First Drive : Jaguar XKR-S Convertible
Speaking to Jaguar engineers, one thing that they’re particularly proud of is just how little separates the XKR-S Coupe and the Convertible dynamically. They’ll tell you that it does what it needs to at the Nurburgring Nordschliefe, and can complete the lap in a time that starts with a ‘seven’.
So, seriously capable. It was designed and developed alongside the coupe, and as we end up tackling some of Southern California’s more challenging mountain roads, it’s clear that the convertible does feel very similar to the coupe. That means wonderful throttle response, quick and usable transmission, and delicious turn-in and exit-adjustability.
It also possesses beautifully geared and accurate steering, which is a tad light for press-on drivers, and damping that allows fluid progress on real – pock-marked, cambered and crunchy – roads. That’ll be down to Jaguar’s secret weapon: a testing programme that takes in British B-roads. Brilliant.
The convertible is not completely the same as the coupe dynamically – the damping rates have been beefed up slightly, and if anything, it feels even more willing to turn-in than the already pointy coupe. Do we like this slightly surprising development? Yes, once we’re acclimatized. And that’s the whole point of the XKR-S Convertible – it’s a drop-top for hard drivers. But it can waft reasonably effectively too.
As for the rest of the car – it’s standard XK Convertible. So that means a great driving position, slightly scattered ergonomics, a quick folding hood, and a usefully large boot. Likeable it certainly is. The XKR-S Convertible’s aerodynamic addenda is clearly effective, adding downforce, but we wish it was more subtle – and didn’t make it look down in the mouth. As with the coupe, its £20K price premium over the standard XKR will have some customers asking awkward questions – but given the additional performance and subtly enhanced dynamics, it’s great news that enthusiastic drivers are given a genuine choice.
In short, as great as the runway blast was, it was in real-world driving that the XKR-S Convertible’s true range of abilities shone through. Buy with confidence if you want a usable convertible that looks good, drives responsively, sounds joyous, and can work as well on a run to the shops as it does in the mountains.
For the full story, visit the Octane website