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DEL MAR, California — The Jaguar XKR is one of those rare cars with myriad talents: It makes you feel happy to be driving, it coddles you in comfort while egging you on to insane speeds, and it makes other drivers British-racing-green with envy.

And when it’s a convertible, it makes a compelling argument for the best way to spend those future lottery winnings.

Better start playing — the XKR goes on sale in a scant two weeks. The coupe costs $76,800, the convertible $81,800. Both prices include destination charges.

The foundation for the XKR is well-known to enthusiasts by now. Its forebear, the XK8, swung stylishly onto the scene in 1997, its riveting, sculptural form powered by a 290-hp V-8. The XKR doesn’t vary widely from that formula, except in one striking way — it supplants the standard engine with a supercharged V-8. And it takes on a more sporting version of the XK8’s handling to put it on par with its natural competitors — the Porsche 911 and Mercedes-Benz SL500, Jaguar says.

The newly invigorated engine is Jaguar’s AJ V-8, a 4.0-liter engine that in naturally aspirated form makes 290 hp. With the addition of the supercharger, it surges to 370 hp. It’s very similar to the supercharged powerplant in the XJR sedan, but to fit under the XKR’s sloping hood, some minor modifications to the intercoolers and cooling system were made.

Purists should no longer be shocked to learn that Jaguar uses a five-speed automatic transmission built by Mercedes-Benz. (The car world would be a better place if we all just went ahead with it and used GM or Benz automatics, Nissan and Honda manuals, and such.)

Fantastic fundamentals

What we all want from Jaguars are stunning looks and breathtaking speed, which is what the XKR delivers in abundance. It accelerates from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds (a tick more for the slightly heavier convertible) and charges to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. It bears noting that Jaguar times the XKR as faster than the 911 or SL500.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016
2015 Jaguar XK 2-Door Coupe XKR

Beautiful exterior lines and proportions...interior looks slightly dated. Electronics/navigation stink.

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I traded in a 2015 Audi S7 for a new 2015 Jag XKR. Still wondering if I made the right choice. The Audi is a far superior car. The XKR (in Italian Racing Red)just caught my eye. It rides nice, it's fast and... + More »
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Saturday, May 16, 2015
For 2015 Jaguar XK

Great drivers car

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Love my xk handles great pleanty of power and let's face it we all buy a car like this for the looks and this car is beautiful and you get plenty of looks. The major shortcoming is the electronics. Specificly... + More »
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015
2010 Jaguar XK 2-Door Convertible

Dependable and Fun

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Love my ragtop XK. It certainly is more dependable than my previous car-1998 Bentley Azure. Not too common in Toronto. Lots in South Florida. I take down the top as much as I can. Using the wind deflector... + More »
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