10 Outrageous Jags You Need Balls Of Steel To Drive

Think Jaguars are just for people with cardigans and false teeth? Think again…

Jaguar XJ220

Jaguars are for old people. That’s the oft-quoted stereotype that prevents many of us from taking any interest in the leaping cat and its cars. Wood, leather, and Inspector Morse – that’s what Jags are all about. In other words, a world away from the carbonfibre and titanium world most of us inhabit. Right?

Well, no, actually. Not at all. You see, Jaguar’s been putting out some seriously exciting machinery for a generation – so anyone still thinking that its cars are still exclusively for inhabitants of wing-back armchairs and brown slacks really ought to get with the program. And with these ten truly covetable big cats, we’re about to show you exactly why. These ain’t your Daddy’s Jags…

1. F-Type

Jaguar F-Type

Let’s start with an obvious one, shall we? If you haven’t heard of the F-Type, allow us to be the first to welcome you back from the five-year sabbatical you’ve just spent in seclusion with a group of Tibetan monks. Thanks to a combination of terrific noise, drop-dead looks and clever marketing hype, the F-Type is one of the coolest cars for sale today, and with the top-spec V8 S hitting 60mph in 4.2 seconds courtesy of its supercharged 488bhp engine, this one’s too good for the blue rinse brigade to keep to itself. Clarkson certainly thought so during the last episode of Top Gear, and The Enemy frontman Tom Clarke seems to agree, calling it the best Jag he's ever driven.


Jaguar XKR-S GT

Think Jags can’t be hardcore? The XKR-S GT sets out to prove you wrong. Only ten will be sold in the UK, making this one of the most exclusive Jags ever, and it’s not hard to see why: each will cost a whopping £135,000, making this the priciest Jag since the legendary XJ220 (see below). But what do you get for your cash? Well, quite a bit actually – Jaguar claims that every little aero tweak that’s been made to the GT has a purpose. And in addition, each features a host of detailed suspension upgrades, aimed at making the GT a perfect companion out on track. Power? Well, that’s unchanged from the stock XKR-S at 542bhp, but with a nip and tuck here and there and the wider Pirelli tyres, 0-60mph will be down to a scorching 3.9 seconds.

3. XFR-S

Jaguar XFR-S

Prefer four doors to two? Good, because some of Jag’s saloons are even cooler than their coupes these days. Check out the XFR-S if you don’t believe us – the same 542bhp supercharged V8 as the XKR-S GT is housed under its bulging bonnet, giving it enough firepower to rival the latest BMW M5 and Merc E63. Don’t fancy the massive spoiler or loud, blue paintwork? Don’t worry - you don’t have to have either. People will know you’re coming in any case – just listen to the noise…

4. XJR (X351)

Jaguar XJR X351

It hasn’t quite arrived yet, but be sure that when the next XJR does, it’ll cause quite a stir. It’ll be the largest XJR yet, but don’t let that mislead you into thinking it’ll be a slouch. Thanks to the same 542bhp engine as the XFR-S and XKR-S, it’ll hit 60 in 4.4 seconds – remarkable when you consider it’ll measure around 5.2 metres. It should go round corners pretty well, too, as Jaguar’s claiming it’s spent time honing the XJR’s dynamics at the Nurburgring.

5. XJR (X350)

Jaguar XJR (X350)

The latest XJR will be a world away from the last model, mind. This was the last of the classic-style XJs, and featured retro styling that divided opinion. Under the skin, mind, it was all cutting-edge stuff, with an aluminium monocoque that kept weight down to a spry 1,665kg. That allowed the 390bhp 4.2-litre V8 and its supercharger to propel the car to 60mph in just six seconds. Not shabby stats for such a big old beast. Oh, and they look pretty awesome going sideways with Basement Jaxx playing over the top.

6. S-Type R

Jaguar S-Type R

We’ll wager that if you’re the kind of person who reckons Jags are for old guys, you’ll also find the S-Type the least appealing of all the company’s models. But the R deserves a second look – because Jaguar did a bang-up job of transforming its gloopy, retro body styling into something that oozed muted aggression. And well it may have done, too, as its supercharged 4.2-litre engine meant 60mph in just 5.3 seconds – and with an aftermarket exhaust, the sort of noise that could wake the dead.

7. XJR (X308)

Jaguar XJR (X308)

Seriously. Have a look at the above pic, and try telling us the X308 XJR isn’t one of the coolest things Jaguar’s ever made. If you do, we won’t believe you. OK, so it wasn’t as sharp as the BMW M5. And yes, it had an auto box. But what it lacked in sharpness, it more than made up for with two very important attributes: presence and performance. The 4.0-litre V8 produced 370bhp, making it good for 0-60 in 6.6 seconds. And finished in black, with 20” wheels, it packed subtle aggression and effortless class into one winning package.

8. XKR (X100)

Jaguar XKR

The X100 XK8 might have been a bit of a creaky old hector, but its supercharged sibling, the XKR, most certainly was not. This was the first-ever XKR, and as such it created a legacy that led to the XKR-S GT featured above. But even this XKR was pretty impressive in its own right. First powered by the same 370bhp 4.0-litre as the X308 XJR, it later took the S-Type R’s 390bhp 4.2-litre, giving it the ability to crack 60mph in 5.1 seconds. And with slinky hips and a toothy, snake-like front end, it was rather a handsome thing, even if its hind quarters were a tad on the bulbous side.

9. XJR (X306)

Jaguar XJR (X306)

This was where it all started. The first ever production supercharged Jaguar, and as such, the car that made it possible for every performance Jaguar since to happen. When it first appeared, nothing quite like the XJR had emerged from Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory before. And with a 4.0-litre straight six engine packing 320bhp, no Jaguar saloon had ever been quite this potent. While magazine articles pitched it against the E34 M5, it was an altogether different beast – larger, more opulent, less raw and – dare we say it – more prestigious. The XJR showed the world what a performance Jaguar was, what it could be – and indeed, what it would be in years to come.

10. XJ220

Jaguar XJ220 Source: gtdemo.com

But as big a thing as the XJR was, it wasn’t the coolest Jaguar of its generation. That honour had to fall – will probably always fall, in fact – to the XJ220. It was almost certainly one of the most elegant and beautiful supercars ever made; it offered devastating performance from a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6; it hit 60 in under four seconds, and went on to 212mph. OK, so the interior was ruined by a bunch of Metro switchgear, and OK, so the rear lights came from a Rover 200, but nobody cared. This was – still is, in fact, unless Jaguar puts the C-X75 into production – the pinnacle of Jaguar-dom. And not a pipe and slippers in sight.


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