First Look: 2012 Jaguar XKR-S Convertible
By John Beltz Snyder
November 16, 2011
• The XKR-S Convertible is the most powerful and fastest convertible Jaguar has ever built
• Supercharged V8 engine produces 550 hp and 502lb-ft of torque
• Top speed of 186 mph and 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds (0-100 kmh in 4.4 seconds).
• MSRP of $138,000*
• Only 25 examples of the 2012 model year XKR-S Convertible will be sold in the US
• Performance Active exhaust enables higher power and torque and gives the XKR-S its own distinctive soundtrack
• Lightweight aluminum architecture provides high torsional rigidity
• Revised front and rear suspension means increased agility, precision and control without sacrificing comfort
• Uprated Adaptive Dynamics system allows the enthusiastic driver to safely exploit the exhilarating handling
• Styling changes developed with Computational Fluid Dynamics to reduce lift and maximize aerodynamic stability
• New front bumper design with wider, lower air intake, carbon fiber air splitter and twin side nacelles
• New rocker sills smooth the horizontal airflow and emphasize the 0.4-inch reduction in ride height
• Unique rear wing with a carbon fiber insert and a rear apron ensure balanced aerodynamics front and rear
• Convertible top opens and stows in just 18 seconds at speeds up to 15mph.
• Flagship interior features 16-way adjustable Performance seats trimmed in carbon leather
• 2012 model year production of the Coupe version, introduced at the Geneva show, has already sold out
The pinnacle of the Jaguar sporting range – the XKR-S Coupe – is now joined by a convertible body style which offers the same enticing blend of abilities, while offering driver and passenger a heightened connection with their surroundings.
The XKR-S Convertible embodies all the characteristics that have always defined legendary Jaguar GTs – explosive performance, precise handling, relaxed comfort and discreet luxury – while taking Jaguar into a new performance level. The new XKR-S Convertible sits at the pinnacle of the XK range, which now consists of XK, XKR and XKR-S derivatives in coupe and convertible body styles.
The XKR-S Convertible receives the performance, dynamics, design, and interior upgrades originally introduced on its coupe sibling to create the fastest ever open-top Jaguar GT.
“The new XKR-S Convertible represents the pinnacle of performance and glamour in motoring, there is nothing as liberating as experiencing life from behind the wheel of an open-topped Jaguar and the new XKR-S Convertible takes the Jaguar GT experience to new heights.”
Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar Cars Global Brand Director
Externally the XKR-S Convertible is differentiated from other XK models with carefully calibrated aerodynamic aids that allow it to perform at very high speeds. Extensive Computational Fluid Dynamics, wind tunnel and track work has resulted in the aerodynamic design changes applied to the XKR-S Convertible. These perform an essential function in maintaining stability in an open-topped car capable of speeds as high as 186 mph.
These aerodynamic design changes give the front of the car a dramatic and bold appearance. Vertical feature lines run down from the edges of the oval air intake into a new bumper design which incorporates a wider, lower air intake, a carbon fiber splitter and twin side nacelles. At the edges of the bumper, vertical panels channel air down the side of the car along new sills, which serve to both smooth the horizontal airflow and emphasize the 0.4-inch reduction in ride height.
A unique rear wing with a carbon fiber inlay works in conjunction with a rear apron featuring a carbon fiber diffuser. The result is a reduction in overall lift of 26 percent and balanced aerodynamics front and rear to keep the car connected to the road.
The exterior changes are highlighted by the application of gloss black to the exterior bright work, complemented by the dark technical finish of the lightweight, forged 20” Vulcan design alloy wheels through which can be seen the Jaguar High Performance Brake calipers finished in either eye-catching red or discreet gunmetal. The XKR-S Convertible is available in a range of six colors, including Polaris White and British Racing Green, a tribute to Jaguar’s competition heritage. The acoustically treated convertible top opens and stows in just 18 seconds. It comes in black as standard with a further six optional fabric colors available.
“Taking the track-oriented ethos of the XKR-S Coupe and applying it to a convertible is very exciting. There is a real spirit and thrill to driving with the roof down and in a car capable of these speeds that is going to be exaggerated to create a very dramatic and special experience.”
