The Jaguar XKR is a grand tourer car that was launched by Jaguar Cars in 1998. The XKR started its life as the Jaguar XK8 (project code X100), which was launched in 1996 as the first generation of a new XK series. The XK8 was available in coupé or convertible body styles and with the new 4.0 litre Jaguar AJ-V8 engine. In 1998 the XKR was introduced with a supercharged version of the engine. From 2003 the engines were replaced by the 4.2 litre AJ34 engines in both the normally aspirated and supercharged versions.
The car was featured extensively in 2002's Die Another Day as the lead henchman, Zao's vehicle. The vehicle was similar in almost every way to a Q Branch equipped automobile. The XKR's gadgetry includes a gatling gun, thermal imaging capabilities, mortar bombs, rockets under the front grille, miniature missiles hidden in the door, and front ramming spikes.
Both the XK8 and XKR are electronically limited to a maximum of 155.4 miles per hour (250.1 km/h). The XK8 heralded a change in direction for the company, resulting in the S-Type and X-Type. The XK8 came standard with 17" alloy wheels, while 18" (Standard on the XKR), 19", and 20" wheels are available for additional cost. A navigation system and self-leveling xenon headlamps come standard with the XKR and as options for the XK8. Jaguar's Adaptive Cruise Control is an optional feature available on both models. Both come with all-leather interior, burl walnut trim, and side airbags. Jeremy Clarkson, during a Top Gear (a UK motoring magazine/TV show) test-drive, likened the interior of the original XK8 to sitting inside Blenheim Palace. In 2004 the grille design of the XKR was refreshed.
Initially the ZF 5HP24 5-speed automatic transmission was coupled to the conventionally aspirated 4.0L and a Mercedes W5A580 5-speed transmission to the Supercharged version, but in 2002 the new ZF 6HP26 6-speed automatic transmission was fitted in both versions of the 4.2L.
Zao's Jaguar XKR
For the 20th EON James Bond film, Die Another Day, the Jaguar XKR was featured prominently as the vehicle of choice for the bejeweled henchman, Zao. As Bond attempts to escape from the villain's Ice Palace in his Aston Martin Vanquish, Zao sets off in pursuit and an epic chase sequence commences. The vehicle proved more than a match for Bond's gadget-loaded car, heavily modified as it was with a gatling gun mounted centrally behind the seats, a rear mortar launcher in the boot and missile launchers concealed behind the front grilles and door panels.
No less than eight XKRs were used for filming, all of which were formerly Jaguar Cars engineering development fleet vehicles that were converted by Jaguar’s own Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) in conjunction with Pinewood Studios’ in-house special effects team. All eight cars were painted the same green as Jaguar’s Formula 3 racing team with Dorchester grey body kits, an R-performance option interior with Recaro bucket seats, 20-inch silver Detroit-style road wheels and Brembo brakes.
Half of the XKRs were standard two-wheel drive XKRs (some supercharged, some normally aspirated XK8s) with cosmetic modifications. When filming moved to Iceland for the dramatic car chase on ice, however, the remaining four XKRs were built on a completely bespoke four-wheel drive chassis: an XKR bodyshell was fitted to a shortened Ford Explorer 4x4 chassis. One such vehicle, dubbed "Special Effects Car 1 (SFX1)", was modified with a Ford Mustang 302 cu. in. V-8 engine, modified Ford Explorer front suspension unit, subtly flared rear wheel arches, unique offset Detroit 20-inch road wheels and highly modified front under-bonnet body structure.
|M134 Minigun — Mounted centrally behind the driver and passenger seats, the M134 Minigun is concealed beneath a metal plate. When activated, the plate is ejected and the weapon rises to level just above the front windshield.|
|Front rocket launcher — Concealed behind the front radiator grille is a front-firing rocket launcher. It comes armed with eighteen miniature rockets.|
|Side missile launchers — Concealed within the door panels are two side-mounted, front-firing missile launchers. Each launcher comes armed with three rockets each; making a total of six.|
|Mortar launcher — Concealed in the boot - or trunk - of the vehicle is a rear-firing mortar launcher. According to the car's readout, the launcher comes equipped with nine high explosive mortar rounds, although only five are visible in the boot.|
|Rams — Emerging from behind the XKR's front grille are two reinforced ramming spikes.|
|Reinforced chassis — Like Bond's Aston Martin Vanquish, the XKR's chassis has been reinforced to withstand impact damage from most firearms.|
|Thermal imaging — Embedded in the center console is an LCD display which shows output from the XKR's thermal imaging sensors. The display is flanked on either side by various switches for activating the car's onboard weaponry.|
- The sequence of side-mounted rocket firing was reversed. In the original clip the rocket shot from left to right.
- The car's side-mounted rockets are marked "RKT 66mm HEAT L1A2B1". The markings in fact correspond to the M72 LAW rocket launcher; not any real-world projectile.