Let’s start this at the top of the Jaguar hierarchy, with the new XKR. Is it fast? Most definitely and surprisingly so. 0 to 100kph comes in 4.8 seconds thanks to a new supercharged 5 litre V8. It’s not so much the fact that a car from a brand that is normally associated with tweedy accents, pipe smoking and golfclub membership is this quick, but it’s the manner of the quickness which catches you off guard.
Acceleration is brutal and it sounds beautiful. So much then for Jaguar’s “new “philosophy of building fast, beautiful cars. Oh, and it’s still a looker. Thankfully most of the revising of the XK range has been under the skin and they’ve left the classic roadster design intact.
The interior benefits from some tweaks stolen from the XF, which includes the circular drive controller which enables you to dial in Park, Reverse, Drive and Sport. Theoretically it’s still a 2+2, although the legless garden gnome is going to scream blue murder if you strap him in to one of the back seats. I’m six feet on the dot, and my driver’s seat was pushed back right against the back seats. Jaguar might as well toss out the seats and save some weight.
But it’s still all very sumptuous, well appointed and luxurious, as it should be in a car that costs more than a million bucks. So it’s got a great engine, looks beautiful and is a pleasure to sit in. How does it go around corners? Quite well in fact thanks to a new continuous adaptive damping system and a new electronic limited slip differential.
It’s quite a different drive compared to the more hard edged, fast German rivals, with more emphasis on ride quality than dynamic and hard cornering. I say this with some reservation, because our test drive around the Magaliesburg involved plenty of fast sweeps, but almost no hard, fast and sharp corners which would have tested the brakes and the car’s steering. Initial impressions are that it handles sweeps beautifully but that the slightly vague feeling around centre is not ideal for a track day.
This is not a track day toy though. Rather it’s a car to do the Turismo thing in Gran style with, more of a Maserati GT or Aston Martin Vantage V8 competitor than a 911 killer. We’ll confirm our initial impressions once we get the car on test at the the Killarney Race Track. Watch out for it in a coming edition of Topcar.
If four seats are a requirement and a smaller bank balance a reality, the new XF saloon might fulfil your needs for a stylish British car that will set you apart from the German Blitzkrieg on our roads.
The new XF has everything to do with an engine transplant and very little to do with a face lift. It is, after all, almost a brand new car. But what an improvement the new 5 litre V8, both normally aspirated and supercharged, makes to a car that was already a competent rival to the 5-series BMW’s, Merc E-classes and Audi A6’s. It now has the power to match its design and luxury interior.
The new 3 litre V6 twin-turbo diesel is also a peach of an engine, with 600Nm of torque available from only 2000ropm in the S version of this car. It’s quiet. No tractor rattles in this car. Be warned though. It’s a high tech piece of machinery that requires low sulphur diesel. Only 50ppm allowed. Our country’s abysmal fuel quality makes the attraction of these super diesels questionable. Time government got it’s finger out of its ear and did something about it, especially if it wants to enact legislation to curb fuel emissions.
Jaguar confirmed that 22 of their super saloons, the XFR, will be coming to the South African market. It looks like a re-enactment of the Battle of Britain might be on the cards for us – the XFR vs the fighter bombersfrom BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
Pricing for the XF starts at R565 000 for the 3.0 litre V6 petrol, with the most expensive diesel coming in at R672 000 and the 5.0 litre V8 topping out at R755 000. Pricing for the XFR will be announced soon.
Jaguar XK 5.0 V8 Coupe and Convertible
HOW MUCH |
R990 000 (R1 070 000 Convertible)
ON SALE |
5000cc V8, 283kW @ 6500rpm, 515Nm @ 3500rpm
Six-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
5.5sec 0-100kph, 250kph,11.2ℓ/100km
HOW HEAVY/MADE OF |
HOW BIG (LENGTH/WIDTH/HEIGHT) |
Jaguar XKR 5.0 V8 Supercharged Coupe and Convertible