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Review (2/2)

Jaguar Launches the XKR-S, The Most Powerful and Fastest Series Production Sports Car Jaguar

Source: Jaguar | Published: Wed Feb 23, 2011

(continued from the previous page)

XKR-S Styling

The first Jaguar designed entirely under the aegis of Design Director Ian Callum, the XK has received awards worldwide for its elegant appearance. Now further styling changes keep the XKR-S at the forefront of modern sports car design. Slimmer, LED headlights, more compact main air intake and vertical side power vent all contribute to a more purposeful front-end appearance. At the rear of the car the famous Jaguar 'Leaper' now takes pride of place in the center of the bootlid.

The XKR-S also required aerodynamic modifications to achieve its 186 mph top speed in the unruffled manner expected of a Jaguar and has been designed solely with an eye for purity of line and singularity of purpose. As the XKR-S approaches its top speed, there is a requirement to channel air cleanly over, around and under the car in order to maintain stability and ensure balanced downforce front and rear. An overall reduction in lift of 26 per cent has been achieved.

The necessary revisions were made after extensive Computational Fluid Dynamics work, proven through wind tunnel testing and are unique to this flagship of the XK range. The most dramatic changes have been applied to the front of the car, radically altering its appearance and lending it a more assertive look. A new bumper design features near vertical feature lines running down from the edges of the oval air intake and supporting the new carbon-fibre splitter and lower spoiler. At the extreme edges of the front fenders, vertical slots channel air down the sides of the car and along the wider sills for increased high-speed directional stability.

In order to balance front and rear lift, the XKR-S features a separate rear wing, a first for the XK range. This addition, with its carbon-fiber center section, works in concert with the similarly constructed Venturi structure underneath the rear bumper.

The assertive new appearance of the XKR-S is subtly highlighted by some carefully chosen details exclusive to this model. Exterior trim is finished in gloss black, complemented by 20-inch Vulcan lightweight forged alloys in a dark technical finish.

The XKR-S is available in a range of five paint colors, two of which evoke Jaguar's competition heritage: Italian Racing Red and French Racing Blue.

Like the lining of a bespoke suit, the finishing touch is provided by the brake calipers, available in either red or gunmetal and emblazoned with the 'Jaguar' name.

Interior

The cabin of any Jaguar is always a uniquely special place in which to spend time and the XKR-S meets all expectations from the moment the driver enters to be greeted by the red Start button pulsing like a heartbeat. When pressed, the engine fires with an rich, deep reverberation and the Jaguar Drive Selector rises from the center console as a point of first contact to begin the process of bonding man with machine.

The interior of the XKR-S has been subtly refreshed with a host of new trim materials including ebony soft-feel paint for the switches and gloss black finish to the center console. The model will also be exclusively available with a Dark Linear Aluminum finish as an option to the wood veneers.

A new leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel has also been added, providing a beautiful, tactile interface between car and driver as do the bright, Jaguar-embossed, stainless steel pedals.

Exclusive to the XKR-S are the new Performance front seats with an integrated head restraints and increased lateral and squab support to hold driver and passenger securely and comfortably in place during the high speed cornering of which this car is capable. The 16-way adjustment of squab, cushion, lumbar and bolster elements is supplemented by memory and heating functions.

The sense of occasion offered when driving the XKR-S will be heightened by the new carbon leather accents covering the seats, featuring unique contrast micro-piping and stitching combinations in Reims Blue, Red and Ivory. Duotone combinations of Charcoal with Tan and Charcoal with Red are also available.

Performance/Powertrain

Like the car itself, the AJ-V8 engine features aluminum architecture with the high pressure die-cast lightweight block augmented by cast iron liners and cross-bolted main bearing caps which contribute to refinement to match its power. The four-valve cylinder heads are now constructed from recycled aluminum to reduce the environmental impact of engine manufacture.

Nestling in the 'V' of the cylinders is the Roots-type twin vortex supercharger and its two intercoolers that help provide the XKR-S with such urgent motive power. This sixth-generation forced induction unit is 20 per cent more thermodynamically efficient than its predecessor, while the intercoolers feature their own water-cooling circuit to reduce the temperature of the pressurized air to optimize power and efficiency.

The surfeit of power produced by this system meant that it was a relatively simple matter to liberate an extra 39 hp and 40.6 lb-ft over the standard XKR. Remapping the engine's fuelling characteristics and increasing exhaust gas flow through the use of an active exhaust system has lifted total output of the 5.0-liter V8 is now 542 hp and 502 lb-ft (680 Nm), making it the most powerful Jaguar road engine ever made and allowing the XKR-S to hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 186 mph (300 km/h).

The Performance active exhaust system that helps provide such spirited performance also produces a thrilling motorsport-inspired soundtrack to aurally reward the enthusiastic driver.

Handling

Jaguar pioneered the use of aluminum construction for series production cars, exploiting the metal's low mass and high tensile strength to maximize benefits in terms of performance, agility, fuel consumption and emissions.

The platform underpinning the XK range makes the car one of the lightest and most rigid in its class with a kerb weight of 3968 lbs and torsional stiffness of 28,400 Newtons per degree. This fundamental strength allowed Jaguar's Vehicle Integrity team, led by Mike Cross, to develop the dynamic attributes of the XKR-S to the full, without affecting refinement. Every Jaguar achieves an unrivalled mix of sporting appeal and luxurious comfort and the XKR-S is the most driver focused Jaguar ever made.

Wheel sizes have been increased with the unique lightweight forged Vulcan 20-inch alloys now having a width of nine inches at the front and 10.5-inches at the rear for greater precision and grip. The new wheels wear Pirelli P Zero tires measuring 255/35 R20 at the front, 295/35 R20 at the rear. This combination has reduced overall unsprung mass by 10 lbs (4.8 kg) with a commensurate improvement in handling and dynamism.

The Dynamic Stability Control System has been reworked to maximize the benefit of these wider tires. In Trac DSC mode this utilizes specific traction, stability and eDiff settings to alter slip thresholds, differential torque distribution and intervention levels to allow the experienced driver to explore the outer edges of the performance and handling envelope.

The XKR-S is equipped as standard with Jaguar's High Performance Braking System. Lighter and more powerful, this features cast iron and part aluminum monobloc calipers for a combination of power, stability and feel. The brake discs - measuring 380mm at the front and 376mm at the rear - are internally ventilated to provide repeated, fade-free stopping power. In combination with pad surface increases of 44 per cent front and 31 per cent rear the system provides total security and confidence on both road and track. Stopping distance from 124 mph has been improved by 2.7 per cent over the already impressive XKR.

The end result is a car that captures the essential duality that is a characteristic of every great Jaguar; capable of transporting the driver to the fabled Nürburgring in total comfort and hushed silence, and yet still able to deliver a sub-eight minute lap time and then return home with total ease.

Jaguar XKR-S: Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications

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