R-S: Jaguar’s darkside

There have always been two sides to Jaguar: the lavish, comfortable approach for those looking for an easy, stylish drive, whilst a selection of rumbling V8s and aggressive bodywork appease those who like to put their foot to the floor and make some noise.

In recent years, however, Jaguar has gone up a notch with the latter, adding an extra zest to its sports car line-up with the R-S variants.

Both the XK and XF models have had the R-S treatment, something which has added a new dimension to these cars. The two were already beasts in their own right with the coveted ‘R’ at the end of the name, but that extra letter brings about a more hardcore element further still.

The engine, the power

Starting with an already potent unit, Jaguar employs its prized 5.0-litre supercharged V8, but the power has been turned up. Both cars serve up a whopping 542bhp (39bhp more than the ‘standard’ R models), which is as much as the legendary XJ220.

The XKR-S gets to 60mph from standstill in 4.4sec as a result of the power increase, whilst the bigger XFR-S gets to the same just 0.2sec slower. Even more impressive is that the saloon should, according to Jaguar, reach 100mph in under 9sec, with the coupe able to achieve the same in about 8.6sec.

2011-Jaguar-XKR-S-Side-480

The skin and underneath

The more assertive bodywork isn’t there for show, either, as Jaguar say the front and rear aerodynamic additions on the XKR-S are there in order to maintain contact with the ground at the car’s top speed – a limited 186mph. Stiffer spring rates by 28 per cent ensure a more ridged chassis, whilst there is also a new aluminium steering knuckle, reprogrammed damper and differential controls, as well as wider tyres and lighter wheels.

The XFR-S takes on the F-type’s Quickshift transmission, replacing the standard six-speed automatic. The original ‘box was smooth enough and enables a nice used Jaguar XF impressive changes, but this new transmission gives the car an extra two cogs to work with and quicker shifts to boot.

Jaguar’s chassis experts have also uprated the suspension in order to improve the handling and is 30 per cent stiffer than that of the XFR. One clever addiction enables the XFR-S to hold onto the correct gear through the bends with what Jaguar calls Corner Recognition; there’s even Stop/Start to make the car more efficient.

The costs

Of course, with such additions comes extra cost, and both S models add a premium on top of their original forms. As such, the XKR-S comes in at £97,000 – £19,000 more than the XKR – whilst the XFR-S can be yours from £79,995 – £14,615 more than the R.