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Jaguar Finds Its Mojo

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Jaguar XKR-S Photo: Rod Hatfield
By Brian Laban
Jaguar’s new-found confidence is reflected by the launch of its XKR-S—the fastest XK ever built.
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Jaguar XKR-S Photo: Rod Hatfield
Jaguar XKR-S Photo: Rod Hatfield
Click image to enlarge
Jaguar XKR-S Photo: Rod Hatfield
Jaguar XKR-S Photo: Rod Hatfield
Click image to enlarge
Jaguar XKR-S Photo: Rod Hatfield
Jaguar XKR-S Photo: Rod Hatfield
Click image to enlarge
Jaguar XKR-S Photo: Rod Hatfield
Jaguar XKR-S Photo: Rod Hatfield

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    Long before the show finishes, Jaguar may well be under new ownership, as Ford prepares to tell us that both Jaguar and Land Rover have been sold to Indian industrial giant, Tata. But if you had any thoughts of the mood at Jaguar being downbeat, you couldn’t be more wrong — there are signs of a strong bounce-back for the iconic British sporting brand, and there’s a genuine, modest confidence about them that we haven’t seen in far too long of a time.

     

    The fact that the new XF has had rave reviews virtually everywhere since it made its debut late last year obviously puts a smile on their faces, not to mention the fact that even before the first customer car has hit the streets there are almost 15,000 XF orders on the books. But it’s something more than that; in the words of Austin Powers, Jaguar seems to have rediscovered its mojo.

     

    If all goes according to the script, you’ll see it in big ways over the next couple of years with dramatic new product that totally supports the Jaguar mantra of “beautiful, fast cars,” but you can already see the attitude in the centerpiece of the Geneva stand, the spectacularly rapid XKR-S — the fastest Jaguar XK has ever built.

     

    It’s a statement, and a bold one, that Jaguar still makes performance cars for drivers who understand brilliant, highly focused driving dynamics. It is powered by Jaguar’s excellent, 420 bhp supercharged V8 and the usual 155 mph electronic speed limiter is stretched to 174 mph (280 kph), with 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds.

     

    It has retuned springs, dampers and sway bars and its Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) is recalibrated to give the optimum balance between ride and handling — in a way that continues to set Jaguar apart. It also has special Alcon R performance brakes, six-speed Jaguar Sequential Shift automatic transmission, and Jaguar’s Active Exhaust System, which switches from cruising refinement to sporting rawness as the red mist descends.

     

    They only propose to make 200 of them, for the European market only, and they’re all in Ultimate Black metallic finish, with contrasting grille, extended side sills, rear diffuser and side power vents. The exterior also features a new front aerodynamic splitter, a rear spoiler, the revised rear diffuser and unique 20-inch alloy wheels.

     

    It looks stunning and, continuing the special cars for appreciative drivers, Jaguar also shows Portfolio versions of both XJ sedan and XKR coupe — with the Portfolio program’s “unrelenting attention to detail,” over and above the usual Jaguar premium trimmings. Regardless of who owns them by the end of the week, Jaguar looks pretty sure of where they are going.

     

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