Porsche Pace British Grace

Hefty V8 surge, beautiful looks and thinning numbers all mean that now's the time to get your claws into the Jaguar XKR

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he Jaguar XKR is a perfect modern classic from the maker of ready-made classics. This big cat is fast, has charismatic looks and sounds sensational, with 370-plus supercharged horses at your command. It’s a sure-fire clever money car, and one that before too long will emerge from the sub-£10,000 shadows and take its place at the big boy’s table alongside its high-profile contemporaries such as the BMW M3 and Porsche 911.

It has it on styling alone. Take a long, lingering look at Martin Lowe’s fabulous-looking Phoenix Red XKR – drink in those sensuous curves, and enjoy the way its 18in alloys fill its shapely arches to give it a perfect, raffish stance. Gaze at its power bulges, air intakes and fat exhausts and you’ll understand just why more than 20 years on from its launch, an XKR still seduces.

It will also happily show a clean pair of heels to pretty much anything on the road, while leaving its driver unruffled. Not bad for a car designed to follow on, and emerge from, that darling of superannuated middle-aged men everywhere – the E-type. Read on and find out exactly why we’re backing the XKR as a great car to enjoy – and one that'll pay you back financially in years to come.

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It’s the moment you twist the XKR’s ignition key, the 4.0-litre V8 bursting into life with a deep-chested roar, that you just know. It's the knowledge that this is a car designed for drivers – petrolheads like you. Knowing is rammed into the background by unadulterated desire when you blip the throttle. You’ll be lusting after limitless open roads and all the possibilities they promise, even before you’ve turned a wheel. But hold your horses, and let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here. Rewind to 1999, when Martin Lowe’s example rolled off the line in Coventry. Despite its olde worlde wooden dashboard and styling that harked back to the E-type, this was a car that bristled with technology. And all intended to make the drive all the more thrilling…