Jaguar XKR-S GT shown in New York

* Jaguar XKR-S GT shown in New York * Most hardcore version yet of XK * Launched for US, but UK sales possible...

Jaguar XKR-S GT shown in New York

This is the Jaguar XKR-S GT, a hardcore, track-focused edition of the company's coupe that is being offered in tiny numbers to buyers in America and Canada but which could also make it to Europe.

The XKR-S GT is powered by Jaguar's 543bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine, which is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. The GT model shaves 0.3 seconds off the regular XKR-S's 0-62mph dash, reducing it to just 3.9 seconds.

The car produced by Jaguar's ETO division (Engineered to Order) gets extensive bodywork modifications in a bid to improve downforce at track speeds. There's an enormous rear wing, plus a different front splitter, specially shaped bonnet louvres and carbonfibre 'vanes' at either side of the front bumper.

Jaguar claims the result of these changes is 145kg of downforce at the XKR-S GT's maximum speed an electronically limited 186mph. Privately, officials acknowledge that the car could exceed 200mph, but the extra work and expense required by a higher top speed over the regular XKR-S couldn't be justified, given the GT's limited sales potential.

The chassis changes include bespoke Eibach shock absorbers which allow the car's ride height to be adjusted Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes and a front track that's been widened by 52mm. The car sits on lightweight 20-inch alloys, with 255/35 (front) and 305/30 (rear) tyres.

Despite the XKR-S GT's launch strategy of just 30 examples (25 in the US and five in Canada), Jaguar officials admit that the car could be sold in Europe, including the UK. 'If demand is there then this car could make it to Germany or the UK,' said Peter Simkin, director of the ETO division. 'There's no reason why it couldn't be made in right-hand drive.'

Even if the XKR-S GT does make it to the UK, it's not likely to be cheap. US customers will pay around $170,000, so a British-spec model would probably cost in excess of 130,000.

Read the full Jaguar XK review >>

By John McIlroy