2012 Jaguar XKR-S

Lions maybe the king of the jungle, but the roar of this Jaguar is destined to change that.

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Story: Alex Bernstein

Jaguar, Jaguar, Jaguar. The brand is becoming what they once were. Every car in their refreshed lineup is a stunner, and each has an available option of a 500-plus-horsepower power plant. And although they seemed to have all their bases covered, it’s pretty obvious the feisty cat brand was missing a halo car, so they gave us the XKR-S, and it’s absolutely spectacular.

The XKR-S is not only the most powerful but the fastest production sports car Jaguar has ever built, with a top speed of 186 mph and a break-your-neck-on-command supercharged V8. But really, the XKR-S ain’t a car revolving around numbers or performance feats; it’s straight badass. It walks the walk, talks the talk and cops digits without tryin’.

The quad exhaust tips spit clouds of charred fuel when you put your foot to the floor, and the noise that follows is somewhere between a 747 at takeoff and a blender full of shotgun shells. It’s a sound so seductive, it begs you to break every possible road law and search out tunnels. But if you need to calm yourself down and just cruise, the audio system is probably the best distraction you could ask for. Bowers & Wilkins supplied a 525-watt, eight-speaker system that sounds better than most movie theaters. The clarity is unbelievable, and if bass is what you’re after, the sub has no problem shakin’ the rearview. And while this all sounds good, the true enjoyment of sitting in the driver’s seat of an XKR-S is driving it like a fleet of state troopers is chasing you.

The acceleration you feel in the pit of your stomach when you really get into pedal is mind blowing; it’s a sensory overload. From the speed to the traction the rear tires can’t provide, topped off with keeping the headlights facing forward, driving this Jag fast is an exercise in skill and control. Jaguar has easily made one of the scariest cars to drive (when the traction is switched off), but the XKR-S is also drop-dead gorgeous.

It begs for attention, especially in the standard French Racing Blue. Bright and sculpted, trimmed in bits of carbon fiber and shadow accents, offset by massive wheels hiding massive brakes, the XKR-S looks straight menacing. Whether you’re a Jaguar fan or not, this car garners more attention than your chick does, even if she’s rockin’ a thong in the middle of the mall. There’s only one problem with Jaguar’s new beast: justifying the cost. Because at 130 large, names like Porsche come to mind. Luckily, Jag has an answer for that coming.

Specs:

Damage: $132,875

Power: 543hp, 502lb.-ft.

0-60: 4.2 secs.

Gas Cash: 15 city, 33 hwy

Miles Driven: 200

Interior: The seats are comfortable and supportive, the materials are rich and sporty—oh, and the headliner is leather. The interior does not disappoint, on this Jag or anything else in their lineup.

Exterior: The line between overly aggressive and subtly beautiful has been found. From the front, it kind of looks like a catfish—one that’s been eating a lot of canned corn.

Floss Factor: If flossin’ is your thing, this is the car to do it in. It’s loud in every way and will do a burnout, drift or doughnut on command. What else can you ask for?

Flaw Factor: It’s really suited for dry weather. Anything other than that and you’ll spend your time behind the wheel holding on for dear life.