Jaguar XKR: Budget Supercar
The Jaguar XKR is now a used car bargain. A supercar as good in many ways as an Aston DB7 but far more affordable.
The DB7 was supposed to be the new Jag coupe, to replace the old XJS, but was launched badged as an Aston Martin (both companies were owned by Ford at the time), followed about a year later by the similar, cheaper and in many ways better Jaguar XK8 with the newly developed V8 engine. The supercharged XKR version followed shortly afterwards. The DB7 Vantage with the huge V12 was Aston's answer to this competition from its sibling, which is also a lovely car, but with enormous running costs and a far higher purchase price.
This review of the XKR looks at the pros and cons of owning one of these powerful, fast luxury sports coupes and the running costs, reliability etc.
The XK8 and XKR have featured in various films: A Jaguar XKR is driven by the villain, Zao in the Bond Film, Die Another Day, whereas James Bond has a V12 Aston Martin Vanquish (see video clips below); an XK8 convertible is driven by Leonard Shelby, the main character in Matthias Zeller's excellent film, Memento and an XK8 is owned by the playboy brother in the sitcom "Two and a Half Men".
The Jaguar XKR GT2 will be representing Jaguar at the Le Mans 24 Hour Motor Race in France this year (12th to 13th June 2010) to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Jaguar Marque, which used to dominate the event about 50 years ago. This year they will be up against BMW, Peugeot, Aston Martin and Audi.
A Big Beautiful Cat
This is a large beautiful sleek Grand Turismo (GT) car, not really a "sports" car. It is often compared with the Porsche 911 but I think it is more like a traditional Aston Martin in character. It is smooth, very powerful and fast and extremely comfortable, if you are in the front. The rear seats are almost pointless, but look great, beautifully covered in expensive leather. I've never tried sitting in them, as I would probably never be able to get out again. Ideal for some luggage. The boot is big enough for a couple of fairly large sized suitcases. More than enough for a couple of weeks touring, which is what this car is so perfectly designed for. The interior is beautifully old-fashioned with wooden dashboard and lots of dials, although some cars have a sat-nav screen in the middle which doesn't look as good, in my opinion.
I have the supercharged XKR coupe version which has almost an extra 100 bhp more than the standard XK8 (about 380bhp) although I have driven both and even the standard one is a very desirable car. The convertible is also good, but didn't appear to handle quite as well, although has the advantage that you can hear that wonderful V8 engine. In the coupe you have to stick your head out of the window and drive like an idiot through a tunnel before you really get the full effect of the noise. The XKR has Computer Active Suspension (CATS) which makes it handle even better, and automatically tightens up the shock absorbers when you drive on twisty roads, although this is an option on the standard car as well. The handling and ride really are very good for such a big car.
Jaguar XKR 4.0 Performance and Specification
Engine: Supercharged 4 litre V8
Power: 370 bhp (237 kW) @ 5400 rpm
Torque: 387 ft lb (525 Nm) @ 3750 rpm
0-60 mph 5.2s
Top speed: 155 mph (250 kph) limited
Jaguar XKR Costs...?
The best thing about this car is the price. At Â£70K new with lots of extra options it seems rather pricey, but after just a few years the price drops quite dramatically. The oldest examples are well below Â£10,000 now, although could be an expensive nightmare in old age as with any old Jaguar, but a middle-aged low-mileage example in good condition could easily cost less than Â£15,000 to Â£20,000. I have read stories of expensive maintenance problems, but so far (touch wood) have had no problems at all with my 7-year-old in almost 3 years and 30,000 miles. Pre-2000 cars have cylinders lined with Nikasil which reacted with some kinds of high-sulphur petrol available at the time, causing many cars to need replacement engines due to excessive cylinder-liner wear, so extreme caution should be taken when considering such cars. All later cars will not have the problem and some of the older ones will have had a new engine anyway.
The running costs are high. Insurance is group 20 for the XKR and servicing at a Jaguar main dealer is expensive, although obviously less expensive if you use a independent specialist. My servicing costs have averaged Â£410 per 10,000 miles using an independent specialist, but I may have been lucky. Always budget for a possible very large bill. Fuel consumption however is perhaps not as bad as it could be at about 20 to 24 mpg which is better than some comparable cars, such as Maserati coupes, Astons etc. although with current fuel prices may still make you think twice before putting your foot down. Oil consumption on my car is negligible, so high oil consumption could indicate a potential problem. Tyres are big and quite expensive at about Â£150 each for the standard wheels.
Summary: Buy one
Jag XKR vs Porsche 911 vs BMW something or other
Here is a review and a race between the Jaguar XKR, Porsche 911 and a BMW 6 series, presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May for the BBC Top Gear programme (Guess which one wins)
Practicality: How big are Jaguar XK Rear Seats? - Are Jaguar XK, XK8 and XKR rear-seats big enough for children or child seats?
Yes. Just about (unless you have the new convertible version)
Other Related Articles
Top Gear XKR Testdrive
Here's Jeremy Clarkson again...
Jaguars for Sale
The Jaguar XKR featured in this article is now also for sale (due to the arrival of a young child) or to P/X for a a Jaguar XJ8:
FOR SALE: Jaguar XKR 4.0 Supercharged Coupe
Location: Richmond, West London, U.K.
Year: 2000 (X)
Mileage: 77,300 miles
Colour: Dark Blue
MOT: to November 2011
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