Jaguar XKR-S is the cat s whiskers
Jaguar XKR-S: At $340,000, only a handful are expected to be sold in Australia. Picture: Robert Duncan/The West Australian

For most of us, when we buy a car it needs to fulfil a specific purpose, whether that be delivering a tribe of children to school and sporting events, towing or getting you to destinations beyond the bitumen.

And it is not only people restricted to a tight budget who have to ensure the car they are buying is capable of fulfilling their needs. In most cases the same can be said of people who shop in the premium market segment.

There are very few who can afford to be completely self-indulgent when buying a car.

But the Jaguar XKR-S is a limited-edition model that has been designed and built specifically for that small and privileged group.

And with a price tag of $340,000, which is $100,000 more than the standard supercharged V8 XKR, only a handful are expected to be sold in Australia.

For the past 10 days I have been able to enjoy the experience.

Even before you open the door to get into the sleek coupe there is little doubt about its intent.

Everything from the big grille to the vents on the front corners (designed to push air down the side of the car to keep it more stable) to the very un-Jaguar-like rear spoiler, scream performance.

And in French racing blue, with 20-inch black wheels, it looks the business. Sliding into the beautiful hand-stitched leather sports seats you know it is a driver's car by the amount of adjustments available.

Everything from the firmness of the side bolster to the degree of lumbar support can be electrically adjusted via a series of buttons on the door.

Once your seat is comfortable, the steering wheel can be placed into the perfect position via another switch.

While the Jaguar is a 2+2 coupe it is really all about the front seat passengers. The back seats are not only very hard to get into but there is virtually no leg room unless the front seats are pushed right forward.

I took my 12-year-old nephew to the football in it and we had not even left the driveway before the excitement of being taken for a drive had started to wane. Not only were his knees firmly jammed into the front seat but he had his head tilted to one side to get it under the sloping roof. It was even worse when I took my son's 22-year-old girlfriend home, also in the back seat. I am not sure either of them thanked me for the experience.

It is a very different story for the two front seat passengers. Not only are the seats very comfortable and supportive, there is plenty of room.

Awakening the 5.0-litre supercharged V8, via a button on the centre console, sounds like the percussion section of an orchestra reaching a crescendo.

It is a cacophony that can only be duplicated when you send the engine spinning toward its 6500rpm redline - a temptation that is hard to resist. Reaching speed limits, especially in the metro area, seems to only take nano-seconds, with an official 0-100km/h time of 4.4secs.

But that should be hardly surprising. The engine generates maximum power of 405kW at 6000rpm and peak torque of 680Nm from 2500-5500rpm. The power is delivered to the rear wheels via a six-speed ZF automatic transmission.

To cope with the extra power and torque Jaguar has tweaked a lot of the software and changed the suspension set up. It has also lowered the ride height compared to the standard car and, most importantly, beefed up the brakes. The result is a super sports coupe that can match it against the world's best supercars but can be used as an every-day drive (I wish). Mentioning fuel efficiency when talking about a performance car like this seems unnecessary but for those who are interested the official fuel consumption is 12.3L/100km. I used 16.0L/100km during the test period.

Last November it was named the 2011 Sports Car of the Year by German motoring magazine, Auto Bild Sportscars, after a poll of more than 70,000 of its readers.

The XKR-S is the most powerful production car Jaguar has built.

It has been raced in Production Sports Car Coupes classes, finishing ahead of Mercedes' C63 AMG and Audi's RS5 in their home market. Enough said.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West