2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe
The F Type gets seriously feral; we like the results
Words by: Adam Allen
Well, it certainly looks OK.
Slathered in Ultra Blue paint and festooned with carbon fibre bits and a huge spoiler that means business, looking “OK” is kind of an understatement. This car gets all kinds of looks from all sorts of people, gearheads or not. One evening while enjoying dinner on a patio with the SVR parked close by, we watched with amusement as people who walked by slowed their pace to check it out- even those engrossed in their smartphones took a few moments to look up and take it all in. This Jag has an undeniable magnetism.
It’s been said that this car is LOUD. What hyperbole will you use to describe the sound coming out of the quad exhaust tips?
By now it’s well established that all F-Types are not afraid to speak up, especially when the sport exhaust button is pushed for maximum decibel generation. Our SVR tester stretches that philosophy to its maximum, helped by a revised exhaust made of titanium and exotic Inconel that helps saves weight as well as amplify the already malevolent acoustics. When you select Dynamic mode (essentially the sportiest drive setting) in conjunction with the exhaust set to maximum attack, the SVR is a seething, spitting cauldron of rage. After executing a pass on a two-lane road under what we might describe as using a generous helping of throttle, the unsuspecting minivan full of people eventually caught up with us at the next traffic light, mouths agape and eyes as big as saucers. Seriously, outside a racetrack you won’t hear anything like this on the road, end of story. It will obediently do the docile thing if you ask it to relax, but even in the most tranquil setting this Jag does not walk softly and still carries a big stick.
Roger that. But the F-Type SVR is so much more than a sound machine, isn’t it?
This is the most powerful Jaguar ever built, so those expecting face melting performance will not be disappointed. Our Coupe (there’s a convertible version offered as well) is said to achieve speeds a smidge over the 320 km/h barrier which is quite impressive on its own. What never failed to elicit giggles and expletives alike is the way this car piles on the speed. It doesn’t matter the situation, what gear your in, or what the weather conditions happen to be at the time- put your foot down and this kitty just. GOES. Usually with engines that employ a turbo or supercharger as our Jag did, there’s a few moments while the engine builds boost and then you’re off, but not with the F-Type; throttle response is startlingly responsive. When you need to bleed off all the momentum you’ve built from the ferocious V8, massive carbon ceramic brakes haul you down drama free every time. Check out the images in the gallery- this is real weapons grade hardware at work, folks. The banana yellow calipers the size of a person’s forearm chomping down on discs that could double as manhole covers attract quite a bit of attention in their own right. They are adept destroyers of kinetic energy and are simply immune to fading. And despite being somewhat on the heavy side, the Jag knows how to bust a move. Aided by a clairvoyant and sophisticated all-wheel drive system that’s constantly working out how to best apportion the towering output to the large sticky rubber, the SVR can hang with the best from what Germany and Italy have to offer. The steering has a nice heft to it but lacks the talkative nature in what you’d find in say, an MX-5. Still, if you typically find yourself in a situation where the main objective is to get from point A to point B safely in as little time as possible, the SVR will be on your short list of cars that decimate distances in comfort.
About that all-wheel drive system; how does it compare to the older V8 powered F-Types which used to cause clenched sphincters when driven in anger because only the rear wheels were driven?
Those who have driven the two-wheel drive versions of these cars will have a story or three of situations when the combination of huge output and short wheelbase (and perhaps some occasions where the driver ran out of talent) caused moments of terror when out for a spirited romp. The Dodge Viper-esque feeling of mega motor in a smallish car will tend to do that, more so if the driver lacks respect for what that F-Type is capable of. In order to make the copious power available accessible to drivers, Jaguar decided to fit all-wheel drive to all current V8 powered F-Types. It feels like a burden was lifted off our shoulders when flogging the SVR- we could apply throttle with much less concentration (and worry) when powering out of corners and the back end never once threaten to swap with the front, such is the resolute stability the system imparts. Those who like to indulge their juvenile side every now and again will be delighted to hear that you can still steer the car with the gas pedal, and if you really work at it the SVR will powerslide. Now though, it’s an exercise that won’t cause knuckles to whiten and teeth to clench in fear. The F-Type will also happily be driven in all manner of road conditions; with the proper snow tires fitted, we wouldn’t hesitate to use it as a daily driver even in winter.
What separates an SVR from the already manic F-Type R?
The $26,000 premium the SVR commands over the standard F-Type R nets you quite a bit of kit. The 5.0 supercharged V8 is fettled with to yield an extra 25 horsepower and 14 pounds feet of torque for totals of 575 and 516, respectively. There’s less weight for the mega motor to push around thanks to the trick exhaust system, carbon ceramic brakes and a smattering of carbon fiber trim as you see on our tester. Helping keep the SVR glued to the pavement are meaningful aerodynamic upgrades in the form of the massive rear wing, unique front bumpers and intakes as well as diffuser in the rear. The interior includes some SVR specific niceties as well- those quilted ‘lozenge’ seats look terrific and there are tasteful amounts of suede trim adorning the dashboard and steering wheel as well.
What might go wrong?
The SVR version we tested didn’t have Jaguar’s heavily revised InTouch infotainment system, instead relying on the older version of the software. It brought back cringeworthy memories of commands that took ages to execute, clunky graphics and menu layers that are far from intuitive. At least we know for certain that once they get around to installing the current version these complaints should be silenced. The hugely capable ceramic brakes, which offer gob smacking deceleration when you need to bleed off the shove of the mighty engine are a bit touchy around town- they do take some getting used to. And those beautiful seats, which do a great job keeping your keister in place, lack cooling capability- you’ll miss it when you realize how much your body temperature rises when you put a car like this through its paces.
Should I buy an F-Type SVR?
Some folks might point out that this car is too focused on performance to be a useable daily driver and that it’s not the most practical choice either. That same crowd would point out that the exhaust is a little too vocal to be socially acceptable. To them we say: get a grip, people! Truly, they are missing the point about what the F-Type SVR is all about. This is a car for peacocking, one that will indulge your inner child as well as paste grins on the faces of actual children. A friend who grew up in the muscle car era remarked that it’s very much like a more livable, civilized version of the original Shelby Cobra. Plus, it’s something of a bargain when you compare it to the cars it calls competitors. So then in summing up: yes, you should buy an F-Type SVR.
2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe – Specifications
- Price as tested: $166,450
- Body Type: 2-door, 2 passenger Coupe
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Engine: 5.0 litre supercharged V8, DOHC, 32 valves
- Horsepower: 575 @ 6,500 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 516 @ 3,500 rpm
- Curb weight: 1,792 kg (3,950 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Consumption: 12.6L/100km (19 mpg)