Appearance: Classic Jag, the aforementioned long hood, snub rear end and puckered oval grille. The car's clean lines are broken only by subtle details such as the twin hood louvers with "Supercharged" stamped on them and a shiny mesh grille bracketed by air scoops. The fender wells housing the 20-inch wheels are all soft curves and the rear end is set off by just a hint of spoiler and with quad exhaust. Overall, Lyra isn't a fan of the British icon's look; Peter thinks that's like not liking the Beatles.
Performance: We've driven the 510-horsepower V-8 in other Jag models and in its cousin Range Rovers and we have been always impressed with its quiet power and acceleration throughout the rev range. As we've said before: Do you need 510 horses on the street? Well, no (there is a standard 385-horse powerplant), but it sure is a lot of tire-chirping fun. The paddle shifters deliver crisp and immediate gear changes for the six-speed transmission. You have your choice of driving modes and Lyra wasn't taken with the comfort setting; she preferred the sport mode, especially for its more throaty exhaust note. The steering is crisp and responsive, and this cat eats up corners. Lyra found the brakes a bit soft.
Interior: Let's dispense with the big criticism first. This car has a backseat in name only; Lyra's 7-year-old could barely fit. Peter agrees, and thinks Jag should just make the space into a storage shelf. After all, most people probably use the seats for jackets, purses and other items; we did. That said, the front leather seats were comfortable, well-bolstered and had plenty of adjustments with controls on the door. Peter found the cabin simple and inviting. Premium leather with double-stitching envelops the interior. Lyra found the console control buttons, which are backlit in green, difficult to read. She also found the onscreen audio controls awkward, especially the presets. The armrest moves forward, which is great for shorter drivers who have to move the seats up, but that covers up the cup holder. Peter will concede to some of these points, especially a few cheap touches (those plastic Jag paddles!), but finds most of the complaints mere quibbles.
The bottom line: For your $100,000-plus, you get a sophisticated drop-top that's both comfortable, classic-looking and quite the performer. Give him a hundred grand and Peter's ready to buy; Lyra wasn't sad to see it go.
The Jaguar XKR carries some of the DNA of the iconic E-type Jag of the 1960s, with its long hood, low stance and sharklike nose. When people think of a Jaguar, this is the look that probably springs to mind, and the 2011 convertible doesn't disappoint.
Our 3 favorites
Trunk space: Not bad for a convertible.
Front seats: Comfortable plush leather with lots of adjustments.
Large windshield: It's not too low, so tall drivers are well-protected with the top down.
Styling: I love the classic Jag lines.
Convertible top: Traditional fabric suits the XKR, and it folds in about 20 seconds.
Surround sound: Can you get any more British than Bowers & Wilkins?