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Review of the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR: Unforgettable

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On: Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 8:47AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Review of the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR:  Unforgettable

It’s sad to say, but with the number of new production model cars we’ve seen over the past decade or so, we are almost becoming desensitized to them. It seems like every car company is trying to make one of every conceivable model car or truck. And, in the endless pursuit of trying to capture a piece of every single market niche, some… many… companies have all but abandoned their own identities and their own foundational characteristics. Their mission becomes blurry to consumers and their integrity seems to be sacrificed in the name of the almighty dollar. So, more and more, we see many new cars with familiar badges, but we forget what those car company’s values were built upon. And while that’s happening more and more lately, sometimes… just sometimes… it doesn’t.

\We have to admit it, three years ago when Jaguar developed and produced the F-Type convertible, and then coupe, they hit an absolute home run. It hit the ground running and from the second people laid eyes on it, they got a real feel for what Jaguar is at its core, and what its real purpose was when it began building cars. The F-Type was a sleek, sexy, powerful, exciting, and fast as hell. It did everything you wanted a sports car to do, and it did it all while holding its driver in the lap of luxury. With this one car Jaguar managed to recapture some of its historic mojo that once powered cars like the XK-E back in the 1960s. It seemed like perhaps it could be crowned as arguably the best car Jaguar had ever built. And then, they made it better.

Let us introduce you to the mighty Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe. This is the single most powerful production Jaguar ever built, period. It even matches, or even eclipses, the legendary hyper-exotic XJ220 in just about every performance category imaginable, but more on that later…

The SVR is the first product of Jag’s new Special Vehicle Operations division. This performance division is, quite honestly, a bit late to the party considering BMW has had their M division for a few decades, Mercedes and Audi have both had their AMG and S-lines (respectively) for about a decade, so it’s nice to see Jaguar joining the club.

The SVR takes what were basically the only weak points that could be found in the original F-Type R and makes them simply go away. The original car seemed to have a propensity for oversteering at the limit, which is very frustrating in a high-performance car, as well as having what seemed to be an unreasonably harsh ride considering its luxury roots. The SVR has had its front anti-roll bar softened a bit while the rear end was concurrently stiffened. The new car has bigger rubber than the R did too—265/35 up front and 305/20 out back, which are 10 mm wider than the standard R’s tires. The all-wheel-drive system has also been tweaked a bit. The amount of torque that was originally slated to go to the front wheels has been reduced, while the rearward bias has been increased, for a final max ratio of 37%/63% front/rear, thus making the car much more rear driving and oversteer a lot less. The softer front end has also helped give the car a bit more comfort when driving around town, while not sacrificing any of its performance character at the limit.

The SVR has also cut weight in many ways. The lightweight alloy wheels save a collective 30 pounds over the R, while the carbon-ceramic brakes, and other carbon bits like the roof and wing, as well as the lighter titanium and a new alloy (dubbed Inconel) exhaust help contribute another 80 pounds to make the SVR 110 pounds lighter than its predecessor. Oh, and while they were reducing weight, Jag also decided that the original 550 horsepower of the R just wasn’t quite enough. so they upped the power. The SVR uses the same 5.0-liter supercharged and intercooled V8 that now makes an astonishing 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque (up 25 and 14 respectively) thanks to some reworked engine calibration. Backing that monstrous motor is the same 8-speed “Quickshift” ZF automatic that sends power to all four wheels.

Like we mentioned earlier, the SVR is the single fastest production car to wear a Jag badge. Jaguar claims that the SVR can run from 0–60 in only 3.5 seconds, but this is actually not the case. We believe that the 0–60 mph sprint time claim is actually just Jag’s way of paying homage to the mighty XJ220. The XJ pulled a 3.5 second sprint too, and we think that Jag may not want to tarnish the image of the XJ as an untouchable halo car. The truth is the SVR can run from 0–60 in as little as 3.3 seconds, from 0-100 mph in 7.5 seconds, through the quarter-mile in 11.5 second @ 125 mph, and onto a top speed of a genuine 200 mph. All of those times would eclipse the mighty XJ220, except for the run to the top end, where the SVR pulls up about 17 mph short of the famed XJ. Around the skidpad, the SVR can pull a legit 1.05 g, and brake from 70–0 mph in as little as 130 feet. This car can seriously perform.

If you still aren’t convinced, all you need to do is listen to the SVR start up and rev up once and you’ll know for sure just how real this car is about being fast. Get inside the soft, supple leather interior, sit in the quilted performance seats, and you can feel the power at your command. Mash the go-pedal and you can instantly hear, feel, and see the power of all 575 horsepower clawing at the tarmac with all four tires as the SVR rockets through the atmosphere, nearly eviscerating your senses in the process. The F-Type is as visceral a sports car as there ever has been, and the SVR has taken that experience, and made it more balanced and poised, and well… just plain better. All the while the SVR is doing so with a bit more bark to match its improved bite, and making itself even harder to for us to ever forget… As if we could in the first place.

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