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In-depth reviews

Jaguar XKR-S coupe (2011-2014)

"The Jaguar XKR-S is the fastest and most powerful production car Jaguar has made since the XJ220 supercar."

Carbuyer Rating

2.2 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Stunning looks
  • Impressive performance
  • High-quality, understated cabin

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Looks too aggressive for some
  • Nissan GT-R is faster and much cheaper

Jaguar's most extreme version of the XK sports car, the XKR-S, features an even more powerful version of the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine and some highly noticeable exterior styling cues. Larger spoilers, wider side skirts and bulging wheelarches combine with dramatic effect to make the XKR-S look almost like a racing car.

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Capable of an electronically limited top speed of 186mph and producing 542bhp, the XKR-S can out-accelerate British rivals the Aston Martin DBS and Bentley Continental GT. Inside, unique sports seats embossed with R-S badges dominate the otherwise very understated and beautifully made cabin.

MPG, running costs & CO2

Highly tuned engine returns respectable economy

Capable of returning 23mpg, the XKR-S could hardly be deemed economical, but for such a powerful engine, that figure is pretty impressive. Large tyres, a high insurance rating and a £505 annual road tax bill mean running costs are high across the board.

Engines, drive & performance

The XKR-S is fast and comfortable

Any car that's capable of 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds is very, very fast. The 542bhp Jaguar can go on to reach a top speed of 186mph. Fitted with stiffer and lower suspension, the XKR-S is also very nimble around corners, changing direction with almost no body leab. What's almost more impressive, however, is that even over rougher roads, the ride remains as comfortable as the standard XK Dynamic R's.

Interior & comfort

A very comfortable sports car

Developing a suspension that provides both great handling and excellent comfort isn't easy, but Jaguar has succeeded with the XKR-S. Poorly surfaced roads pose less of a problem compared to some more performance-biased rivals, while wind noise is also kept to a minimum. In the cabin, the seats are also very comfortable and fantastically well made.

Practicality & boot space

Large boot and wide tailgate

The XKR-S is a '2+2' sports car, which means it features two very small child seats in the rear, exactly the same as the standard XK. Behind them, a usefully sized boot can easily carry two golf bags and is very easily accessed through the large tailgate. For such a high-performance car, the fastest Jaguar XK is remarkably user-friendly.

Reliability & safety

High build quality throughout

The current Jaguar engines are extremely reliable, as not only are they shared with the XF and XJ models, but also with Range Rover. Occupants are treated to very high standards inside the XKR-S. While the cabin styling is understated, the interior is beautifully screwed together and feels special enough for a car of this price.

The R-S is well equipped in the safety department, too, sporting front and side airbags and Jaguar's pedestrian-protection system. This raises the bonnet if it detects contact with a pedestrian, which prevents them from hitting solid engine components and hopefully reduces potential injuries.

Price, value for money & options

Cheaper than rivals from Bentley and Aston Martin

The Jaguar XKR-S is very expensive, but offers good value for money when compared to rivals from other luxury car brands such as Bentley and Aston Martin. Fitted with stunning-looking power-adjustab;e heated leather seats, Bluetooth, cruise control and metallic paint, the XKR-S is very well equipped.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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