A few weeks ago I ducked out early to check out the Chicago-area Jaguar Alive event. In addition to the typical presentations and street drives (in this case in the quick and luxurious XJ Supercharged), Jaguar set up an autocross course as well as an all wheel drive technology demo area complete with man-made snow and muddy chicanes. The best part, however, was the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the extremely rare XKR-S, a $130,000+ red meat cocktail of supercharged speed and track-ready hardware. The folks at Jaguar put together a brief video with two and a half minutes of product highlights surrounding 5 seconds of me in the XKR-S struggling to put 550 HP to work on a short gravelly drag strip:
Filmed from inside the car, the audio doesn’t quite capture the experience of hearing multiple supercharged V8s blasting down the straight at WOT, but I can tell you that from about a mile away it sounded like World War 2 era fighters conducting strafing runs.
After the XKR-S experience, I took the wheel of a slightly less aggressive 510 HP XKR coupe for several tries at the autocross course. Although prizes were an offer for the fastest time, the opportunity to get tail happy in an overpowered rear wheel drive GT got the best of me and several times I found myself in opposite lock or, in one or two cases, pointing the wrong direction. Pretty sure I had the most fun though.
The AWD demo was engaging, in that we were encouraged to get the car sideways with the traction control disabled, but the intentions were really to show us how Jaguar’s fancy driver aids, when enabled, can attempt to compensate for a complete lack of winter driving ability, continuing the apparent shift towards better car tech rather than better drivers.
Back in the promotion center they had several models on display, including the brand new F-Type (more on this in a subsequent post) and its spiritual successor and one of my all-time favorite cars, the original E-Type. All-in-all, one of the better manufacturer events I’ve attended, although I’m probably still a bit too young to fit the target demographic (the F-Type might change this).
The Jaguar XKR-S Coupe
5.0 Liter Supercharged V8 | 550 HP
186 MPH Top Speed | 0-60 in 4.2 Seconds
Total Production: 300 | 100 in the US market
1967 Jaguar E-Type