of irritating noise can be shut off: the lousy stereo.
Loading Cargo Loading Cargo
The XKRâ€™s hatch can swallow enough cargo for two people on a long weekend, as long as nobody packs anything very tall. Since the car itself is so low, the liftover is low as well. Your golf clubs will appreciate the soft full carpeting and the handsome metal cargo rails on the floor. We were able to stuff a family-sized load of groceries in back without smashing any eggs or bread, not bad for a car whose shape is the very essence of anti-utility. In a pinch, those alleged rear seats can be used as additional cargo space.
The poor assembly quality is an insult to the high quality materials used inside the XKR. Thick carpet is on the floors, transmission tunnel and lower part of the door panels. The white leather in our test car was already showing some dirt, but it was as soft and supple as any weâ€™ve ever felt. The wood trim was beautiful, and the stitched dash cover was elegant and classy. We did notice a sharp edge on the bottom of the airbag cover on the steering wheel, and a few other places where the poor fit of the wood trim exposed a hard edge, but overall itâ€™s hard to complain about the materials inside the XKRâ€™s cabin.
The XKR is smooth and elegant, with modern touches blended beautifully with the classic Jaguar shape. It keeps an eye on the past while still moving Jaguarâ€™s style into the future, avoiding the retro quagmire that has so hurt the rest of the line. The hood louvers are functional, venting heat from the supercharger, and the vents behind the front wheels are purely decorative but a very nice touch. We love the muscularity of the sheetmetal bulging over the rear wheels, and the mesh inserts in the grille and lower fascia bespeak performance in an understated way. Even the small ducktail spoiler fits the car perfectly. We could spend hours just looking at this car.
As a coupe, and a small one at that, the XKR does the best it can, but doesnâ€™t really offer a lot of storage room. There is a covered bin under the center armrest that can hold a few CDs, door pockets that are just big enough for the tri-fold umbrella that came with our test car, and a reasonably sized glove box. Two cupholders are mounted behind the shift lever, and thatâ€™s about it for storage. Of course, if you decide as we did that the rear seats are useful only for holding stuff and not people, you suddenly find the XKR has tons of room inside for all your junk.
We recently tested a $16,000 Hyundai Elantra. Its base stereo system sounded better than the one in this $88,700 Jaguar. The Jagâ€™s stereo was muddy no matter what we did, and you have to have it pretty well cranked to drown out the noise from the tires and the rest of the car at speed. Its basic functions are easily accessible, with redundant steering wheel controls, but the secondary functions like setting radio presets are hidden in the navigation systemâ€™s display. The nav system works well enough, with good graphical feedback and a generally logical layout. But digging through menus just to program our presets is silly.
The climate control is largely automatic, which is good because things like air flow direction are hidden inside the nav systemâ€™s screen. The stuff you can see is easy to use: separate temperature buttons for the passenger and driver; a big knob in the middle for fan speed, with its front split into automatic and recirculate buttons; rear and front defrost modes. But even turning on the three-level seat heaters required the navigation systemâ€™s screen. It also did a poor job of simply generating cold air. Even on a cool day it struggled to keep the cabin comfortable. Weâ€™d hate to see how it underperforms in the heat.
Secondary ControlsJaguar follows an accepted level of ergonomics in the XKR, with its Ford parts bin window switches on the door panel, headlight switch on the turn signal stalk and a minimum of buttons for the various fog lights, traction control and other bells and whistles on the XKR. Those things that werenâ€™t easily accessible were clearly labeled for the most part. Locking the doors manually means pushing in on the interior door handles, a little counterintuitive, and the door-mounted seat adjustments and electrically adjustable steering column reacted slowly, with a noticeable delay between pushing the button and actual movement. Finding a sweet spot meant constantly under- and over-adjusting; luckily thereâ€™s a memory setting once you get it right.
Pigeonholing the XKR is no easy task. On one end of its competition spectrum is the Porsche 911, a true sports car that can run rings around the XKR on the track or a twisty mountain road, but doesnâ€™t offer the on-road comfort or luxurious interior of the Jaguar. On the other end are cars like the BMW 650i â€“ or the M6 if you want to stretch it â€“ which doesnâ€™t have nearly the visual appeal of the XKR. For more money thereâ€™s the Aston Martin V8 Vantage coupe, the Mercedes-Benz CL or the Maserati Gran Turismo.
2nd Opinion — Chee
Jaguar XKR â€“ Chee Opinion:Great powertrains excuse many sins, just as great styling covers up many a trespass. Thatâ€™s the story behind the 2007 Jaguar XKR: A sweet, supercharged engine mated to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission and a sensuous design hides some noteworthy transgressions, like a noisy cabin with poor build quality and a car that should provide more sport and feel with less understeer when pushed into a corner. At first, when you hop in and hit the road, itâ€™s all good: the seats are comfortable and supportive, the engine note sublime, and the manual shift mode a pleasing thrill. But after about 10 minutes, you begin to wonder if you paid more for the hummmmmmdrmmmmm and rattles inside the cabin or if they came as standard features.
2nd Opinion — Perry Jaguar XKR
Perry Opinion:Based on the appreciative nods, other drivers inquiring about the XKR at stop lights, and drivers stalking the XKR in traffic like pilot fish following a shark, Jaguar nailed the exterior design of the XKR. The supercharged V8 provides plenty of power to back up the aggressive looks and the transmission applies that power to the rear wheels seamlessly in either automatic or manual mode. Shortfalls include interior build quality, a mediocre stereo system, a design issue where the wood trim needs to flow into the door panels to look complete and a sometimes frustrating keyless entry system. Donâ€™t mistake the XKR as a sports car, itâ€™s more of a true GT car.
2nd Opinion — Wardlaw Jaguar XKR
Wardlaw Opinion:Jaguarâ€™s mesmerizing television advertising campaign captivates me with sensuous images of speed, wealth, entitlement, and gorgeous people living the good life in beautiful surroundings. Club music thumps in the background, drawing my attention no matter what Iâ€™m doing. After 60 seconds, I want that life. The ads work. Too bad the car is half-baked, a phenomenal powertrain and great seats installed in a sexy machine that feels and drives like a project car. The nose plows in turns, the steering wheel is uncomfortable to hold, and the sound system pales in comparison to the Bang & Olufsen components in an Audi. Iâ€™d rather spend half what the Jag commands on a loaded BMW 335i Coupe.
CopyRight 2007 by YTB Group
Jaguar XKR 2007