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Monday, 1 December 2008

Jaguar XK60 revealed

This is the new Jaguar XK60, a limited-edition model designed to mark the 60th anniversary of the XK sports car, which started with the iconic XK120 in 1948.

Jaguar won’t release any further official details until the car makes its debut at the British motor show, but these pictures show that the XK60 will get a unique bodykit and traditional green paintwork to mark its heritage.



The XK60 will be unveiled at the motor show alongside the new Jaguar XKR-S, and the recently launched XF saloon.

Keep watching Autocar.co.uk for live news on all the hottest show cars from 22 July.

Test date 25 September 2006 Price as tested £70,995

Ever since its introduction in 1998, the XKR has been Jaguar’s flagship, mating supercharged V8 power with its most sensuous of coupe and convertible bodies. Following the widely acclaimed launch of the new XK, the Coventry concern is bullish about its new supercharged sports car.

It uses the same basic ingredients from the regular car. So there’s all-aluminium construction with a riveted and bonded joining method (though, as with the XK, our weighing proved disappointing), V8 power with rear wheel drive and an automatic gearbox. But there’s also a dash of aggression to the styling and the promise of a more keenly focused drive.

Most of all, the XKR has the potential to address the one major criticism we had of the new XK – a lack of poke. It wasn’t that we expected the naturally aspirated XK to be a leather-lined dragster, just that a luxury sports-GT should accelerate past the hoi polloi with demure authority, and at times, the rather uncouth V8 – only lightly fettled from the XK version - seemed to be making a meal of it. In short, it appeared as if Jaguar, forced to count pennies carefully, had spent the money on the advanced aluminium chassis rather than the engine.


Not that the engine in the supercharged XKR appears to be much changed from the previous XKR's, either. There’s now an extra 20bhp, taking the peak power to 420bhp, and a slight increase in torque to 413lb ft. Most of these gains are achieved through new twin air inlets and a variable timing system fitted to the inlet cams of the 90-degree V8.

Overall engine capacity stays at 4196cc, with an Eaton-type supercharger continuing to provide the forced induction into the cylinders. But, as with the XK, the XKR proved disappointing on our scales, despite its aluminium construction. Weighing in at 1780kg (with options), our test car was 100kg heavier than Jaguar’s claim.

It takes a keen eye to spot an XKR, but the differences are there. The frontal area is considerably more aggressive, with deeper mesh grilles and separate mesh-filled side intakes. The bonnet also features slightly crass air intakes. On the flanks, the side strakes are now alloy-effect plastic, while a quartet of no-nonsense tailpipes exits at the rear. Overall, it’s a successful tone-up.


Now the big cat surges past other traffic with ease, making it arguably the more relaxed car during everyday driving. When you start to really use the performance, there’s a delicious, diamond-hard cackle from the exhausts above 4000rpm.

Our test car had a glitch that prevented us from fully disabling the traction control, so we failed to match Jag’s acceleration claims. But there’s no doubting the storming pace on offer: the 30-70mph sprint vanishes in 4.3sec. Cruising is a forte too, with effortless punch at high speeds before an electronic limiter at 155mph eventually reins the XKR in.

The gearbox, however, is superb. The shift programmes have been massaged for the ‘R’ and it’s hard to fault. Larger brakes, now 355mm at the front, successfully complete a compelling package.

To make the ‘R’ a sharper drivers’ tool, Jaguar has uprated the front (38% stiffer) and rear springs (24% stiffer) and retuned the CATS dampers over the XK. It has also fettled the steering both mechanically and electronically through the power steering maps.

Apart from a low speed ride that’s mildly hobbled by the fitment of optional, though spectacular, 20inch wheels, the XKR is cosseting and comfortable.

As speeds rise, it never fights the road, choosing instead to work with the contours of the asphalt in what Jaguar engineers call ‘breathing’. It’s a trait shared by all current Jaguars, and a mightily effective one on our pockmarked roads.

Grip levels are superb, and the XKR will indulge in a healthy dose of power oversteer. The steering slightly disappoints, however: a better instrument for fast driving than the regular car’s rack, but there’s still too much dead-zone around the straight ahead. Whilst you’re in this trough, it’s too easily affected by bumps in the road and a faux self-centering action. Once turned in, it’s nicely weighted with fair feedback, even if there’s occasionally a pronounced kickback over the worst potholes.

Inside, the XKR is very similar to its lesser brethren, which means a monumental improvement in ergonomics and functionality over the old car, but which also means it’s simply not special enough for a flagship GT costing nearly 70 grand. The odd logo here and there, a unique alloy trim strip and wide but curiously unsupportive sports seats are not enough.

Other flaws remain: the rear seats are next to useless and the boot stingy, whilst the 71 litre fuel tank is just enough to provide adequate touring range (we achieved 23.9mpg) but drains quickly if you’re pressing on. Nevertheless, at £67,495, the XKR feels like an awful lot of car for the money.

This is a superb effort from Jaguar, blending enormous pace with a comfortable vibe that makes it a compelling car either for everyday use, or as an occasional treat. It's not perfect, but it proves Jaguar can make truly world-class cars, a fact that should make enthusiasts everywhere very glad.

Edition Price
Jaguar XK Series 4.2 XK £60,995
Jaguar XK Series 4.2 XKR £70,995
Jaguar XK Series 4.2 XKR Portfolio £75,597
Jaguar XK Series 4.2 XKR-S £70,097
Jaguar XK Series 4.2 XK60 £60,995

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