Not long after executive editor Chris Paukert drove the Jaguar XKR-S Coupe, I found myself holding the keys to the gorgeous British Racing Green XKR-S Convertible you see here. Mechanically, it's exactly the same as the coupe, save an additional 111 pounds of weight and a slightly less-usable boot. And from behind the wheel, the Convertible's on-road manners don't differ too much from its hardtop kin.
Thanks to a revised chassis setup versus the standard XK convertible, the XKR-S isn't plagued with cowl shake or general wobbliness, though there's a still a bit of safe, predictable understeer dialed in to the suspension geometry. Around back, the big cat will happily swing its butt out around a turn when provoked, even with the traction control nannies in full effect. The XKR-S Convertible takes to the road more like a muscle car than a proper sportster, ditching scalpel-like precise handling for pure stabbing force.
But the XKR-S Convertible's pièce de résistance is best seen – or rather, heard – when you drop the top. Nevermind the brute force of the 510-horsepower supercharged V8 underhood, able to slap the 4,079-pound Jaguar to 60 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds, the most impressive part of the XKR-S formula is the menacing growl that shoots out of what we can only assume are the polished quad exhaust tips of Satan's own vocal cords. During my week with the car, I couldn't resist purposely mashing the throttle as I drove out onto Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, simply so I could hear that heart-fluttering roar bounce off the tall concrete buildings, slamming pedestrians with eight-cylinder aural delight whether they liked it or not.
Thing is, though, you get this same sort of experience in the coupe. And while the hardtop XKR-S doesn't come with the wind-in-your-hair experience, it does everything the droptop can do for a full $6,000 less. The same well-appointed, beautifully trimmed interior is there, complete with two excellent sport chairs up front, completely useless rear buckets that are better suited for packages than people, and the same infuriatingly slow infotainment/navigation system we've grown to, well, deal with. In any case, the XKR-S package is very sweet, but unless you're hellbent on the full open-air experience, just stick with the coupe.