Jaguar Nürburgring Experience: 2012 XKR-S

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It was a chance of a lifetime. One of which comes around only once or twice in an automotive journalist’s entire career. Welcome to the world famous Nürburgring, an absolute work of art built in 1927 by the German government. Think of it as a motorsports amusement park. Special guest Jay Leno was on hand and a neophyte at Nürburgring like myself. So we had a lot to discuss that evening.

“Careful dude, they don’t call it the “Green Hell” for no reason,” is the morning email received from British pal Jay Ward after excitedly explaining how I would give Nürburgring a “proper go.” Of course, this test track is unlike any other I or anyone else has experienced. For one, it’s planted in the middle of a forest — hence the “Green Hell” reference. You don’t want to go flying out into the wilderness from any of the 12.9-mile circuit’s stretches or bends. Yes, I did say 12.9 miles.

Vehicle of choice was Jaguar’s all new, which we had driven for a few hours that morning for familiarization. It gets a 40-horsepower and 41 lb-ft torque boost from the 510 horses and 502 lb-ft of torque in the XKR. Top speed is set at 186 mph and zero to sixty mph can be achieved in 4.2 seconds. Jaguar also lowered the suspension 10 mm, revised the Trac DSC software, added 20” Vulcan wheels and enhanced it with a performance active exhaust with a superlative note and downshift rev matching. The $132,000 super coupe will be offered in four colors including the featured French Racing Blue. I particularly am a fan of the Italian Racing Red. Other differentiations from the XKR include the massive trunk mounted wing, a carbon fiber front splitter and rear diffuser and a palatial interior interspersed with carbon leather seats and interior trim with contrast stitching.

With so much power at our disposal my automotive verve increased tenfold. Again, a 13-mile lap is a long way and requires full attention. We all followed the leader like Boy Scouts in our respective vehicles. We came in for a drink break before switching cars and heading back out. Our instructor let us run a little faster after seeing and appreciating our comfort levels.

It was time to let them fly like Cars’ Lightning McQueen!

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