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar Cars
The building block for the car’s explosive performance is an updated version of the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine, which produces 550 hp and 502lb-ft of torque. These figures represent a power increase of 40 hp (8 percent) and torque increase of 41lb-ft (9 percent) over the Jaguar XKR. Driving the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox and an Active Differential, this propels the XKR-S Convertible to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds (0-100 kmh in 4.4 seconds) and up to an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph.
The inherent engineering integrity of the acclaimed Jaguar AJ-V8 engine, now in its third generation, meant that Jaguar engineers could derive the extra power and torque needed for the XKR-S. The advanced design of the quad-cam, all-aluminum V8 incorporates spray-guided direct injection and variable valve timing for great efficiency as well as prodigious power. The Roots-type twin-vortex supercharger nestling in the ‘V’ of the engine has twin intercoolers and is 20 percent more thermodynamically efficient than its predecessor.
Liberating an extra 40 hp over and above the XKR entailed remapping the fueling characteristics and increasing exhaust gas flow through the use of an active exhaust system.
With the convertible top lowered, the Performance Active exhaust system delivers an authentic, motorsports inspired soundtrack that has been tuned to provide the driver with a thoroughly exhilarating driving experience.
Jaguar pioneered the use of aluminum in series production cars. The low mass and high tensile strength of aluminum helps give the XKR-S torsional rigidity of 16,500 Newton meters per degree. With the XK model designed as a convertible from the outset, Jaguar engineers were able to apply the changes that created the XKR-S Coupe into the open-top GT without compromising performance, agility or refinement. Supporting this potent engine performance is a comprehensive package of suspension upgrades which refine the XK model’s dynamic abilities further, creating an intimate connection between the car, the driver and the road.
Both front and rear suspension systems have been revised. A new aluminum steering knuckle in the front double wishbone suspension increases camber stiffness by 23 percent to provide even greater levels of steering accuracy and feedback. To increase stability and control, the Active Differential has been uprated to reduce steering sensitivity at high speeds.
Rear damper top mounts have been stiffened, while the rear wheel steer effect has been optimized for agility. Spring rates front and rear have been increased by 28 percent while a bespoke Adaptive Damping program for the XKR-S maximizes body control, traction and grip.
Unsprung mass has been reduced by nearly five percent through the fitment of lightweight, forged alloy wheels, which also offer greater traction and grip levels thanks to wider rear tires that were specifically developed for use on the XKR-S and serve to increase the size of the tire contact patch. The XKR-S convertible rides on Pirelli® PZero® tires (255/35 ZR20 at the front and 295/30 ZR20 at the rear).
In order to allow the enthusiastic driver to explore the performance envelope, the Dynamic Stability Control system has undergone customized changes. In TracDSC mode, specific traction, stability and Active Differential settings reduce intervention levels and enhance mid-corner adjustability, allowing the exhilarating handling to be exploited to the fullest.
The Jaguar High Performance Braking System fitted as standard is matched to the car’s seductive performance. Huge brake discs – 15 inch front and 14 inch rear – in combination with aluminum calipers and pad area increases of 44 percent front and 31 percent rear in comparison to the XK provide inspiring levels of power, stability and feel.
“Because the XK was designed as a convertible it has great structural integrity. This allowed us to carry over the coupe settings entirely to create a convertible with no compromises. Its blend of great speed, precision and dynamism is given an extra dimension with the roof down and that thrilling exhaust soundtrack.”
Mike Cross, Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity, Jaguar Cars
With the convertible top down, the interior of the XKR-S will be subject to as many envious glances as the exterior, with both highlighting the car’s high performance intent.
Exclusive to the XKR-S models are carbon-leather trimmed versions of Jaguar Performance seats which feature integrated head rests, racing harness cut-outs and increased side bolster support to hold driver and passenger securely during high speed cornering. The 16-way adjustable, heated seats feature highlights of carbon leather and contrast micro piping unique to the model, while carbon leather is also used to accent the cabin and emphasize the car’s assertive nature.
Superb tactile interfaces are provided by the multifunction three-spoke leather-wrapped heated steering wheel and Jaguar-embossed bright stainless steel pedals.
Other premium surfaces include soft-feel paint for the switches and a gloss black center console. An exclusive dark aluminum finish is available as standard with an optional Piano Black finish also available.