2012 Jaguar XKR-S Convertible

How exclusive, you ask?  Only 25 examples of the 2012 model year XKR-S Convertible will be sold in the U.S.  And before you grab your checkbook and run to your Jag dealer for an XKR-S Coupe instead you should know that 2012 model year production of that car has already sold out.  So this Drive Time segment isn’t as much a shopping tool as it is pure eye candy.  And ear candy for that matter.  Increasing the flow through the use of an active exhaust system, the XKR-S screams at higher RPM, turning heads and creating smiles wherever it’s heard.  Being the most powerful and fastest convertible Jaguar has ever built, engineers extracted another 40 horsepower and 41 pound feet of torque from an already awesome engine.  Jag’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8 is a grand slam no matter in which vehicle it finds a home and here it’s outputting 550 horses and 502 pound feet.  As always, it’s mated to a 6-speed automatic.  The unbelievable immediacy this powertrain provides is jaw dropping.  No busyness, lag or any other hesitation you may have experienced in some other fast cars, you press the accelerator on the XKR-S and you go now.  Its 0-to-60mph time of 4.2-seconds doesn’t make it the quickest car I’ve ever driven but it sure as heck feels like it.  Perhaps part of that is because I’m not usually in a convertible when that happens.  The top speed is 186 and no, I didn’t see that.

Last year I went through the Jaguar R Performance Driving Academy, video of which you can find right here, so I already know what an XKR can do on the track…its performance credentials are very impressive.  And the best part about the XKR is that it’s Jaguar luxurious, everyday-friendly…a grand touring type of exotic sports car.  And though the XKR-S has been given a sharper edge all around, it’s still the kind that can bounce between the track and public roads with complete competence.  So what does your $139,000 give you that the regular XKR can’t?  Well beyond the added power, there has been a comprehensive package of suspension upgrades beyond the typical spring and damper rate adjustments, including changes that benefit steering accuracy and feedback and an XKR-S specific Adaptive Damping program to maximize body control, traction and grip.  Further increasing stability is a reworked Active Differential to reduce steering sensitivity at high speeds.  Wider rear tires specifically crafted for this car mount on lightweight 20” wheels helping to reduce unsprung mass by 5%.  Enormous disc brakes measuring 15” in front are pinched by aluminum calipers…on this car in optional grey hiding behind the optional Gloss Black Vulcan Wheels.  And for track driving, something I’m sorry I didn’t have the chance to do this time around…the DSC system has been customized to reduce intervention allowing drivers to elevate this car to its fullest handling potential.

The body has been sculpted with an extroverted look enhanced by performance pieces like a carbon-fiber splitter and rear wing and a wider, new front fascia with lower air intake and twin side nacelles.  The interior has been tweaked in a number of ways, most notably with these carbon-leather trimmed performance seats with adjustable side bolstering and racing harness cutouts.

Reworked aerodynamics allow this car to be driven at very high speeds and on my public roads the XKR-S feels very comfortable but a little bored with its environment.  The ride’s a smidge firmer than in an XKR but mostly you just notice its breathtaking acceleration and unflappable handling.  If you happen to know any of the 25 XKR-S Convertible recipients, beg, borrow or steal for a quick test-drive.  MSRP of this car is $140,825.

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