2011 Jaguar XKR 175: Another Special Edition

Written by Arv Voss

The XKR Coupe is beautiful and stunningly elegant in its design form – perhaps more so than its Convertible counterpart, but I still prefer open-air motoring to closed car cruising. That having been said, this review is about the XKR Coupe in all its glory and particularly the Special Limited Edition 75th Anniversary Jaguar XKR 175. And as its name implies, only 175 will be produced for the U.S. market, with 15 units built for Canada. The Europe will commemorate the iconic marque’s 75th Anniversary, with only 75 cars to be built. All XKR models are highly desirable, since both came from the styling pen and influence of Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design chief.

The Convertible XKR was actually designed and developed first, before the XKR Coupe to ensure not only the car’s structural integrity, but to make absolutely sure that each was correct in their own right, unlike most offerings where the coupe comes before, and the top is chopped off to make the convertible, with supportive structures implemented as an afterthought.

According to Callum, one cannot fully appreciate the XKR simply by viewing photos, since it is seen as consisting of a side, a front and a top – on the road or in person however, it is perceived as a complete, singular, three-dimensional entity which equates to two elements -- the proportions and the extremity of the form as a whole.

Initially, the question might be posed how either configuration of the XKR 2+2 sports car could possibly be improved upon. Well, actually in many ways, but particularly in the form of the “R” versions as in XKR. The XKR elevates the performance level by moving from a normally aspirated and supercharged 4.2-liter AJ V8 to the Generation III, 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that delivers a healthy 510-horsepower between 6,000 and 6,500 rpm, while generating a respectable 461 pound feet of torque in a range between 2,500 and 5,500 rpm. The engine resides up front, positioned longitudinally, with power transferred to the rear wheels through a ZF six-speed automatic gearbox, which may be left to change gears automatically without intervention, or shifted manually via wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The European version XKR 75 adds 22 horsepower and 22 pound feet of torque over the U.S.’s XKR175.

Both the XKR 75 and XKR 175 Coupe are capable of traveling from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds, with top speed electronically limited to 174 mph. Continuing the reflection on design appeal, the 2011 XKR 175 is visibly more desirable and sportier in nature than previous model XKRs.

Inside, traditional craftsmanship and contemporary luxury materials continue to abound with features such as finely stitched leather, contrasting with a choice of high-tech trim surfaces including metallic finishes. The layout features intuitive controls and driver-oriented technologies with sporty, yet user-friendly ergonomics and highly supportive seats, set low in relation to the high waistline contributing to a purposeful ‘cockpit’ feeling.

To ensure that the XKR175 remains stable at high speeds, a revised aerodynamic package incorporates a new front air dam, new side sills, a new rear diffuser and a larger rear spoiler providing increased balance and a reduction in lift. New 20-inch Kasuga 10-spoke alloy wheels, red brake calipers and Ultimate Black exterior paint adorn the car's exterior. Inside, door sill tread plates reading "XKR175 – 1 of 175" greet the driver and passenger while the leather is finished in Warm Charcoal with Cranberry stitching, all accompanied by Piano Black wood veneer.

Our review vehicle was the Jaguar XKR 175 Coupe, which came with the rich Ultimate Black metallic exterior finish complemented by a warm Charcoal leather interior with Cranberry stitching accented by the polished Piano Black veneer trim accents. The base price was set at $95,150 while the Limited Edition 175 package costing an extra $8,500 along with the $850 Transportation and Handling fee elevated the final sticker total to $104,500.

The XKR 175 is big, bold and more beautiful than ever. Its EPA rating as a mini-compact (probably due to the limited back seat space when drivers of my dimensions are behind the wheel) is a misnomer, since it tips the scale at nearly two tons. This Jaguar car is capable of slinking along slowly and stealthily, while maintaining the ability to spring rapidly to top speed -- a feat that is indeed comparable to its biological big cat namesake. The XKR 175 Coupe elevates the essence of Jaguar -- motoring in stylish elegance, constituting a near perfect formula. Incidentally, it very closely resembles the Aston Martin – not a bad thing indeed. The XKR 175 Coupe is truly a superlative motorcar that possesses the heart of a racing machine.