Since 1997, when Jaguar introduced its current generation XK, sales have gone through the roof, especially on the convertible, which outsells the coupe by 8 to 1. As trendy and attractive as the drop top is, the Coupe is actually sleeker and sportier. And in the case of the XKR (offered in either version) it really doesn't get much better.
For 2005, the supercharged coupe received a few mild refinements, but overall it's the same sexy beast capable of sprinting from zero to 60 mph in only 5.3 seconds. That's a surprisingly rapid pace considering the XKR's heft (3,865 pounds) and overall dimensions (188 x 82 inches).
Much of the weight seemingly blows out the window, as acceleration is swift and forceful, a direct result of its 390 bhp. Its 4.2-liter, 32-valve V8 is quite the animal, offering nearly 100 bhp more than the normally aspirated XK8. Mated with a smooth six-speed automatic transmission, the XKR rockets to speed with great enthusiasm and continues to run without hesitation. Cruising at 90 feels like a leisurely drive through the park. Thanks to its slippery aerodynamics, wind noise is minimal, barely a whisper. Virtually the only sound is the rhythmic hum of the fine tuned engine. Squash the pedal and the blower chimes in with characteristic harmony. It's music to my ears.
Engineered with a stiffer body structure and equally stout suspension, the XKR is particularly sporty, able to corner with surprising agility and not bad for a car that's more than a foot longer than a 911. Giant cross-drilled rotors and bright red Brembo calipers peer through equally massive 20-inch alloy wheels, which are, naturally, wrapped in performance rubber. Regardless of its pleasing handling traits, the XKR is more at home on the open highway or cruising Main Street.