According to Jaguar, the XKR-S is the fastest production car they’ve ever produced. Well, we couldn’t let a claim like that go by without seeing for ourselves. So, we headed to the place we know best to figure out such things out, Georgia’s Roebling Road Raceway, to find out if this cat is indeed their quickest yet!
Well, before we find out if this 2012 Jaguar XKR-S is indeed the fastest production Jaguar yet, let’s get to know it a little better.
Based on the sleek Jaguar XKR coupe, the XKR-S takes on a more sinister look thanks to a healthy dose of performance enhancing treatments like carbon-fiber front splitter, blacked-out mesh grille, and both engine, and tall-slit-like brake cooling ducts that really visually widen the car. In profile, things take a turn to the dark side as well, with black window surrounds, fender vents, and beefy 20-inch wheels. Red brake calipers help avoid a total blackout. Out back, there’s a huge rear wing and below, a carbon-fiber rear diffuser wraps around two sets of dual exhaust tips from a Performance Active Exhaust System that really lets this cat purr.
So, as great as Ian Callum’s original design was, we like it even more after this trip through “nasty” school. Okay enough of that, off to the track, or tracks, we go.
First stop is our hometown 75-80 Dragway for ¼-mile testing, where unfortunately, cold winter temperatures or maybe it was just the 550-horsepower, made launching a bit tricky. Eventually, we nailed a good one, and scorched to 60 in just 4.3–seconds. Streaking through the ¼ mile, this thing sounds absolutely awesome and unlike any Jag we’ve ever driven. It still feels like a Jaguar though, as the engine itself is smooth and quiet for the entire 12.6–seconds that it takes to reach the end of the strip at 118 miles-per-hour. Both acceleration times are a second quicker than the last XKR that we tested in 2007.
Those quicker runs come courtesy of the 5-liter V8 engine under the hood wearing a Roots-type supercharger. It’s the same all-aluminum AJ-V8 you’ll find in the XKR, but it puts out 40-additional horsepower and 41-more pound feet of torque thanks to revised fuel mapping, making the new totals 550-horsepower and 502 pound feet.
After a comfortable and speedy 9-hour drive down I-95 we arrived at our next venue, Roebling Road Raceway, near Savannah, Georgia, where warmer temperatures weren’t the only thing that put smiles on our faces. Handling Roebling’s high speed turns? Oh yeah, this Jag’s got an app for that. The XKR’S aluminum chassis was already capable, but the XKR-S’ lowered suspension and new dampers take it to a whole new level.
Jaguar’s Adaptive Dynamics and DSC software get a sportier re-flash and there’s a new Active Differential Control. All of it helps to really put the power down out of corners. Steering feel, especially in Dynamic Mode, is about as good as it gets. You do feel the size of this car at times, mainly in tighter turns where the front tires take some abuse, but otherwise it’s one agile cat. Paddle shifters for the 6-speed automatic work well, but not well enough to forget that it’s a slush-box you’re manipulating and not a sequential manual.
One thing that hasn’t been altered is the XK’s split personality. You can flog this beast around the track all day long, and then impress your significant other with a comfortable ride and posh interior that evening. And speaking of interior, the XKR-S’ does take a sportier turn, but not at the price of sacrificing luxury. There’s still leather everywhere, but now it’s accompanied by unique color stitching and aluminum trim.
While technically not a limited edition vehicle, Jag expects to sell fewer than 100 XKR-S’s at a rarified price of $132,875; and there’s a convertible version arriving soon, as well.
So, the 2012 Jaguar XKR-S is indeed the fastest production Jaguar ever, and incredibly enough, it accomplished this without losing any “Jag-ness” along the way.
Engine: 5-liter V8
Torque: 502 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.3 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.6 seconds @ 118 mph