Jaguar XKR-S

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Price: £97,000
Top speed: 186mph 0-60mph 4.2 seconds
Consumption: 23mpg
CO2 emissions: 292g/km
Best for: understated speed
Also worth considering? Aston Martin Vantage, Mercedes SL-Class, Porsche 911

The XKR-S is the fastest production Jaguar ever built. The standard XK coupé is pretty quick to start off with, but this new version is something else. Its mighty supercharged engine is capable of propelling it from rest to 60mph in a little over four seconds, although at that stage it's really only just getting into its stride. It doesn't let up until it reaches its astonishing top speed of 186mph, which corresponds to a nice, round 300km/h, a gift to Jaguar salesmen everywhere outside the company's traditional big markets, the UK and the US, where miles are the norm.

Fast as this car is, though, when it comes to performance, Jaguar has, if anything, been pulling its punches. The XKR-S's impressive top speed would be higher still if the company hadn't decided to cap it artificially, and a similar modesty can also be seen in the discreet, rather than showy, aerodynamic changes that have been made to the XK's already sleek body in order to keep it stable at well over double the UK's motorway limit.

Jaguar has been holding back a bit when it comes to pricing, as well. Its main German rivals offer cars that sell for six-figure sums but there seems to be a certain reluctance to break the £100,000 barrier with the XKR-S, which I suppose makes it something of a bargain in relative terms.

Jaguar is on a bit of a roll at the moment, which means that it probably will, within a few years, be producing not just one sports car, but three – and we already know quite a lot about what the new additions to the range will be like. The first, code-named C-X75, was shown in concept form at last year's Paris Mondial de l'Automobile; an extreme super-car intended to serve as a showcase for new technologies, it will be developed in conjunction with the Williams Formula 1 team. This time there'll be no false modesty when it comes to pricing; early guidance suggests that the C-X75 will cost more than £700,000.

At the other end of the scale, Jaguar unveiled at this month's Frankfurt motor show a concept car, the C-X16, a smaller sister to the XK that would offer similar acceleration to an XKR-S but at a starting price closer to £50,000. Two things the C-X75 and C-X16 have in common – they both look just as good as the XKR-S but they're hybrids, so they should deliver all that performance without burning through anything like as much fuel.

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