2012 Jaguar XKR-S
According to Jaguar, the XKR-S is the fastest production car they’ve ever produced. Well, we couldn’t let a claim like that go by without seeing for ourselves. So, we headed to the place we know best to figure out such things out, Georgia’s Roebling Road Raceway, to find out if this cat is indeed their quickest yet!
Well, before we find out if this 2012 Jaguar XKR-S is indeed the fastest production Jaguar yet, let’s get to know it a little better.
Based on the sleek Jaguar XKR coupe, the XKR-S takes on a more sinister look thanks to a healthy dose of performance enhancing treatments like carbon-fiber front splitter, blacked-out mesh grille, and both engine, and tall-slit-like brake cooling ducts that really visually widen the car. In profile, things take a turn to the dark side as well, with black window surrounds, fender vents, and beefy 20-inch wheels. Red brake calipers help avoid a total blackout. Out back, there’s a huge rear wing and below, a carbon-fiber rear diffuser wraps around two sets of dual exhaust tips from a Performance Active Exhaust System that really lets this cat purr.
So, as great as Ian Callum’s original design was, we like it even more after this trip through “nasty” school. Okay enough of that, off to the track, or tracks, we go.
First stop is our hometown 75-80 Dragway for ¼-mile testing, where unfortunately, cold winter temperatures or maybe it was just the 550-horsepower, made launching a bit tricky. Eventually, we nailed a good one, and scorched to 60 in just 4.3–seconds. Streaking through the ¼ mile, this thing sounds absolutely awesome and unlike any Jag we’ve ever driven. It still feels like a Jaguar though, as the engine itself is smooth and quiet for the entire 12.6–seconds that it takes to reach the end of the strip at 118 miles-per-hour. Both acceleration times are a second quicker than the last XKR that we tested in 2007.
Those quicker runs come courtesy of the 5-liter V8 engine under the hood wearing a Roots-type supercharger. It’s the same all-aluminum AJ-V8 you’ll find in the XKR, but it puts out 40-additional horsepower and 41-more pound feet of torque thanks to revised fuel mapping, making the new totals 550-horsepower and 502 pound feet.
After a comfortable and speedy 9-hour drive down I-95 we arrived at our next venue, Roebling Road Raceway, near Savannah, Georgia, where warmer temperatures weren’t the only thing that put smiles on our faces. Handling Roebling’s high speed turns? Oh yeah, this Jag’s got an app for that. The XKR’S aluminum chassis was already capable, but the XKR-S’ lowered suspension and new dampers take it to a whole new level.
Jaguar’s Adaptive Dynamics and DSC software get a sportier re-flash and there’s a new Active Differential Control. All of it helps to really put the power down out of corners. Steering feel, especially in Dynamic Mode, is about as good as it gets. You do feel the size of this car at times, mainly in tighter turns where the front tires take some abuse, but otherwise it’s one agile cat. Paddle shifters for the 6-speed automatic work well, but not well enough to forget that it’s a slush-box you’re manipulating and not a sequential manual.
One thing that hasn’t been altered is the XK’s split personality. You can flog this beast around the track all day long, and then impress your significant other with a comfortable ride and posh interior that evening. And speaking of interior, the XKR-S’ does take a sportier turn, but not at the price of sacrificing luxury. There’s still leather everywhere, but now it’s accompanied by unique color stitching and aluminum trim.
While technically not a limited edition vehicle, Jag expects to sell fewer than 100 XKR-S’s at a rarified price of $132,875; and there’s a convertible version arriving soon, as well.
So, the 2012 Jaguar XKR-S is indeed the fastest production Jaguar ever, and incredibly enough, it accomplished this without losing any “Jag-ness” along the way.
- Engine: 5-liter V8
- Horsepower: 550
- Torque: 502 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 4.3 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 12.6 seconds @ 118 mph
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined