Jaguar is the epitome of Britishness and often linked to politicians, most of the British Olympics squad at the moment and on the odd occasion, James Bond.
The XKR-S has hit the road to become one of the most powerful road cars Jaguar has ever produced. With a strong pedigree; it comes from the XK series of grand tourers which Jaguar have made since 1996 and the XK8 was the first 8-cylinder car they produced.
Fast forward ten years and the XKR was released, before the leaping cat took a turn of craziness and unleashed the beast that is the XKR-S. The original was a pussy cat compared to this.
The reason I am calling it a beast is due in part to the 5-litre V8 Supercharged engine, which powers up the 2 door coupe and produces 542bhp. With a maximum speed of 186mph, it goes from 0 - 60 in just 4.2 seconds.
But is all this just too much for a road car, or would it be better suited to track driving?
The car I drove was in the eye-catching French Racing Blue - a colour which turned heads and is unique to the XKR-S. And is also fitting for the car.
A carbon fibre front splitter, horizontal slots across the bonnet for extra cooling and reducing lift and accentuated black finish grilles and side side vents, turn the car into a stunning example of how to combine aerodynamics with design.
With a black carbon fibre rear spoiler to aid stability, quad tailpipes, and the added red brake calipers, it makes it more lion than big cat.
A mix of muted, warm greys carbon leather, black veneer and continuing the French theme, Reims blue stitching and piping encase the interior. While a blue ‘halo’ illumination lights up the cockpit of the car.
The performance seats add to the racy exterior and you’ll have no problem getting comfortable as they can be adjusted 16 different ways.
A 7-inch touch screen looks slightly dated on the centre console, as does the dash and those were my only downsides to the car.
With keyless start, the power button literally does roar it into life. A rotary gear selector rises and putting it into D mode for Drive, the 6 speed automatic gearbox will do everything for you, but for those wanting to take more control, S mode will let you use the very responsive paddle shifts.
The XKR-S is a delight for all the senses and the sound of the exhaust note is just breathtaking; think of a jet scrambling around an underground car park. Not only does it make passers-by wonder what is approaching, but you feel like you’ve suddenly become cool again.
On a gentle stroll through the windy roads of the countryside, the noise lessened (so as not to scare the wildlife) and it was surprisingly agile during hard cornering.
It handles really well due to a new suspension and Adaptive Dynamics that will soften it to increase comfort levels when driving sensibly, or as my colleague called it ‘driving Miss Daisy’. Take it to the track and the suspension will become firmer. 10mm lower than the XKR, the 20-inch Vulcan tyres gripped the road and felt like they had double-sided tape on them.
The power is explosive (it is Supercharged) and at times you only needed to apply gentle throttle, otherwise the rear was going to make nice inroads into the nearby fields. A new form of combine harvester if you will.
On long stretches you are safe in the knowledge that once up to breakneck speeds, the Jaguar High Performance Braking System will have you stopped quicker than a hairless dog mistakenly entering a dog parlour.
It’s hardly economical at 23mpg (not that you would expect amazing figures) and it emits 292 g/km of CO2, but it is still the best against it’s rivals. A Porsche 911 GT3 RS might appeal more to some people, but for those with wallets to match the £97,000 asking price, who could possibly turn down something so unique, so British and so powerful.