2008 Jaguar XKR Review – Jaguar reaches Purrfection!

Expert Reviews Jaguar

By Twain Mein


  • Pleasing balance of performance and luxury
  • Stunning styling
  • Incredible power
  • Beautiful interior
  • 6-figure exclusivity club


  • Useless back seats
  • Minor complaints including hard to read GPS and poor radio reception
  • No sunroof
  • $90,000 is too much for mere mortals

For some drivers, the standard Jaguar XK’s 300 horsepower V8 just won’t cut it. For those folks, there’s the Jaguar XKR coupe, powered by a 420 horsepower supercharged V8. The “base” model XK features a normally aspirated 4.2L V8 which produces 300 hp @ 6000 rpm, while the XKR uses an Eaton supercharger to generate 420 hp. Performance numbers aside, the XKR is a beautiful 2-door grand touring coupe.

2008 Jaguar XKR Coupe

Driving Impressions
I have never been more excited to drive a car. And the Jaguar over-delivered on my anticipation. This is the finest car I’ve ever had the pleasure to sit behind. It was designed by Ian Callum, the same genius who penned the similarly gorgeous Aston Martin DB9.

The Jag leverages aluminum to reduce body weight (~3,700 pounds) and improve responsiveness. But the lighter structure doesn’t mean flimsy. The fit and finish was superb from the spacing of the body panels to the beautifully crafted interior. Everything was solid yet light to the touch. Awesome.

2008 Jaguar XKR Coupe

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
The interior featured gorgeous cream (“ivory”) leather seats and surround panels. The seats were the most comfortable and supportive I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting my tush in. Seat controls are on the door and offer for/aft, up/down, cushion extension, adjustable lumbar, and adjustable side bolsters. Best of all, the passenger enjoys the same level of adjustment. Leg room and headroom were plentiful for those 6 feet tall.

2008 Jaguar XKR - Front Passenger Power Leather Seat Adjusts 10 Ways 2008 Jaguar XKR - 10-way Power-Adjustable Seat Controls 2008 Jaguar XKR - Trunk

The steering wheel is thick and visibility is surprisingly good; there are some moments where it’s hard to see out the back corners, but overall, very livable. The trunk is surprisingly spacious and might even fit 2 sets of golf clubs or a weekend’s worth of luggage. The beautifully chromed parking brake was simple to use and intelligently disengaged automatically when put in to Drive. And the adaptive cruise control is perfectly implemented with an easy-to-use rotary dial on the steering wheel.

2008 Jaguar XKR - Leather Steering Wheel With Cruise Control 2008 Jaguar XKR - Front Cockpit Interior 2008 Jaguar XKR - DENSO DVD Navigation Aid With 7-In. Touch Screen

There are some areas where the interior fell short, but these are merely small criticisms.

  • At first, switching the gated shifter falls to Neutral when you really want Drive. It takes a bit of getting used to.
  • Paddle shifters would be better if mounted on the steering column instead of the steering wheel for shifting in turns.
  • FM reception was mediocre
  • It would be nice if it had a sunroof, though this would intrude on the headroom. This is why they make the convertible…
  • MP3/iPod compatibility. There is no external jack. And it’s impossible to use a radio-frequency adapter because you can’t manually tune a “weak” station to channel via radio.
  • The storage for the key fob is in the center console; this is an awkward reach back while in the driver’s seat.
  • GPS seemed slow to respond and the screen was small and hard to see with any glare.
  • Would have liked to have seen burled wood interior trim instead of piano-black pieces. And the aluminum trim (a $2500 option) seemed like a rip off, though that package includes the seats and leather trim. There is a wood option that I would have preferred.

Wow. This is a seriously impressive vehicle. It is completely docile, quiet and serene while cruising on the freeway or even running errands through city streets. But a slight touch on the loud pedal generates a muted but throaty rush; the exhaust note is perfect-not too loud but let’s you know you are hauling ass. Acceleration is instantaneous at any speed. But what is truly remarkable is the SMOOTHNESS of the speed. There is no drama, just incredible build of thrust. I recorded 0-60 in 4.52 seconds in an effortless, un-dramatic run. Just pure speed. Jumping from 80 to 120 is similarly seamless. It feels like you can do anything in this car. Amazingly, I averaged 16.8 mpg despite flooring it at every opportunity.

2008 Jaguar XKR Coupe - 420-hp, Supercharged 4.2-liter V8 Engine

For a large luxurious GT coupe, one might think this would be ponderous. In fact, the Jag feels light on its feet and has excellent precision. There are videos on YouTube showing it hanging its tail out at 110 mph that truly demonstrate it’s prowess. In fact, it was able to stay with it’s much more expensive cousin, the Aston Martin DB9 ($168k) at the track.

2008 Jaguar XKR Coupe

Does it get any better than this? Seriously? The XKR is a beautiful car. It’s tiger-shark front followed by flowing lines over the a-pillars, then flaring out over the wide-set rear wheels are truly breath-taking. Neighbors who I haven’t talked to in years came round to inquire about this rolling sculpture in the front yard.

2008 Jaguar XKR Coupe

At nearly $90,000, this is a very expensive car. That being said, when I visited my health club (subsidized by my employer!), I looked around in the parking lot and spotted a BMW 550, M5, M6, Cadillac XLR, Audi RS6, and Mercedes CLs. Most of those cars cost MUCH MORE than the Jag yet none of them offer the distinctive styling. And most can’t match the 0-60 times. Given that, for its class, the Jaguar seems like a bargain.

Jaguar has done a phenomenal job with this gorgeous coupe. It offers unique and beautiful styling, incredible comfort, and stunning speed. It’s a car for those who appreciate a uniquely different shape with elegance and performance. Well done, Jaguar!

Who should buy it?
If you have enough disposable income to consider a $90k car (and have an SUV as a backup), the distinctive good looks and phenomenal performance make this an incredible option.

2008 Jaguar XKR Coupe

RATING 5.0 4.25 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.5 4.8/A-

2008 Jaguar XKR Photo Gallery

Jaguar XF

2008 Jaguar XKR Specs

JaguarThe official worldwide website of Jaguar Cars – www.jaguar.com

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Facebook Comments:

Wordpress Comments:

  • I Love it,Looks Speed Sexy as all HELL. says:

    LOVE IT,JUST BOUGHT XKR COUPE, AND Still cant find anything to change/

  • Twain says:

    Jag Tech-I removed the engine cover to verify it was supercharged.

  • Derek says:

    The link below is a photograph posted in our XKR gallery of the car we used in this review. Are you sure we have the wrong engine pictured? The intakes look the same between what is posted in this review and the photo below.


  • jag tech says:

    You have the wrong engine pictured, you had the car and didn’t pop the hood?. Pictured is the AJ27 4.0 V8 with 390 hp, you want the AJ33
    4.2 V8 with 420 hp, besides its a better looking intake.

  • Francois says:

    I got to drive this car and purrs around town. But then when you floor the gas pedal, the engine roars and the engine blares out a ‘rat-tat-tat’ like an old-school gatling gun. It puts and ear to ear grin on one’s face.

    It turns out there is a servo motor in the exhaust that opens up the baffle during hard accelerations. This is the ultimate Jekyl and Hyde engine.

  • Peter says:

    “Hauling Ass” – the best description of what happens when you put your foot down on the loud pedal in an XKR I have ever come across

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