THE glitz and glamour of motor shows deserves to be matched with stunning car launches. And the Geneva Motor Show last month didn’t disappoint. The huge halls were awash with pretty girls and cars covered in drapes as the world’s media gathered to take in the very latest model launches.
And Jaguar made no exception. Taking pride of place on the marque’s stand was this – the XKR-S. Billed as the fastest production XK ever produced, it features an incredible 4.2-litre V8 supercharged engine capable of punching a hole through the atmosphere to 60mph in just 4.9 seconds and on to 174mph. That makes the XKR-S the quickest Jaguar since the XJ220!
Sounds superb doesn’t it? Indeed it does – so why then is Jaguar planning to sell only 50 in the UK? Making it exclusive certainly makes it more desirable, but we can’t help thinking the more you sell the merrier.
The new model certainly has appeal. Equipment is plentiful with high end fittings and advanced technologies abound. There’s an Alcon R Performance braking system with six-pot callipers and a Bowers & Wilkins surround sound stereo system with 525W speakers. There’s even a clever exhaust system that keeps things quiet and refined below 4,800rpm but when you throw the hammer down your aural pleasure is suitably catered for too with an enhanced V8 thrum. Revised exterior styling marks the S out on the road with a new front splitter, side sill extensions, rear spoiler and unique 20-inch alloys.
So what was the thinking behind the £79,995 limited edition XKR-S? We’ll let Jaguar PR boss Raj Mann explain. ‘Jaguar’s vision for this project was to create a high performance sportscar based on the well proven capabilities of the XKR,’ he told Car Dealer. ‘Available as a Coupe only, the Jaguar XKR-S has all the attractions and attributes of the XKR, but it is much more focused on performance – with a special dynamic package, it is capable of reaching 174mph.’
There’s no doubt the XKR-S looks absolutely stunning. The Geneva launch was accompanied by a press mailing in the UK of a hard back book which was of similar quality to its car itself. And the marketing of the car in the UK is equally plush – Mann explained a unique information pack has already been distributed to dealers.
So to the big question – why only 50 in the UK? ‘We wanted to showcase the performance intent of Jaguar sportscars and felt that a limited edition such as the XKR-S was the right way to do this,’ explained the PR boss. ‘Given the unique nature of the product, we felt that 50 in the UK and 200 in total was an appropriate number.’
Mann described demand as ‘strong’ following the launch, but wouldn’t confirm to Car Dealer how many had been ordered. And he ruled out the chance of more than 200 being released even if demand was high. ‘The XKR-S will be built as a limited edition of just 200 for selected European markets,’ said Mann. ‘Germany and the UK are key.’
There’s no doubt the XKR-S is a stunning car. It’s not only beautiful to look at, but chances are it’ll go pretty well too – but despite what the PR boss is telling us we can’t help but think limiting it to just 50 is a mistake. At a time when Jaguar needs to be selling all the cars it can possibly get out the door to keep the bean counters happy, restricting one of the most desirable models it has ever launched could be seen as a backwards step.