Future Ride: 2012 Jaguar XKR-S
The Jaguar XKR-S is one angry cat. From the front, it’s lowered stance makes it look as though it’s about to pounce upon you at any second. Even its grille port looks like a menacing mouth, snarling at anyone who dares come close to the roaring beast. And we do mean beast. With 550HP and 502 lb-ft of torque coming from the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 power plant under the beautifully sloping bonnet, this Jag howls when the accelerator meets the floorboard. It sounds as though you’ve stepped directly on it’s tail. It’s not the first time the English luxe car company has dabbled with these letters in sequence (in 2004, they debuted the XK-RS at the Chicago Auto Show, and then crafted 200 XKR-S rides for top Euro clients in 2009). And it’s gotten more impressive with each showing. Tim Philippo, Product Manager for Jaguar, breaks down what makes this $132,000 car leap. BoldRide: Why does Jaguar keep coming back to the XKR-S? Philippo: The XKR-S is the ultimate evolution of the XKR. No one ever drove the XKR with 510 horsepower and said, ‘you know what this car really needs? More horsepower.’ Even the base car, the XK, with its 385 HP, naturally aspirated V-8, really moves. That car is more than enough for 99% of the world. But there’s that small percentage where too much is never enough. So the XKR works for them, with 510 HP and a little bit of a unique appearance. Yet the team at Jaguar knew that car could do more; that engine could be pushed further. We wanted to make something that celebrated Jaguar’s racing heritage. We wondered what happens if we turn the volume on a XKR up to an 11, without blowing the speakers. Thus we have the XKR-S. Where’s the ideal place to drive the XKR-S? You can drive to work everyday, but you can also drive to the Nurburging, lay down a 7.50 lap time and then drive home. Our zero-to-sixty time is quoted at 4.2 seconds, but that’s conservative. It’s top speed, 186 mph, is electronically limited and while it sounds like an odd number in the US, that’s 300Kmh, and that’s a big deal for European customers who want to be a part of the 300 club.
How does all that power translate to driving outside of a racing track?
Where you really feel it on the RS is the in-gear acceleration. When you’re coming down that exit ramp, about to merge onto the highway, and you just bury the throttle, the torque that comes online surges you forward and the cars that were behind you on the exit ramp are just gone. Nowhere to be seen. Look at the speedometer and you’re at about 110mph. It’s alarmingly quick and you actually have to change your mental mindset when driving a car this fast. Ten years ago, 550 horsepower was unheard of and now we’re giving it to you in a car that you can drive to work everyday.
And when you’re on the track?
It’s all about the transmission. On the racetrack, if left in sport mode or in auto, it’s always in the right gear. It’s great to learn a track with because you can think about your apexes and lines instead of your gears. Once you’re comfortable with them, you can add in the paddles and sort out how to shift perfectly. It’s an easy car to drive well.
Who’s been buying them?
We’ve had Lamborghini Gallardos traded in for an XKR-S. Also a Nissan GTR, and a few Aston Martins. The RS is for the guy who has a fast car and wants everyone to know he has a fast car. Which is why you get it in the French Racing Blue paint job or something equally loud and not intended for shrinking violets. If you are a shy person, I do not recommend driving a car such as this where the exhaust sounds like artillery fire.
It’s fantastically loud. How did you accomplish that?
We put a crossover pipe in the exhaust system and when you put the car in dynamic mode, it switches over to a performance active exhaust, which opens up these baffles and it’s almost like straight pipes coming out the back. It is alarmingly loud. But it’s a satisfying loud. You can hear it from a quarter mile away. You are not going to sneak around your neighborhood. You’ll be that guy. Everyone will know who you are.
See more of the Jaguar XKR-S here