As soon as I'd dropped off the bullet-like silver Jaguar XKR Supercharged in favour of my regular drive, a box-shaped sky blue Nissan Tiida, I knew I'd made a huge mistake. I didn't want to let go but knew I had to. That of course is the understatement of the century.
Each car, however, and as they would say in the fashion game, is a completely different animal. The Jag is a beast; sleek, fast, it accelerates quicker than a 100-metre sprinter, while the Tiida and its family car counterparts live life in the slow lane, ambling along but reliably so with no fuss, but at the same time no unexpected excitement.
For the three days Arabian Business had the Jag - "it's a Ford with a Jaguar body," a friend jealously noted to me as I drove past him as he was exiting his Mitsubishi Lancer - it performed magnificently. The large stretches of open road leading up to Abu Dhabi proved to be the perfect space to let rip, switching into sports mode whenever and wherever possible. The steering is deliciously light, while the Supercharged 4.2-litre V8 engine is as responsive as they come. Its only downfall is when you get into mid-range acceleration or slowly drift along city roads behind endless streams of traffic. A car of this quality is no street vehicle, take it out onto the highway to take full advantage of that beautiful engine. Full throttle acceleration is breathtaking, 0 to 60mph in just 4.9 seconds.
The supercharger ensures high levels of power and torque available at all engine speeds, providing instant throttle response, outstanding mid-range acceleration and excellent driveability.
Jaguar has at last designed a vehicle, from the inside and outside, that is able to compete with its peers such as the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the 500-HP BMW M6. It turns heads wherever you go and drives as smoothly as you would hope a classic name to do. At a substantial 3870 pounds it may weigh 68 pounds heavier than its predecessor, but is 38 pounds lighter than the M6. Luckily there are 420 horses with which to move the aluminium hulk.
No manual transmission is offered within the XKR range, which will turn off some car shoppers, however the six-speed automatic features rev-matching downshifts, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, and a sport setting that does a truly amazing job of perfectly downshifting into the right gear for upcoming street corners.
The exterior of the car is what you'd expect, as sleek as anything on the market and great from any angle. The new nose is excellent and gives the car the look of a puma waiting to pounce on its much slower prey, while the boot is surprisingly spacious. The major letdown, however, is the car's length and width, proving impossible to park in my underground space between a Land Cruiser and a Corvette. Obviously these are not the sort of cars you'd expect to have to squeeze between but beware of buying one before measuring out your parking slot.
The big cat's interior is simply stunning with a black leather upholstery and matching steering wheel, fabulous central control system with touch screen radio and CD, climate control and navigation, while the view from both the passenger and driver's sides make you believe that you've just taken control of Lewis Hamilton's latest F1 ride.
For just over US$140,000 it's not cheap, for what is effectively a two-seater, but if you do decide to invest in an XKR, remember, if you're on the highway and there are no Tiidas in sight, put your foot down to the floor.
Verdict:The perfect combination of power, speed and elegance, inside and out, but with the price tag to match. Reserved for big spenders only.
Arabian Business was loaned the Jaguar XKR for three days courtesy of the Ford Motor Company.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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