- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2001

The Silverstone special edition honors Jaguar's presence in international racing and represents the company's new commitment to reestablishing itself as a major player in the luxury vehicle market.

The Silverstone is an offshoot of the already established XKR luxury sports car. But it is substantially different in nearly every area from others in the series of automobiles that began as the XK8. The basic exterior is identical save for the mesh grille and special front-end treatment.

A true enthusiast would be quick to pick up on the additional louvers cut into the XKR's graceful hood an addition that is reminiscent of race cars of decades past. Under that hood sits a potent, yet unobtrusive, V-8 engine. This all-aluminum engine is a project that is all Jaguar's, but what makes this engine so much more potent than others is the Roots supercharger.

A supercharger takes fresh cool ambient air and through a gear type pump, forces air into the engine to combine with gasoline, developing power. Having the air forced into the engine relieves it from having to work hard to pull the air in. That is how this Jaguar produces a formidable 350 horsepower.

Translation: this Jag jumps to a gallop and makes passing slower vehicles a sport. Featuring Jaguar's patented J-gate shifting pattern, the four-speed automatic transmission slips into drive for automatic mode. Or the driver can slip the shifter to the left, enabling him or her to manually select the gear of choice. This system isn't as fast as Porsche's Tiptronic system, but fits well with the persona established for Jaguar automobiles years ago.

Getting a big engine's power solidly to the road is no problem for this Jag. Superwide wheels and tires make sure all that horsepower gets to the business end of the XKR. If the car senses that grip is being lost, the automatic traction control sends power to the wheel with grip. If this fails to assure proper traction, the system applies brakes and reduces engine power instantaneously until grip is restored.

Slide behind the steering wheel and you are aware you have just entered a different world. There is nothing in the world like a Jaguar interior. The combination of fine leather and beautiful wood accents projects a certain attitude that belies the power and performance that this car is capable of.

The XJR convertible offers a one-button one-touch operation. Traveling under 10 miles an hour, the top can be lowered with no fuss and no muss. There are no latches, or handles to pull or release. Push a button and the top folds and hides in its storage area. Run into foul weather and another touch of the switch on the center console and you are covered in a secure passenger compartment.

The XKR Silverstone is an elegant performance-oriented automobile that will coddle your body while exciting your mind and spirit with power and agility that would leave many sports cars green with envy.


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