Jaguar XKR convertible (2006 – ) expert review
Read the Jaguar XKR convertible (2006 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.The Auto Trader expert verdict: 4.1 The Jaguar XKR convertible not only looks stunning, but also delivers incredible performance. It’s an E-Type for the new millennium.
- Fantastic looks
- Sensational cabin
- Excellent performance
- Unusable rear seats
- High running costs
- Not as practical as rivals
At a glance
The styling of the Jaguar XKR convertible is as sensational as anything from Italy. It has the feline looks which are a Jaguar hallmark, but moves them up a gear to create a genuinely jaw-dropping design. The teardrop-shaped headlamps point inwards to a oval grille with the Jaguar logo at the centre. Its sleek sides raise slightly towards the rear, but with a canvas roof being employed, there’s no need for a hunched up back. The rear is reminiscent of the iconic E-Type, with circular elements to the long rear lights and the high-mounted numberplate.
Like the outside, the cabin is nothing short of sensational. It has the ability to make the driver feel special, which is rare in a sub £80,000 car and shames cars costing more than £100,000. The dash layout is simple, with the majority of ancillary controls accessible on or around the colour screen. There’s a pleasantly chunky steering wheel, and the seats are pure GT – supportive but wonderfully comfortable.
Although the Jaguar XKR convertible has four seats, the reality is they’re unusable for adults, with no legroom if a six footer is sitting up front. But it has a surprisingly large boot, measuring 283 litres slightly less than the
BMW 6 Series but much more than the
Mercedes SL. However, boot space is radically reduced when the roof is folded. There’s a reasonable amount of space in the front of the cabin, including a reasonable sized box between the seats.
Ride and Handling
The Jaguar XKR convertible is wonderfully controlled at all speeds, with a tight feeling, taut chassis despite feeling slightly less rigid than the coupe version. The extensive use of aluminium means weight is reduced, which improves handling further. On smooth, flowing roads, the XK convertible is sublime, and is a textbook high speed cruiser, only becoming slightly unsettled over broken roads with the big, wide wheels fitted to our XKR test car.
There are two engines available in the Jaguar XK convertible. They’re both 4.2-litre V8s, although the faster XKR has a supercharger. The standard 300bhp 4.2 will reach 62mph from rest in six seconds, while the 420bhp supercharged version will cover the same benchmark in five seconds dead. Top speed for both is limited to 155mph. Both models are fitted with a six-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles for lightning-quick gearshifts. Overtaking ability in the XKR is devastating, and both models make a wonderful noise under acceleration, not unlike an American muscle car, but are hushed at speed.
Continued demand for the Jaguar XK convertible means the 4.2 and XKR models will retain 55 and 52 per cent of their value after three years/36,000 miles. Neither models will be cheap to run day-to-day though, with emissions of 269 and 294g/km and insurance group 20 for both. The car’s lightweight construction helps fuel economy, however, with both models returning average mpg figures in the mid twenties.
Jaguar scores well in ownership surveys these days, and the XKR convertible appears to be built impeccably, using high quality materials.
The Jaguar XKR convertible hasn’t been put through the Euro NCAP crash test programme, but should perform well in a crash. It has a pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians from hitting the engine in a crash without spoiling the car’s sleek lines. Inside there’s a pair of pop-up roll bars and front, and side head and thorax airbags and whiplash-reducing headrests. Traction control and Trac DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) with ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution are also standard.
As with all Jaguars, the XKR convertible is well equipped featuring full leather seats, all-round electrics, cruise control, keyless start, and front and rear parking sensors. In terms of entertainment, buyers get sat-nav, Bluetooth communication, six CD autochanger and a 525 watt Bowers and Wilkins surround sound system.