Track Tested: 2012 Jaguar XKR-S

2012 Jaguar XKR-S

When we first drove the 2012 Jaguar XKR-S, we had high praise for Jag's newest R-rated rocket, saying, "Brash and extroverted in all the ways a Porsche is not, the 2012 Jaguar XKR-S is more than just a halo for the face-lifted XK range. It's a statement of Jaguar's newfound confidence. Freed from the shackles of Ford's ownership and the need to protect Aston Martin's market position, the automaker can at last give full expression to its sporting aspirations. The result is the most exciting Jaguar since the E-Type."

Cramming a 550-horsepower 5.0-liter supercharged V8 into an Ian Callum-designed sports car will have that effect. But what happens when we leave the sunny confines of Portugal and try to tackle our test track?

Vehicle: 2012 Jaguar XKR-S

Odometer: 4,770
Date: 4/17/2012
Driver: Chris Walton
Price:$132,000 (Base)

Drive Type: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Supercharged and intercooled, port-injected 90-degree V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 5,000/305
Redline (rpm): 6,750
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 550 @ 6,000 - 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 502 @ 2,500 - 5,500
Brake Type (front): Ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type(front): Independent double wishbones, coil springs, driver-adjustable variable dampers
Suspension Type (rear): independent double wishbones, coil springs, driver-adjustable variable dampers
Tire Size (front): 255/35ZR20
Tire Size (rear): 295/30ZR20
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero
Tire Type: Asymmetrical, summer performance
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,021

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 2.0 (2.2 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.1 (3.4 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.3 (4.5 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.0 (4.2 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 5.8 (6.2 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.2 @ 118.8 (12.4 @ 118.5 w/ TC on)

30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 110

Slalom (mph): 68.5 (66.7 w/TC off)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.90 (0.90 w/TC on)

Db @ Idle: 47.5
Db @ Full Throttle: 79.9
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 66.6


Acceleration: Perhaps it goes without saying, but with Trac off, this is a difficult car to launch. In either Drive or Sport Drive it short-shifts to 2nd when it detects wheelspin. In manual mode, it's very easy to boil the tires. Best run was a "just right" throttle progression to the top of 1st gear, then anticipating the slow tach and shift light to +/- 500 rpm shy of redline. There's a lot to manage for a run that's a tenth or two quicker than Trac on.

Braking: Short idle stroke and immediate jump-in. Very confident brake pedal and obvious fade resistance. Zero flutter or buzz from ABS and arrow-straight and flat.

Skid pad: Although it's traveling quickly at the time, there's far more stubborn understeer on the limit than expected. Steering doesn't offer much feel but is precise.

Slalom: I kept wishing for a quicker steering rack because I kept surprising myself at cone 2, needing more steering input than I anticipated. Again, understeer is the culprit when using maintenance throttle or off-throttle, but glorious power oversteer is a toe-tap away. Had I been given the luxury of 20 more runs, this car would be a 70-mph slalom car. So close.