By Shari Prymak
For better or worse, we live in a world where high performance luxury cars are rapidly evolving into high tech, politically correct, self-driving instruments. Many of them remain deeply impressive automobiles, but there’s no question that the raw emotional involvement that was once a given has diminished through the passage of time. Apparently Jaguar hasn’t gotten the memo, because the F-Type SVR is about as emotionally and comically thrilling as a modern high-end automobile can be, and it doesn’t seem to give a hoot about your desensitized, hybridized, autonomous car revolution.
Even though the F-Type and its gorgeous shape has been with us since 2013, it’s a design that has aged dramatically well to point where it borders on timeless. That’s what you get when you nail the proportions and keep the details clean and elegant. The SVR, however, takes the styling in a more racy direction with aggressive aerodynamics, large 20 inch wheels, and a slightly over-the-top carbon fibre rear wing that can fortunately be deleted at no cost. If carbon fibre is really your thing, much of the exterior trim and even the roof, can be ordered in it.
Although the exterior changes are significant enough to differentiate the SVR from lesser models, the interior remains more or less the same as that of any other F-Type. Along with a few SVR badges, the most noticeable difference is the beautiful diamond-stitched pattern on the sport seats and door panels, which add a nice touch of opulence to the cabin. The rest of the materials are convincingly premium and controls remain relatively straightforward with a driver-centric arrangement. Jaguar’s latest “InControl Touch Pro” infotainment system is both graphically-pleasing and effective to use. Overall space is a tad on the cozy side, but the driving position is solid and the meaty steering wheel feels nice in hand.
Whether cruising around through the city or blasting down an empty backroad, the SVR never eases back on delivering a manic adrenaline rush of a driving experience. The supercharged 5.0L V8 engine produces 575 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, enough for a run from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds and to a top speed of 322km/h. The power is instantaneous at just about any speed with a violent rush of acceleration that never seems to let off. A quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission and a rear-biased all-wheel drive system with an electronically-controlled differential help manage that nuke of an engine, but even so, keeping things tame and under control is an exercise in self-restraint.
The Inconel titanium exhaust system, which can be switched from normal loud to eardrum shattering loud at the push of a button, is likely the SVR’s most noteworthy party piece. It erupts to life with an angry bark at every start-up and emits an outrageous onslaught of roars, crackles, and bangs akin to an army of heavy artillery fire while being pressed. Neighbours and bystanders may not appreciate the racket, but the exhaust adds a significant dose of theatre and excitement to the SVR’s driving experience. Picture a Michael Bay film action sequence on four wheels and you wouldn’t be far off.
Keeping all that power and furry under control is no problem thanks to the available carbon ceramic brakes which can abruptly shave off speed run after run. Different drive modes are available through the flick of a toggle switch, but I found dynamic mode to be the best and no less uncomfortable than the other modes. With a considerable curb weight of 1,705 kg, the SVR isn’t quite as precise or pin-sharp as a Porsche 911, but it is still a full-on sports car. The ride is firm and little jarring over rough pavement, but the trade-off is impressive body control and balance corner after corner. The steering too has a nice hefty weight to it with good responsiveness and feel.
The F-Type range starts at $69,500 for the P300 Coupe model and leaps all the way up to $140,500 for the SVR Coupe or $143,500 for the SVR Convertible before options. That’s a considerable chunk of money, but still quite reasonable when compared to the equivalent Porsche 911 or Mercedes-AMG GT. Compared to most, the F-Type SVR is brimming with drama and enthusiasm with its gorgeous design, rocket-like performance, and a thunderous exhaust note. It’s the fire-breathing antithesis to our increasingly sedated self-driving future. If anyone were to forget what a real car used to be, that angry exhaust roar will certainly remind them.
For more details, please visit the Jaguar Canada website.