By Aaron Cole, THE AURORA SENTINEL
For everything bad I ever said about Jaguar, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for the laughing and pointing at every blue-haired XJ I ever passed that was broken down on the side of the road. I’m sorry for looking down on the X-Type as a gussied-up Ford.
I’m even sorry for hinting that the recent acquisition of British-born Jaguar by Indian econo-automaker Tata Motors would spell certain doom for the traditional fanciful English racecar driving that Jaguar has delivered for so many decades.
I’m not wrong in the sense of “refuting-global-warming” wrong; this is wrong in the sense of “denying-that-the-earth-is-round” wrong.
Jaguars aren’t meant for grandpas and trophy wives addicted to plastic surgery.
Some are born and bred to scream, sprint and induce pleasure-driven convulsions.
And I’ve got news for you: at a shade over $100,000, the 2010 Jaguar XKR is worth every penny — and more.
Its animal power and orgasmic exhaust defy you to lust over another Ferrari, laugh in the face of a Lambo, cause Corvette owners to cower and cringe, and turn a skeptic into putty in its leather-fitted, low-slung seats.
First, the details: The 2010 XKR is Jaguar’s best and fastest car they’ll sell to the public without a four-point racing harness. The 5.0-liter, supercharged V8 produces a throaty, face-ripping 510 bhp and 625 ft-lbs of torque that bend the fabric of space-time and ask Einstein to revisit his laws of general relativity as it pertains to speed.
It’s actually a sizable increase over last year’s offering, a 4.2-liter V8 that produced 420 horsepower, but — and it’s a big but — Jaguar says the bigger engine this year gets the same fuel efficiency and meets the same emission standards as the car last year. In fact, when Jaguar announced the 2010 XKR, they touted that it wouldn’t even incur a gas-guzzler tax when shipped to the states — a wonder considering the Brits at Coventry have never thought too highly of auto restrictions here in the New World.
The motor is the same powerplant that can be found in the XFR, which means that as far as I know, this is the first solely in-house designed engine developed by Jaguar and regains the racing heritage it may have lost in years prior.
The workhorse under the hood is lovingly wrapped by a new, more blunt exterior body developed and designed by Ian Callum, the man we can thank for the short-staining beauty of the Aston Martin DB7.
The main difference this year is in the XKR’s beak — once a long, tapering shadow that bored onlookers, the 2010 features a blunt, sharp mouth with two wide chrome grilles ready to eat children.
The notion that the XKR appears to be fast while parked is purely false: the XKR shouldn’t be parked near elementary schools because it appears ready to pounce would be more accurate.
But while parked, you’d be depriving yourself of the XKR’s biggest secret: its sound. At full revs the XKR barks and bellows like a personal symphony. Every note — as explained by Jaguar engineers when the 2010 XKR was revealed — is precise and transmitted through an acoustic exhaust system designed new for this year.
Its raspy voice gurgles and belches horsepower at every twinge of the throttle, and listening to the XKR cackle as the brute decelerates is almost worth the price of admission alone.
But where the exterior, luxurious interior, engine and exhaust perfectly collide is in the Jag’s performance.
A 0-60 sprint will take you just 4.6 seconds. Accelerating from 50-70 takes just 1.9, and our test version, the XKR Convertible, amazingly sacrifices none of the performance to lose its top.
To say that the Jaguar XKR is amazing is wrong. When compared to cars that cost twice as much for the same performance, to say that the $107,000 Jaguar XKR is a supercar, however, is spot on.
I’m surely not wrong on that.
FINAL VERDICT: Four stars out of four. Truly a supercar, the Jaguar XKR offers a thrilling ride at every level. From taut, perfectly contoured leather and striking exterior, to gut-turning, intoxicating performance and exhaust note, the Jaguar XKR is pure-bred British racing at its best.
Aaron Cole is the managing editor of The Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or at email@example.com.
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters