Jaguar XKR v Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet v Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster | Car group test | evo

21 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Jaguar XKR v Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet v Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster | Car group test | evo
Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Jaguar XKR v Porsche 911 Carrera S v Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Can Jaguar’s new XKR Convertible, Porsche’s 911 S Cabriolet and Aston’s V8 Vantage satisfy like their brothers? And which is the biggest We find out

The Aston is unquestionably the glamorous and desirable

My credit pops out of the machine. I pocket it, out of the toll lane and glance just at the moment the other two emerge, like racehorses their stalls. Perfect.

I hit the too.

All three cars their roofs stowed, our ears to the full effect of engines – the breathy whoosh of the flat-six, the crooning beat of the supercharged V8 and, transcending both, the hard, hammery of the Aston Martin’s naturally V8. But the loudest car is getting gradually as the ad hoc drag race develops. Our race becomes Porsche Jaguar as the French national limit comes up.

And relax.

I’m to chalk that one down to the which I happen to be driving. Green in the Porsche might but over the next couple of the Jaguar’s ability to get gone the the road is straight will us all. We’re hopeful it will prove to be on the money the road gets twisty,

There’s a new sense of purpose the latest generation of Jaguars, the ones powered by the all-new, 5-litre supercharged V8, that you confidence that they can their traditional strengths competing with ostensibly sporting cars. In this that’s the 380bhp Porsche S Cabriolet and the 420bhp Aston V8 Vantage Roadster.

We’ve both from the UK to the outskirts of and collected the XKR from the wonderfully people at Jaguar France. in Blighty it had taken seconds to which car photographer Stuart and I were going to pack his and my bag into, the decision made we popped open the Aston’s

The Porsche may be the smaller car but it’s accommodating, offering boot on a par with the Aston plus rear seats (i.e. luggage space) like the bigger Jaguar. You can either at the Porsche’s packaging or wonder all the space is squandered in the other

Refined this 911 is not, Not only is there a constant of wind noise from the at a motorway pace but there’s a low-pitched boom that conversation tricky. The Aston is attests our third tester, Hayman, but it’s the Jaguar proves the most refined, up or down.

And we feel blessed we are able to get the roofs down driving through rain to get to last night.

After in the 911 and Vantage, the XKR feels like it – huge. You drop down the slim seats of the others but into the Jaguar’s chair, with the push of a button you can the upper body embrace, helps.

We’d prefer a aluminium facia trim to wood, but let your eye wander the and you’ll come to the conclusion you’re in the best quality moreover, the perfectly stitched of the seats and facia is standard it’s a £2245 option on the The Aston is far and away the most of the three, though, and has beautifully hide too. Shame the cheap push- button and column stalks.

Because of its the Jaguar feels the least and almost as soon as you’re you’re aware that a less direct connection driver and car. Partly the torque converter of the six-speed ZF which fuzzes the throttle at low speeds, partly the variable-assistance which offers less than expected as you twirl the The ride is pretty good, but driven the XFR and read David report on the XKR coupe (evo which is said to be just a few per different to the convertible, I was anticipating a more directness.

The Porsche and are much more closely Right from the off the Carrera spot-on, its PASM adaptive (standard on the ‘S’) delivering a but supple ride, its nicely steering clean, direct and of feel, its brakes responsive the top of the pedal but perfectly progressive Quality in the Porsche is more in the of feel than in the fixtures and

We still wouldn’t go for the dual-clutch PDK though. It works well but never fancied an automatic 911 and push-for-up, pull-for-down steering-wheel-mounted continue to annoy us.

A reminder of you’re missing is provided by the V8 which comes with a tactile, finely weighted and positive manual gearbox. The Graziano six-speeder is a beautiful a fraction heftier in its action the Porsche manual six-speeder but no though the clutch action, over that of the early retains a curiously numb point. The Aston’s steering is a bit than the Porsche’s and this its general feel, while its for the most part is taut and but just occasionally caught out by transverse ridges.

The sun may be a bit watery but good enough for us, so all three are stowed. Not for our trio the weight and penalties of the now-popular folding Instead they have hoods with small rear screens that away under body-colour Well, mostly. The Aston’s under an attractive double-bubble the Jag’s beneath a flush-fitting but the Porsche leaves a band of on display.

Probably saves a of kilos, and it all helps: even the 911 is mostly steel while the pair are aluminium, it’s by far the At 1510kg it’s 200kg than the V8 Vantage, and almost lighter than the 1800kg

Being the biggest and roomiest, you the Jaguar will be the draughtiest on the Not so. All three come with mesh guards that into place behind the and which very effectively the back-draught that can be so irksome and

The XK is the best of all, just a managed, gentle ruffling of barnet at 80mph while heated by the seats from and bathed in warm air from the in front.

Our destination is the Normandy and once we’re off the autoroute and in on it, there are a few corners to get stuck and roundabouts to be despatched. There’s no that the XKR has got the newly developed limited-slip diff. The new 5-litre V8 – sounding than the old engine less supercharger whine – an astonishing hit from low revs, yet the tyres have little laying this on the road.

Drive is not something the rear-engined lacks either, and with its low and keen-edged 380bhp (that’s more than the 996 GT3 of just years ago!) it virtually the Jag yard for yard. In the dry the Aston strong drive too, its 4.7-litre V8 doesn’t deliver the punch of the other engines, getting properly, irresistibly its stride once the exhaust has opened and the tacho needle is for 5000rpm.

And then we get a glimpse of the all blue and spangly, and we slip into loafing mode, to take in the view, listen to the and anticipate the first whiff of Finding a beach you can drive to on this bit of coastline is tricky, but done our homework on Google and are soon wending our way to the surf.

If you proof that the south of England was once connected to the coast of France, it’s by the millions of tons – 100ft-high cliffs, miles of them, match those at Dover. how come the water’s blue on side but brown on our side?’ Dover resident Hayman.

As clicks away we get to muse on the of our trio. Outgunned by the others it may be, but the is no slouch and it’s undoubtedly the handsome of the three, the chop to have accentuated its squat, shape. It certainly draws the attention, though the fact it’s an Aston, it’s neon blue and it sounds an unsilenced race car above does help.

Porsche the colour of this Carrera S as which sounds like education in Scotland but is, apparently, a of nut. However you dress it up metallic brown and it does the 911 few Colour isn’t the only though.

The soft-top 911 suffers in two ways, the being that it looks like a £30K Boxster as it towards you, the second it looks clumsy and fat-arsed as it by. The Jaguar hasn’t emerged decapitation with its looks either; the XK looks quite without the rakish coupe to tie it all together. But you can bet that all three designed as convertibles from the as parallel models to the coupes.

all weigh 50-90kg more their hard-top equivalents and commendably solid, with rear-view mirror shake.

up the coast from our beach we a challenging stretch of road handily for us, is closed by road at one end and so has little traffic on it. Snapper sets up on one of its corners while we backwards and forwards for the camera, in the XKR and me in the Carrera. Hayman is parked up the in the Aston – it’s so loud we elect to run it last just in there are tucked-away households might be upset by its penetrating

It seems that Roger’s are on fire – as soon as we’re the rear of the Jag dips, there’s a insistent roar from its of tailpipes and its chunky rump is There are a couple of straights being quite narrow, road is more suited to the 911 the XK. There’s one particularly interesting and corner sequence that define the dynamic character of car.

Going slightly it’s a clear-sighted, near-180-degree that gradually opens out and up to a long, very- late-apex

I have to work the 911’s flat-six really hard to with the XKR and it’s quite an especially when Rog is downshifting the tight corners and there’s a whip-crack of backfire. Any ground the loses on the straight is regained braking and turn-in, but it’s the turn that reveals clearly what the Porsche has in

You expect sensational rear and traction from a 911 but what you appreciate initially is just how the front-end grip of the Carrera S is. most of the car’s mass at the you’d think the lightly front would push understeer, yet it doesn’t. I discover when I turn PSM off to see if the rear budge heading uphill. I in, power on, then give the a big squeeze as I steer a bit harder for the apex.

It’s high-torque second-gear yet the front tyres hold on as if there’s a Scalextric peg in the middle of the axle picking up on an invisible From entry to exit the can gain three car-lengths on the and when I swap seats Rog, I can see why.

There isn’t the bite on turn-in, the body control and tenacity of This is the most focused Jag for yet straight after the Porsche you a little more remote the action and less able to the same degree of precision you make inputs. Twisting the gear selector from to Sport helps sharpen up the but the Jag’s lighter steering a shade too sharp and the brakes are a grabby too.

To smooth out you need to concentrate on making sensitive inputs. The exception is the which you can simply stamp on, so is the traction. It’s still if you switch off DSC entirely, though you to be more aware of what asking the rear tyres to do – slides is as much about as reading what the car is telling you the rear can step out quickly.

The is more 911-like in its demeanour, positive lines of communication the steering and suspension. It’s planted and precise, the chassis the unevenness out of the road as effectively as the The Vantage’s poise and directness are and held supportively by the sculpted seat, you feel well to explore the car’s handling.

Its is very good, though not as fine as the 911’s, being a heavier and less bright in its while grip is good and solid. Ultimately it doesn’t quite the unshakeable poise of the its damping occasionally feeling a soft at the end of a long, high-G but it’s a satisfying car whose feel well matched to its Shame it’s engine is so that everyone knows you’re on it.

On more open, cross-country the Jaguar can set a blistering pace, but the things get tighter and more it feels out of its comfort zone While the Aston and Porsche get in, the Jaguar becomes less and less easy to place a trait most obvious firm braking when the car seems to squirm slightly.

No the XKR is a great convertible, refined the hood up or down, very built and a great stress-free It’s also astonishingly, fast on open, flowing In other words, a true However, it remains a GT rather a sports car, feeling like a successor to the fine SL55 AMG than a direct for the Aston and Porsche.

The XKR occupies the where GT and sports car overlap, but rivals are entrenched well sports car territory.

It’s the that takes the fight to the Compared with the 911, the Roadster is significantly less much thirstier and a bit slower And you know what?

None of matters because it’s more glamorous and more

The 911 Cabriolet is remarkable in that no less practical than the and drives just as brilliantly. And it this with a surprisingly ride, too. We definitely order one in nut brown, though colour it’s painted, the is the ugliest 911.

There’s inescapable fact: it’s the drivers’ car here. The Aston is and able, but its polish isn’t as It gets close in the dry, but we that it’s a bit of a handful in the even with stability on.

So if it’s the most rewarding you’re after, the 911 is where at. You may find, however, that your life is enriched by the Aston.

For an alternative review of the Jaguar XKR visit our sister carbuyer.co.uk

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