Jaguar unveils its most expensive model yet
British automaker also unwraps its latest sport wagon, filling a major gap in its lineup.
The fastest-ever Jaguar open-top road car has roared into town to make its European debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The 186-mph XKR-S was seen earlier in the year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, of course, but its appearance here coincides with the launch of the most expensive Jaguar currently on sale.
The long-awaited Jaguar XF estate also finally made its debut, ready to take on the Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5-Series Touring for supremacy in the luxury wagon market. This model arrives to further broaden the Jaguar range as the automaker looks to make up for the obvious gap in its model lineup.
Jaguar XKR-S Cabriolet
What is it? The 186-mph Jaguar XKR-S is the loudest, rawest cabriolet Jaguar has ever built. Subtle this car is not, and the driving experience is even more intense than in last year's XKR-S coupe, thanks to Jaguar removing the barrier between your ears and those four bellowing exhausts.
What's hot? The 5.0-liter 550-horsepower supercharged V8 engine is so powerful that even the 186-mph top speed is limited. Jaguar says you can achieve this with the roof either up or down, too. Zero to 62 mph takes just 4.3 seconds, making it almost as scorching as the XKR-S coupe.
What's not? We've driven the Jaguar XKR-S, and while we love its wonderfully measured approach — just the right side of raw — some may yearn for an experience as battering and as hard-core as the outrageous styling.
How much and when? This is a genuine six-figure Jaguar: It costs $160,000 and is on sale now, becoming the most expensive Jaguar you can buy.
Anything else I should know? The basic aluminium structure of the Jaguar XK Cabriolet is so rigid that Jaguar had to do little to it in order to create the XKR-S. It is no soft-edged cousin: The suspension settings are almost identical to the coupe.
Jaguar XF Sportbrake
What is it? The XF Sportbrake is only Jaguar's second estate car, but is a vitally important one nonetheless. In Europe, estates account for one in four executive car sales, so its arrival later this year is vital if Jaguar is to maintain its upward sales trajectory.
What's hot? This is a good-looking estate; Jaguar finished the rear pillars in gloss black to create a wraparound effect, with the roof appearing to float on top. The shape of the side windows is distinctive, too. With up to 59 cubic feet of space within, it's practical as well. It's shown here in Geneva with an optional aero styling pack for added visual clout.
What's not? The engine range is diesel-only at the moment. This is sensible, because diesels account for nine in 10 sales in this sector, but we still find the idea of a 510-horsepower XFR Sportbrake tantalizing.
How much and when? The Jaguar XF Sportbrake will go on sale later in 2012, but Jaguar has not yet revealed prices.
Anything else I should know? Inside, Jaguar says the trim in the trunk is the same high quality as that up front. The name, it is explained, is an amalgam of "sports tourer" and "shooting brake," the latter a traditional name for load-lugging versions of sporty coupes. Impressively, the estate is stiffer than the saloon, and it is more aerodynamically efficient.