Downside: The XKR's automatic convertible roof is inferior to that of less costly rivals. The car has an obsolete, uncomfortable, floor-mounted and hand-operated service-brake lever on the driver's side. Gas mileage is lousy, and the rear seats are a bad joke.
Upside: The XKR has an exquisitely beautiful, well-crafted body, a splendid V-8 engine and an excellent suspension system (fully independent with stabilizer bars front and rear, computer-adjustable for harder "sport" ride or more comfortable "normal" ride). Kudos also to the large Brembo power-disc brakes front and rear. The car stops with authority.
Ride, acceleration and handling: Triple aces. No complaints. Yes, folks, the XKR can get down and boogie!
Head-turning quotient: Imagine Halle Berry, Salma Hayek and Jennifer Lopez entering a room at the same time. If you are a woman, imagine something else. Point is, the XKR gets and holds attention.
Engine/transmission: The XKR's 4.2-liter, supercharged V-8 engine develops 390 horsepower at 6,100 revolutions per minute and 399 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm.
Body style/layout: The XKR is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, two-door cloth-top convertible with two real seats up front and two phony seats in the back.
Capacities: The XKR has seating for two people. Cargo capacity is generous by convertible standards -- 10.8 cubic feet. Fuel capacity is 19.9 gallons of required premium unleaded gasoline.
Mileage: The Environmental Protection Agency says the XKR gets 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 miles per gallon on the highway, or an average of 19.5 miles per gallon city-highway. I barely got 19 miles per gallon in mostly highway driving. Fuel economy decreases as speed increases.
Safety: Standard side air bags, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control and electronic brake force distribution.
Price: Base price on the test car is $86,330. Estimated dealer invoice price is $84,000 on base model. Price as tested is $96,695, including $8,700 in options, a $1,000 gas-guzzler tax and a $665 destination charge.
Purse-strings note: The XKR is a limited-edition toy. The dealer invoice price is irrelevant because dealers are pricing according to perceived demand. Bargaining room, at this writing, is relatively narrow.