Below are a selection of road tests and reviews that were first published when the 2000 Jaguar XK8 and XKR were launched. They make interesting reading and universally acknowledge that whilst the XKR was an outstanding vehicle it was not without its faults.
By John Perlery Huffman, January 2000
Forget, for a moment, the 370-horsepower, 4.0-liter supercharged V-8 under its hood. Put aside thoughts of its Computer Active Technology Suspension or how quiet it is at cruise or whether the warranty stretches beyond the term of the second mortgage it'll take to buy it. Instead, just look at Jaguar's XKR. It's sex on wheels! A lot sexier than the naturally aspirated XK8 upon which it's based and not sexy in a vulgar, lecherous, strip-club-near-the-airport sort of way, either. But Elizabeth Hurley-wearing- Versace-at-the-Oscars sexy: provocative, confident, not at all trashy, with an upper-class British accent.
Still, all that sex appeal is just luscious icing on a fast, well-mannered, well-built cake. The XKR is the most desirable Jag two-door sold here in at least 25 years. And US$79,465 for the coupe (or US$84,715 for the convertible), although hardly cheap, represents some real value in comparison with other high-end performance cars such as the eerily similar Aston Martin DB7.
We tested the right-hand-drive, British-market XKR in July 1998, while Jaguar was completing the 100,000-mile emissions certification for the car now on sale here. Except for the mirror-image driving position, the Euro- and U.S.-spec cars are virtually mechanical twins (although the U.S. car weighs, according to the specifications, 19 more pounds). The XKR formula is a no-brainer. The supercharged drivetrain first seen in the '98 XJR sedan has simply been dropped into the sultry XK8 coupe and convertible shells. There's some tweaking to get the plumbing of the supercharger's twin air-to-liquid intercoolers under the hood, but the basic supercharged AJ V-8 is untouched. So are the Mercedes-built five-speed automatic and the 3.06:1-ratio final-drive gearset. About the only apparent difference between power production bits in the XJR and the XKR is the two-door's two-piece driveshaft. The exhaust system downstream of the ceramic catalyst is subdued XK8.