Primary Navigation Mobile

Jaguar XK R-S Coupe engines, drive and performance

2011 - 2014 (change model)
Performance rating: 5 out of 55.0

Written by Tim Bowdler Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

Jaguar XKR-S performance is noisy, brutal and addictive.

Under the long, sweeping bonnet lies a 5-litre 32-valve supercharged V8. It’ll produce 542bhp, has 680Nm of torque and as a result of all that it’ll make mincemeat of a straight line, reaching 62mph from a standstill in 4.4 seconds.

If you keep your foot in you’ll get to 100mph in 8.8 seconds, then you’ll top out at 186mph and it does all that pushing and shoving with some panache. The perfect-sounding V8 sounds exactly like a V8 should. Growling, popping and generally shouting at passers-by at full tilt, it’s an incitement to riot.

So what’s it’s like around corners then? Well, it’s pretty imperious. Point the rear-wheel-drive Jag into a sharp corner at speed and it’ll do exactly what it’s told. If you are too enthusiastic, the tail will step out but not so much that you have to fight it.

It grips beautifully and the precise, sharp steering will give you confidence as you start your journey into the corner. At the apex you’ll enjoy the tautness of the chassis and on exit you’ll feel entirely confident about feeding in the power, knowing that you won’t be subjected to lairy, tail-out shenanigans.

It’s not boring though, and unlike a Porsche you don’t have to wrestle it through the twisty bits. The XKR-S’s back end will step out if you force it, but it’s manageable. As well as a 10mm reduced ride-height there’s some electronic wizardry to keep you in order and if you are feeling saucy you can turn them off.

There’s the uprated Dynamic Stability Control and Active Differential for extra composure and traction but you can switch that off for a bit of extra fun. Playing this trick does give the car more character in the corners but it’s so sorted without the gizmos that you’ll have to be driving with real verve to get it out of shape.

The engine is mated to a sequential six-speed automatic gearbox that you can put in Drive for more sedate cruising, but if you want a bit more fun you can stick it in Sport mode, and change up and down using the steering wheel-mounted paddles.

This is where you get to explore the XKR-S’s true capabilities and with slick gearchanges accompanied by pops and bangs you’ll not fail to have a smile on your face. Along with faster gearchanges, you get increased steering and throttle response in Sport mode.