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Driven: 2010 Jaguar XKR


2010 Jaguar XK

2010 Jaguar XK

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I’m an intrepid sort of test driver. And not how you think.

I try very hard not to get arrested testing the limits of a car’s performance on public roads. (More on that below.)

Rather, I test the limits of reason since, as an avid cyclist, and journalist on that subject, too, I’m often taking all sorts of liberties trying to squeeze bicycles into cars never designed to accommodate them.

I’ve strapped a bike frame into the front passenger seat of a Porsche Cayman (wrapped in a beach towel, both wheels off the bike, the latter stuffed into the front boot); I’ve done similar tricks with a Miata and a Honda S2000.

Here, with the XKR, I soon discovered that there was no way to wedge a bike frame through the narrow passenger door opening without risking trim damage or leather ruptures. And forget the back pair of perches—there’s room enough there for groceries or soft sided luggage but not a giant triangle of metal. The hatch? I’d ruled it out initially because it just looked too small but decided to see if the bike would pretzel inside and on the first go, like some amazing trick of origami, it easily slid into place, both wheels off and stacked on top of the frame, and after some slight fiddling the hatch snapped shut.

A 510-hp daily driver

This was an aspect of pragmatism to the Jag I’d never expected.

Yes, it was already clear this was one hell of a fast car. The 510-hp supercharged V-8 is stupendous, capable of racing the Jag to 70 mph in second gear just before redline. And, yep, it’s a flexible engine, too, with peak torque (461 lb-ft) slamming home at a mere 2,500 rpm, allowing both beyond-brisk acceleration (other sites report 60 mph in four seconds flat, which is easily believable in my experience with the car), and reasonably muted highway runs at low revs, plenty of passing mustard headily and readily on tap.

Also, the ZF-derived HP paddle shift six-speed autobox is snappy—it’s also tuned for BMWs  by the way—and rivals Tiptronic Audis for quick downshifts (it doesn’t match that company’s clutchless manuals unfortunately). There’s more to the XKR than a slick driveline, though. This Jag features the company’s latest adaptive suspension. It ensures an always fluid-feeling, but never over-buttered ride because its sensors monitor the car’s position, roll, yaw, steering angle and so forth 100 times per second, ensuring reasonable comfort, despite massive optional 20-inch tires (30-series front, 35-series rear). Cruise slow and easy and this GT is as calm as a sleeping house cat. Find a little-trafficked (see that note at the top of this column) set of darkly lit switchbacks to tear up and the suspension is locked tight, with little body roll and very accurate, if light-touch steering. The XKR’s limits are close to astonishing, with Car and Driver reporting .92g on the skid pad. Driver control is simply superb, allowing a tick through of turn-in and track-out points on my favorite road as precise—and faster—than I can achieve with much smaller, lighter and less robustly powered machines, a real tribute to the very balanced suspension.

And what the hell, the XKR’s pragmatic, too.

Why care if a $96,000 sports car also features decent utility and livability? True, one doesn’t hunt down Mercedes’ AMG SL63 or BMW’s M6 thinking first, or even second or third about pragmatic features.

But these cars are GT’s, unlike say, the Lamborghini Gallardo, which is a pure track machine with all pretense of daily driving toil sacrificed on the throne of performance, with barely enough room for a brief case, let alone luggage.


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Comments (7)
  1. Well, the bike you have might be a 0x7, which everyone knows is a little silky if you know what I mean.
    Any who, whose gonna be riding a bike when they got this Gapped Tooth Walrus to ride in? Eh? Eh?
    No one.
    I'm not even a big fan of Jaguars and I'm even a little turned on by the 510 hp supercharged V-8.
    Although I prefer a traditional gearbox, or the Sally Sideways as they use to call in my day, I guess the new age paddles will have to do. Wave of the future, that's what everyone is telling me. Well here's a future for ya... Me riding a bike because I don't have 96K to burn. I spent it on my Sackflap on my new fish tank. Cost me a fortune, but its worth it.
     
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  2. I hate cyclists especially when they run redlights, ride three abreast on the road and use the sidewalk!!! Also reading three paragraphs on how to get a bike in a car is not helping their case! This article could have been written from a press release and a sales brochure!!!!
    What a wasted of time.
    Here is a car that according to JC was built on a budget of 35p yet its a stunning piece of kit and really takes the fight to the Germans!!!
     
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  3. @My Wheels On Walls Just to clarify, you hate all cyclists, even those who obey traffic laws?
     
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  4. Tom,
    Not all but my parents were pretty clear on the rule it only takes one to ruin it for all.
    I live in a very bike friendly town and you'll see one guy run the light and then because he did so does the guy behind, so the act just continues!!!
    Dont ever get me started on the road bike cycle clubs either, the ones here in Sac are just horrific!!! They run in packs of 30 plus in the summer and when the lights turn they just follow through, absolutely insane....
    I clipped one three years ago (I had the green) he survived but his 6K carbon fiber bike did not. Fortunately there was a red light camera which he triggerd thusly he now carries insrance on his new bike as that day he suffered a 6k total loss, 2k of damage to my car and the CHP gave him a $300 plus ticket for running the red!!!
    Hopefully that clears things up for you Tom.
     
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  5. "Every person riding a bicycle has the same rights and privileges of persons driving cars, the bicycle driver has the same responsibilities as other drivers." - stated in New Hampshire driver's handbook.
    So should you hate driver's because they talk on phones and run red lights too.
    Like you say it only takes one to spoil the pot.
     
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  6. Thanks for clarifying. I'm not going to try to defend cyclists who flaunt the road rules. I think that cops should step up enforcement really for the safety of the cyclists themselves. It just disurbs me to hear someone say they hate cyclists because I expeience people laying on their horn and seeing how close they can get to me as they zip by with the occasional tossed bottle for good measure. This happens when I'm training by myself on a country road and am riding on the shoulder. But I see why you're so ticked off at cyclists, getting your car repaired must have been a real inconvienence.
     
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  7. Very impressive for Jaguar to go neck to neck with the HP wars from the German rivals. Now that its not in ford hands they are coming out with the good stuff....
     
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