Car News

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR turns up the wick in New York

So you’re Jaguar, and you’ve struck gold by releasing a car in the F-Type that’s actually managed to go shot for shot with the big guns in the sports car market from Porsche. They, you add AWD and a screaming V8, and kick things up yet another notch. What’s next?

Well, first of all, you have to add new letters to the name. “F-Type S”? Taken. “R”? Gone.

What about a mix of the two, with another sporty-sounding letter thrown in? How about “SVR”? Yes. That’ll do nicely.

Actually, it does so nicely that more than just being a trim name for the F-Type and Range Rover Sport, “SVR” is a new brand at Jaguar/Land Rover that features cars that go above and beyond the already hi-po vehicles the brands put out. They don’t just get “SVR” badges slapped on their grilles, either; they’re actually developed by JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations division, which got its start by developing the re-imagined E-Type lightweight racer last year.

Back to the F-Type SVR.

Power is up from 550 to 575 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, good enough for a neck-snapping – more on this in a minute – 0-60 run of around 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 200 miles per hour. Those beastly acceleration times are made possible with help from AWD, which is your only option with the SVR.

RWD, a short wheelbase and that much power would just make things too squirrely for most folks that are going to be driving the car [Says who? – Ed]. The AWD’s torque vectoring has also been tuned for better performance.

In addition to AWD, the chassis has been given a thorough once-over, with new camber settings, roll bars and suspension tuning – you do need to harness all that power, after all.

The real story, however, has to be the powertrain. Actually, to be more specific: the real story has to be the exhaust, which is now made of titanium and in addition to being lighter and reducing back pressure, is the noisiest thing you’ll sample this side of, well, the Jaguar F-Type R, perhaps. The F-Type is one of our favourite things for this very reason. Showroom exhaust notes don’t get much louder than this, which really shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise; after all, when the original V6-powered F-Type debuted, the exhaust note was making news all over town. Then, when the V8-powered R arrived, it got kicked up a notch again, just when you thought that wasn’t possible. Now, with the Iconel titanium treatment, it’s positively feral.

And it seems to be a big selling point, too; so much so, that Jaguar managed to cordon off a tunnel in the middle of Manhattan, just so we could drive through it at speed and hear how feral the thing was. That noise, when accompanied with the kind of speeds we were doing (up to just over 110 km/h) and the tight confines of a narrow tunnel – at night, no less – is as close to a roller coaster drop as I’ve ever been in a car. Which, of course, is a situation that’s made all that more intense by the fact you’re in control.

While I’d like to say that I was made to be more at ease by the knowledge that the SVR’s body has been given a once-over to increase high-speed stability, I’d probably be lying. Still, it’s worth noting that all the aerodynamic addenda you see here – new front splitter, carbon fibre active rear wing, new side sills, larger front vents, hood vents – is functional, helping reduce drag by 75%, and lift by 45%. This is a purpose-built performance car, that’s for sure.

Inside, things are made that much more special by the addition of an all-new quilted leather pattern that helps recall Jags of old, as well as new colouring. Oh, there’s the latest Jaguar infotainment system and special Merdian sound, too, but really, with an exhaust soundtrack like that, I know it would be the least of my concern.

Just when you didn’t think it was possible, Jaguar has managed to make the F-Type even more spectacular. This writer, for one, loves them for it.