First drive: 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR in Spain

First drive: 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR in Spain

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

Jaguar first rolled out the svelte F-Type roadster in mid-2013, and since then the leaping cat has steadily bolstered the line-up, adding a coupe derivative, all-wheel-drive versions and extra powertrain choices -– all in keeping with the company’s objective to offer an “F-Type for all tastes” (or, to put it another way, maximise the company’s return on investment in developing and building the car). The latest addition to the range is the hardcore F-Type SVR — allegedly lighter, faster and more agile than the F-Type R.

The resolute push upmarket is reflected by pricing that puts these cars in the firing line of established offerings such as the Porsche 911 Turbo and new Audi R8 V10. We had the opportunity to find out how the SVR stacks up at the international launch in Barcelona, Spain.

The SVR makeover begins in the engine department, with the supercharged 5.0-litre V8’s outputs being bumped up to 575 hp and 700 Nm via upgrades that include a highly vocal titanium exhaust system that opens up beyond 2500 rpm, unleashing an angry, guttural roar from the blown V8 when you stand on the gas.

2017 jaguar f-type svr 2

The SVR coupe can dispatch the 0-100 kph sprint in a claimed 3.7 seconds and hit 322 kph flat out. Out in the real-world, the Jaguar feels quick alright, although lacking the sledgehammer punch that the Porsche 911 Turbo delivers when you pin the throttle.

The SVR isn’t just an engine-tweaking job though, as it also scores an enhanced aero package comprising a bespoke front bumper and splitter, flat underfloor, rear diffuser and active carbon-fibre rear wing -– and all of these are designed to reduce lift and drag.

There’s also an uprated chassis featuring new dampers and anti-roll bars, chunkier rubber wrapped around lightweight 20-inch forged wheels and optional carbon-ceramic brakes. Other optional weight-saving measures include a carbon-fibre roof panel and other bits.

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR 3

Inside, there’s an updated steering wheel with aluminium shift paddles and sculpted sports seats with a quilted leather finish. The dashboard features contrast stitching, and the seats are unique to the SVR model.

Our route at the launch initially takes in a section of freeway, where we discover the SVR’s ability to effortlessly cruise at 200 kph-plus.

Once onto the twisty backroads, it’s the compliance of the chassis that comes through, as the majority of road-surface irregularities are firmly dealt with. The SVR also exhibits sharp turn-in, good mid-corner balance and excellent traction, even in wet conditions. Although purists may not like the fact the SVR comes only in all-wheel-drive format, it’s worth noting that the torque-on-demand system is heavily rear-biased, only sending a percentage of drive to the front wheels when traction at the rear is overwhelmed by the car’s massive torque.

The recalibrated 8-speed auto is reasonably quick and responsive, but it’s not quite in the same league as the seamless dual-clutch transmissions you’ll find in the R8 and 911 Turbo.

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR 2

Overall, the Jag strikes a good balance between refinement and pace, and even the 10 hard laps at the challenging Motorland circuit (where it comes close to clocking 300 kph on the back straight) doesn’t make it feel out of its depth.

Criticisms? The most striking shortfall for me is that the SVR doesn’t offer enough visual differentiation from lesser F-Types, even with its garish ironing-board rear wing. We’re guessing most buyers splashing out that much money will want all and sundry to know they’ve snared the angriest cat of all, but the SVR certainly doesn’t make that obvious.

The interior, too, looks and feels too much like the cabins of its cheaper siblings considering the money demanded for the SVR.

If you can overlook these shortcomings, the new F-Type range-topper stands up as a rapid, capable and comfortable sports GT. The Jag is a worthy alternative to the R8 and 911 Turbo, although it’s not likely to fare as well as the Germans when resale time comes around.

For UAE prices and GCC specs, visit the Jaguar buyer guide.

Photos by Jaguar.

What do you think?


Browse archives

Share This