2012 Jaguar XKR-S Convertible new car reviews

The Jaguar has more scoops than J. Jonah Jameson.
It looks good from the side, too. Notice the wheels, a $1,500 option.
The fenders bulge out, seemingly to contain all of the car's power.
A good view of the carbon fiber wing.

Better than: The XKR-S Coupe
But not as good as: The F-22 Raptor
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 10.77

We recently tested Jaguar's XKR-S Convertible. With a price almost as high as potential owners are on the corporate ladder, this is a car that obviously was not built on a budget.

However, you do get what you pay for. This Jaguar came slathered in leather and carbon fiber, and the color is actually called "Italian Racing Red!" Paired with the flashiness is a supercharged V8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic. This moves it along with surprising quickness, and the suspension actually makes this 4000-lb. car feel nimble.

Oh, and the best part? The Jaguar's final assembly point is a place called "Castle Bromwich." That name alone has to be worth something.

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Other staff views

Tim Suddard Tim Suddard
Publisher

550 horsepower is a lot, even in a car this heavy. This car was very fast, rode nicely and handled pretty well too. Honestly, as I get older, I look at a car like this and could possibly see myself picking one up. That said, the depreciation curve on cars like this makes me want to wait a few years and see what out there.

The previous version, in ten year old form, was a pretty wicked car. It can now be bought for about 20% of this car’s $142.500 sticker price. These are generally well cared for by the first couple of owners and usually have pretty low miles. That said, if you love Jaguars and want a beautiful, insanely powerful car and have money to burn, the new XKR-S, sure as hell makes a nice statement.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

I wasn't able to drive the big Jag, but it was the tackiest, ugliest Jaguar I've ever seen. The basic shape isn't unattractive, but the silly carbon wing, slats, and frippery everywhere ruin this car aesthetically. Jaguars are supposed to be beautifully understated. This XKR-S is as understated as a 1976 Corvette with metallic goldflake paint and faux wire wheels.

After speaking to other GRMers I'm sure this big Jag is crazy fast, but I couldn't bring myself to be seen in it.

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

The biggest problem with this car is its timing. We sampled soon before (or was it soon after?) we drove the Porsche 911. With the Porsche, you're like, Yeah, this is a six-figure car, but I can see it lasting a lifetime—it's a timeless heirloom and we're going to stick together through thick and thin.

The Jag was too much—too much bling, too much eye candy. Sure, it looks like a million bucks (well, a 140,000 bucks) rolling down the street, but spend some time with it and you notice some things.
Did that switch really feel substandard? How long is that front spoiler going to stay attached to the nose of the car? Do I really need a carbon-fiber wing on a 3800-pound convertible? Why is everyone looking at me like I'm some sort of tool?

Sure, it might be a fun quick-fling, but are you two going to stay married forever after? I'd think all that augmented bodywork would get a saggy after a while. Shed the tacked-on, add-ons and tone it down a notch or two, and you got me. Give me something that's in the same spirit as the original sex machine: I want an XKE, not an IROC-Z.

Alan Cesar FartSmeller69
SuperDork

Sticker shock is a relative thing. Some cars you look at and think, "Sure, that's worth six figures." That could be a Corvette ZR1 that produces brain-melting speed, or a hand-built, first-class Bentley. This Jaguar falls into neither category.

Yes, it's very fast. Its looks attract plenty of attention, it makes fantastic sounds and it's all very nice inside. But grab that Monroney sticker and hang on to your eyeballs. $140,000? What's with this plastic switchgear? Who decided that maroon looked good with carbon fiber spoilers? The murdered-out black wheels are so three years ago. I can't decide if this car is trying to look Lambo-fast or boulevard-chic.

It's some weird hybrid of the two, and it does neither particularly well. A drophead is something you'd want to be seen in, but being in this one made me want to put the top up and close the windows. It's a bit like wearing a Hawaiian-print shirt—something I've done in the past. Unless your particular taste calls for that kind of gaudiness, it's a bit embarrassing.

Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Digital Experience Director

I haven't driven enough super cars to make any kind of comparison. They all feel amazing. It was fast, it handled well, but I hated the traditional automatic transmission. Merging onto the highway is an exercise in faith, partially because of the blind spots and partially because you don't know what is a mile in front of you– where you'll be in a few seconds. I think I accidentally obtained extra-legal speeds pulling out of my driveway.

I think it looks okay, but in the same way blinged out Chrysler 300s can look okay. I appreciated it, but I would never want a car with my name on the title to look like that. I think they should take this drivetrain and make a modern version of the XJ220 Ford Transit.

Long story short- I'd lose my license in this car if I had it for more than a week (or however long it takes points to apply to a Florida license).

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Comments

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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

We recently tested Jaguar's XKR-S Convertible. With a price almost as high as potential owners are on the corporate ladder, this is a car that obviously was not built on a budget.

However, you do get what you pay for. This Jaguar came slathered in leather and carbon fiber, and the color is actually called "Italian Racing Red!" Paired with the flashiness is a supercharged V8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic. This moves it along with surprising quickness, and the suspension actually makes this 4000-lb. car feel nimble.

Oh, and the best part? The Jaguar's final assembly point is a place called "Castle Bromwich." That name alone has to be worth something.

Like what you read here? You can get a whole magazine full of these types of articles delivered to your home or shop 8 times a year. Subscribe now or visit the Grassroots Motorsports online store for back issues.
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