- The Jaguar F-Type SVR is the stylish sports car in its most extreme form.
- We drove the SVR on the track and around the roads of New Jersey.
- Power, handling, and stylish looks impressed.
The Jaguar F-Type is one of my favourite cars.
I like the F-Type so much that I nearly swayed my colleague Matt DeBord into handing the Jag Business Insider’s Car of the Year award in 2014 instead of the game-changing Corvette Stingray.
Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of spending hundreds of miles behind the wheel of roughly half a dozen versions of the British sports car — including V6-engine coupes with an old-school stick shift and V8 powered convertibles.
My F-Type experiences have been flawless — except one.
About two years ago, I drove an all-wheel-drive F-Type R coupe. Even though I loved its Ian Callum-sculpted bodywork, muscle-bound supercharged V8 engine, and mind-bending exhaust note, the Jag’s driving dynamics felt dull and lifeless. The joyfulness and exuberance that has long been a signature piece of the F-Type experience was gone. The culprit was the all-wheel-drive system.
Fast forward two years and I’m once again behind the wheel of an all-wheel-drive F-Type — this time in the form of a 2017 SVR.
The F-Type SVR is the work of Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations, or SVO, the company’s in-house workshop tasked with developing its ultra-luxury or high-performance cars.
And what a job the SVO has done.
For the SVR edition, Jag’s Skunk Works pumped up the F-Type’s monster 5.0-litre supercharged V8 with an extra 25 horsepower to push its rating to 575 horsepower. The SVR also gets enlarged air intakes, revised charge air coolers, and an Inconel titanium exhaust system that reduces back pressure and cuts 35 pounds from the car. Further, Jaguar optimised the SVR’s aerodynamics with a redesigned front bumper, splitter, new under-body, rear venturi tunnels, and an active carbon-fibre rear spoiler. With the use of carbon body panels and the carbon ceramic matrix brakes, the SVR can be as much as 11o pounds lighter than the regular F-Type.
But the adjustment that made the most significant difference in the way the SVR drives is the reengineered Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) software that controls the all-wheel-drive system. In previous iterations of AWD F-Types, the IDD dominated the driving experience — giving it an artificial feel that’s akin to that of a video game. While capable of delivering incredible speed and performance, the system removed all the subtlety that made the car fun.
In the SVR, the reworked IDD now mimics the feel of a rear-wheel-drive car with the system’s all-wheel-drive traction ready to pounce at a moment’s notice, like an ever-present safety net.
At New York’s Monticello Motor Club, the SVR took to the racetrack like a fish to water. In twisty sections, the Jag’s active aerodynamics and adjustable suspension kept the car stable. When pushed hard in corner, you can feel the rear end push out only to be brought back into line by the all-wheel-drive system. Exiting the bend, the SVR’s 575 ponies come to life as the quick-shifting 8-speed automatic makes its way trough the gears. Speed happens with great immediacy along with a Grammy-worth soundtrack of pops and burbles that emanate from its quad exhausts.
According to Jaguar, the totality of these changes result in a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph — making the SVR the fastest production model from the company since its underappreciated 213-mph XJ220 supercar.
On the winding roads of rural New Jersey, the SVR felt equally at home. The F-Type’s leather-lined interior felt cosy and comfortable while the muscular V8 engine effortlessly chewed up the miles.
All this performance comes at a price. The 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR starts at $US125,950. Our option-laden test car came in at more than $US145,000.
Although it’s far from cheap, the F-Type SVR offers true supercar performance with grand-touring comfort and British style at a sub-supercar price.
But for me, the SVR keeps the Jaguar F-Type as one of truly great sports cars money can buy.
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