Top speed is somewhat pointlessly increased to 174mph, but it's still a fantastic car

What is it?

A curious edition of the Jaguar XKR, which has a 174mph top speed rather than the electronically limited 155mph of the regular car.

The Speed Pack comprises no more power than the standard car’s 503bhp, but the engine and transmission are recalibrated to allow the higher top speed (still electronically limited, incidentally). To increase high speed stability a new front splitter and a larger rear spoiler, both reducing lift, are fitted, while the steering’s sensitivity at very high speeds is reduced to make the XKR happier in a straight-line too.

Speed Pack cars can be had in seven colours, on different 20-inch alloys to the standard car, while there are also a couple of other very minor exterior changes. It adds £3500 to the price.

Jaguar has also just introduced a Black Pack, a bunch of interior and exterior styling changes that make the XKR look more aggressive. You have to add the Speed Pack first, bringing the total to £4000.

See test pics of the Jaguar XKR Speed Pack

What’s it like?

Pretty much like a regular XKR, to be honest. I strongly suspect you’d have to try a pair back-to-back at very high speeds to discern any notable difference between the two. Certainly, at any speed you can reach in the UK, the Speed Pack just behaves in the same manner as regular XKRs.

Not that that is a bad thing, you understand. We’ve long thought the XK is a terrific car and, although some say the naturally-aspirated V8 is the best handler of the lot (‘tis true), there’s something to be said for the appeal of the supercharged XKR’s extra thump.

It’s a cracking engine, and the six-speed torque-converter auto’ it drives the rear wheels through is tightly controlled. So it’s a peachy drivetrain but, even so, it’s hard to imagine too many people feel it’s one that’s overly restrained by ‘only’ being allowed to reach 155mph. You’d trouble that limiter on very few racetracks (Silverstone’s Hangar Straight, perhaps) and even on very few sections of German autobahn these days.

It’s as-you-were for the ride and handling; the XKR is one of the most capable and comfortable grand tourers around, with a fine ride/handling balance. The Speed Pack is coupe only, by the way.

Should I buy one?

Frankly, it’s hard to see very many people exploiting the objective improvements that the Speed Pack brings over the standard XKR. I suppose there might be the odd person who wants to shave a few seconds of their commute from Hannover to Berlin, but it would be entirely academic for most drivers. Nonetheless, with or without the Speed or Black Pack, the XKR is a lovely car.

Jaguar XKR Speed Pack

Price: £78,445 (£78,955 with Black Pack); Top speed: 174mph (limited); 0-60mph: 4.6sec; Economy: 23mpg; CO2: 292g/km; Engine type: V8, supercharged, petrol, 5000cc; Power: 503bhp at 6000-6500rpm; Torque: 461lb ft at 2500-5500rpm; Gearbox: 6spd automatic

See all the latest Jaguar reviews, news and video

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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Add a comment…
Aly1000 3 September 2010

Re: Jaguar XKR Speed Pack

beachland2 wrote:
a car doesn't even need a speedo at all to be legal i believe. they are not tested in the MOT anyway.

So we should do without on fast cars Speedos? "Sorry officer I dont know what spped I was was doing beacuse.........

Aly1000 24 August 2010

Re: Jaguar XKR Speed Pack

Maybe the real reason that the XKR Speed is not completley de-restricted is that the Speedo only goes to 180MPH. Maybe if it gets a face-lift in the future they will put the virtual dials from the XJ in the XKR & we'll see what it can max out at?

Under Fords umberella there couldnt be a Jaguar better than an Aston but now that is not tha case.......

moe360 7 August 2010

Re: Jaguar XKR Speed Pack

Vanquish wrote:

Not me Pete my wife would kill me...although she is three years older than me :o)

Right then I'm done on this thread time to move on. Have a good day fellas....