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Jaguar XKR: The Beauty of the Beast

Luxury Autos: The dynamic duality of the 2007 Jaguar XKR is absolutely breathtaking. While its presence is magnificent, its performance is equally exhilarating. The vehicle comes directly down the middle of the road and scores colossally on both sides of the track. The XKR lives up to its pedigree of refinement, yet offers no apologies for its unbridled ferocity. This is a luxuriant well-muscled car that packs an exceptionally powerful bite. It is clearly capable of tussling with the "big cats" of this upper-echelon marketplace.

This Jaguar's roar is not subtle. Powered by a six-speed, sequential-shifting ZF automatic transmission with paddle shifts, the XKR's 4.2-liter DOHC supercharged V8 engine growls exuberantly. It boasts 420 horsepower, which is 120 more than the XK models. The ZF transmission allows drivers to choose standard drive, sports drive, or full-manual control.

With its solid-body, all-aluminum construction, the 2007 XKR sets light on its 19-inch standard aluminum-alloy wheels. The recalibrated CATS suspension is stiffer with firmer springs and dampers. Standard DSC and traction control also contribute to a smooth, stable ride at all speeds. Fortunately, the disc brakes also were upgraded to match the XKR's extra power. Its exterior lines define the XKR's over-the top essence. From the front and centered "R" in the aluminum-mesh grill to the hood louvers to the chrome side-vent trim to the jutting chrome quad tailpipes and perfectly shaped wide rear fascia, it is both brutish and chic. Coupe and convertible Jaguar XKR models are available. The XKR's cabin is plush with supple soft grain leather. The dashboard trim comes in burl walnut, poplar or aluminum. The round instrumentation is centered ideally for the driver along with a digital message center.

There also is a seven-inch touch screen in the center stack that accesses or provides audio, climate, and navigational info. The heated sport seats, which are powered 10 ways, provide extra lateral support. MotorWeek named it a co-winner of the Driver's Choice Award for Best Dream Machine along with the Ferrari 559 GTB Fiorana and the Porsche 911 Turbo. Although being placed among such great cars is truly flattering and complimentary, the 2007 Jaguar XKR's alluring appeal is peerless.


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