2014 Jaguar XK Dynamic R X150
A decade since the end of XK production was announced, we revisit the model’s swansong, the XK Dynamic R.
WORDS PAUL WAGER
PHOTOGRAPHY GREG EVANS
Rediscovering the Dynamic R, the swansong for the XK which represented its ultimate evolution.
“It’s been everything I want in a car,” mulls a reflective David Hollander as he considers the nine years he’s spent with his XK. That might be an unexpected verdict when it relates to a 510bhp, petrol-powered two-door coupe rather than a practical multi-purpose tool like a VW Transporter, but when you consider the use he’s made of the Jaguar it makes perfect sense.
A regional coordinator in the South East for the XK Car Club, you might expect David’s automotive back catalogue to be a string of Jaguars, but that’s not the case; the XKR you see here is his first foray into Jaguar ownership and replaced of all things a Mercedes-Benz SLK.
To be fair to the SLK, it’s always been a favourite among staffers on our other magazines here at Kelsey, but one thing it lacks is much interior or luggage space and with David having planned some lengthy post-retirement trips, an upgrade to something a touch bigger was required. But what? Even back in 2014, the options were starting to thin out and alternative candidates made up a pretty short list: Aston Martin, Mercedes GT, plus Porsche of course or maybe the Audi R8.
The decider was a Jaguar customer day held at Dunsfold, location of the Top Gear track where David had the opportunity to compare the then-new F-Type with the outgoing XK, for which the end of production had already been announced. “The F-Type was a stunning car,” he admits, but anyone who has lived with one will realise there’s precious little space in the cabin or the boot. On the practicality front “it didn’t offer anything more than the SLK,” he remembers and it was at this point that the XK started to move to the front of the queue. “It must have been about the fourth time we’d been back to the Jaguar dealer, he laughs. “In the end my wife just said ‘why don’t you just buy one?’”
As luck would have it, said dealer already had an XK on order and as a useful bonus it had been specified in the Italian Racing Red which had already caught David’s eye. More importantly, it was also to Dynamic R spec and the sales staff had ticked pretty much every option including the heated steering wheel. In short order a deal was done which saw David buying the car for rather less than the cost of all the options, while the Dynamic R spec (see our side panel) in itself also represented a value-packed special edition offering. Shortly after it arrived, the XK was off for a tour of South Wales to Snowdonia and the Llandberis Pass, later joining the 2015 Jaguar World London to Brighton run and then a jaunt to Land’s End. In 2016, a Jaguar tour took it to the Alsace region, after which David pointed it East via the Col du Grand Ballon Pass, through Germany to Dresden and on to an ultimate destination lying beyond Berlin and into Poland thanks to family connections.
Needless to say, the V8 coupe made light work of crossing the whole of Germany and indeed the entire three-week trip. The following summer saw the XK nosing its way on to another ferry, this time a 2017 trip to Northern Ireland and across the border into the Republic, while no sooner had the flies been scrubbed off and it was off again on a trip to Northern Spain, taking in the scenic Picos de Europa and San Glorio Pass.
The following year’s adventure was closer to home, taking in the popular NC500 route in Scotland in convoy with another six cars. 2019 started out gently with the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains, but later in the year the XK took in France, Lichtenstein, Germany, Austria, Italy, Tuscany, the Black Forest High Road and St Gotthard Pass. It would later see the Swiss mountains and lakes as well as the Furka and Gremsil Passes. For obvious reasons, the 2020 and 2021 outings were limited to the UK, with tours of the Lake District and the north. At which point, having realised that the XK had been to the most northerly, southerly and western points of the UK, David realised a trip to Lincolnshire was in order to complete the compass, specifically Ness Point.
When things returned to something like normal the XK was once again loping through the French countryside, last year’s European travel taking in northern France including the Circuit des Remparts.
When we spoke to David as this issue went to press, the car had just returned from an extensive tour taking it from St Malo to Pamplona and back again, the sort of journey which sees the longlegged GT in its element and explains why although the car has only covered 34,000 miles, some 30,000 of that has been on the other side of the Channel. “Set the cruise to 80 on the toll motorways and it wafts along at 2000rpm… almost like driving an electric car,” David points out. Which of course is just what you want when you’re crossing entire continents, but the Dynamic R offers another, entirely different character which is just a button press away. David has taken the car on a few track days and had great fun with the XK, which offers most of the capability of the XKR-S but with the ability to tone it down when required.
All of which explains that opening comment – and explains why David’s red Dynamic R s very much a keeper. As the writing appears ever larger on the wall for powerful internal combustion-engined cars, the choice of suitable replacements appears even smaller than it was back in 2014. The Bentley Continental GT is one which springs to mind, but the chunky VW makes even the XK look small and elegant, while the Aston Martin DB11 is probably the only other close rival. Luckily then, the Jaguar has been an exceptionally reliable companion, with David reporting the main expenditure outside regular maintenance has been on tyres. And when you consider that the market still values a desirable late-model XK like this at something like 50% of its original value even after nine years, that’s pretty good going.
The choice of suitable replacements appears even smaller than it was back in 2014.
BOX OUT HEADER
Production of the X150 generation of XK ended in July 2014, but earlier in the year two run-out special editions were announced: the luxury-focused Signature and the performance-orientated Dynamic R.
Powered by the 5-litre V8 in 385PS normally-aspirated trim driving through a mechanical differential, the Signature came on 20-inch Kalimnos rims as standard or the optional 20-inch Takoba style and featured the Luxury soft grain leather interior in either Charcoal or Ivory, together with canvas suedecloth headliner, Ebony veneers and sports pedals. The Dynamic R was, as the name suggests, based on the supercharged 510PS XKR, featuring the torque vectoring active differential and featured rather more special features including the Black Dynamic Pack which essentially borrowed the suspension from the XKR-S complete with a 10mm lower ride height, stiffer steering knuckle, revised spring and damper calibration and the Active Dynamics system which controls body pitch, roll and vertical movement. On the outside, the 20-inch diamond turned Vortex wheels were standard, with 20-inch gloss black Vulcan rims an option, while the standard-fit Speed Pack provided front splitter and rear spoiler, colour-coded rear valance and sill extensions as well as removal of the 155mph limiter to let the car top out at 174mph, all accompanied by the soundtrack of the Performance Active Exhaust.
On the inside, the Dynamic R received the heated 16-way adjustable Performance seats, complete with diamond-sewn pattern in either Ivory/Charcoal or Charcoal/red leather, while the black Suedecloth headlining was complemented by piano black veneers and the metal sports pedal were standard fit. Both special edition models were available in Polaris White, Ultimate Black, Stratus Grey, Italian Racing Red, Dark Sapphire and British Racing Green.
Retailing at £29,950 in 2014, the Dynamic R represented a unique package of options, yet today you'll find plenty of cars advertised as the Dynamic model which are in fact just the regular XKR with the Speed Pack option. It pays to check for the other details and one other way to tell is that a genuine Dynamic R won't have any chrome on the outside. The V5 should also state Dynamic R.
The Dynamic R represented a unique package of options. Aquiduciam ea sint.
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Tinted rear glass was added for increased protection from the Mediterranean sun.
The V8 coupe made light work of crossing the whole of Germany.
High spec includes the optional heated wheel.Colour-coded original bonnet vents were changed to black.