Jaguar’s F-Type SVR adds some aural oomph to its customary levels of style and performance, writes Cindy-Lou Dale
‘Of all the supercars you’ve driven, which is the one you’d like to call your own?’ asks the delivery driver from Jaguar Land Rover UK – an elderly, soft-spoken gentleman. This is a question I’m often asked and, in the most basic of terms, it needs to be answered it full, justifying my reasoning.
‘Look at it this way,’ I say. ‘Porsche is commonplace, and judging by the reactions of road users their drivers are held in as much disdain as BMW’s. Ferrari drivers are considered show-offs. Maserati owners are aspiring to Bentley’s – who are of the new money brigade, as is Aston Martin. And Rolls-Royce is too much money.
‘Then there’s Jaguar’s F-Type. I’ve driven all their flavours,’ I continue. ‘They come in at a fraction of the price of other supercars but ten times the fun; then add to that a seven-year service warranty! Handing the keys back each time pains me. So, to answer your question – Jag’s F-Type!’
The old bloke nods knowingly. We are heading to Ashford, 17 miles away. En route he is to talk me through the car’s quirks and explain the upgrades. We proceed in a stately lack of haste – without him engaging Sport mode, touching the paddles or even activating the exhaust button.
He explains that the F-Type is built by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicles Operation (SVO) division and is its fastest road car to date. It’s lighter, faster and a sharper version of Jaguar’s F-Type R All-Wheel Drive. When you push all the buttons, it feels like a track car with the volume turned full-blast, but then in auto it’s subdued.
The SVR engine was initially in the Range Rover and has been transplanted into Jaguar’s F-Type, which comes with sensible four- and six-cylinder engines further down the range. The V8 SVR is the lunatic, snarling pitbull, rivalling the 911 Turbo.
The SVR, with its eight-speed automatic gearbox and steering paddles, introduces its intoxicating supercharged V8 to 575 horses, rocketing from 0-62 mph in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph. This menacing performance is complemented by the most insane soundtrack delivered via a titanium and Inconel exhaust system. Jaguar’s genius hard-edged exhaust tuning work bellows a deep and menacing V8 baritone under full throttle and gradually increases in pitch when redlining. Downshifts bring machine-gun-like pops and crackles from the rear. It is music to the ears.
To look at, the SVR is beautiful. The proportions are just right and it’s a perfect mix of arrogance and grace, with a few choice pieces of jewellery and a gorgeous wing on the boot.
Everything is plush and colourful, with quilted leather seats, a multi-functional leather steering wheel, anodised shift paddles, suede headlining, ambient light, a Meridian sound system and touchscreen controls.
This specific SVR Coupe comes in at £110,880 (plus £8,000 for extras), which represents huge value when compared to the 911 Turbo S or the Vantage S, which will respectively ask for £28,000 and £35,000 more yet are no more powerful than the SVR.
This is one heck of a car. It oozes opulence, British design, finesse, and offers astounding performance and drama. At first the steering seems a little excitable – twitchy, even – and you’ll take a while to adapt to its exaggerated response rate, but once you do you’ll love the stability, fast throttle response and traction control.
The recipe of this car (and the sounds it makes) suggests it’s an off-the-leash attack dog, yet its handling is polished. Put simply, it’s an adrenalin-rush drive with a Clint Eastwood badassness about it, which is greeted by thumbs-up from fellow road users and phones pointing out of windows.
We pull up outside the station. The old chap from Jaguar Land Rover has three attempts at exiting the vehicle, stating that low sports cars are for the young. ‘So, when are you placing your order?’ he enquires. I give this some thought and explain that my husband is tight with the cash and I’ll need to wait for him to croak before placing my order, but I’ll be sure to swing by the dealership on the way back from the crematorium.
This article first appeared in the July/August 2018 edition of Spear’s. Find a copy at WH Smith travel stores and select news agents, or subscribe here: https://www.spearswms.com/subscribe/