What does it take to nick customers from the mighty Porsche 911 Turbo? Jaguar might just have found the answer, courtesy of their Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) department, which has slapped an SV moniker on the already performance-focused F-Type R AWD.
JUN 15th 2016
Jaguar F‑Type taken into supercar territory by SVO
In the same month that the F-Pace SUV became the fastest-selling Jag of all time, the F-Type has breached supercar territory. In SVR form, the competent sports car now boasts a top speed of 200mph and a 0-60mph time of 3.5 seconds. These figures are delivered by a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 boasting 564bhp and 516b ft, mated to an eight-speed automatic, driving the rear wheels most of the time but with torque sent forward as needed.
So just what does an SVO badge buy you over the competent F-Type R? Well, you get an aerodynamics package for less lift and drag that includes a new front bumper, splitter, flat undercarriage, rear venturi and active rear wing that rises at 70mph. Together, they form most of the exterior styling revisions.
You can specify a carbon pack with huge carbon ceramic matrix (CCM) calipers and carbon-fibre roof panel, which will bring the weight loss over the R version up from 25kg to 50kg; we tried out the CCM brakes on a circuit outside Barcelona and their capacity to soak up energy without fade is superb.
The other telltale sign that this F-Type is rather quick, is the quad Titanium exhausts. The valves open at 2,500rpm and the noise is quite extraordinary, almost painful in its crackling metallic viciousness. They also contribute a 16kg weight loss.
The chassis on track and road is a fantastic showcase for SVO’s engineering excellence. An active dynamics setup means that, should the car detect understeer, torque vectoring will brake the two inside wheels to pull the nose back in to line. It’s effective but unobtrusive.
There are revised dampers and anti-roll bars, stiffer rear knuckles and wider tyres. Push the toggle to select Dynamic mode on the road, and the rear wing rises, the throttle, e-differential and steering responses change and the suspension stiffens again. It’s the way to drive this car; blip it back into standard setting and your senses are dulled.
It is a remarkable feat though, that the standard setting provides enough suspension compliance for this car to be considered an everyday, useable supercar, which is how Jaguar want you to see it. In this respect, it beats even an Audi R8 into a cocked hat for dynamic aggression mixed with all-weather motoring.
Inside, signs that you are in the SVR version include a very handsome quilted leather covering seats and door panels. The stitched shapes take the form of the Jaguar Heritage lozenge; a subtle nod to the racing DNA of the brand and a classy touch. There’s also an SVR steering wheel and our test car had its electric-blue paintwork mirrored in the contrast stitching and piping on the door handles.
If you want the lifestyle ambience, there’s a convertible version for another £5,000. We tried both; while we’re fans of wind-in-your-hair sports cars, the SVR is too aggressive a drive to suit the languid pose of soft-top motoring. As soon as you hear those exhausts cackle, you just want to rag the hell out of the coupe through as many fast corners as you can.
JLR’s SVO engineering department really have done a magnificent job with this car, especially those dampers. I don’t begin to understand how they’ve stiffened them enough to give this car greater control without also dialling in a harsher ride, but they’ve done it anyway.
Maybe, just maybe, if they hold their breath and shut their eyes and count to 10, they’ll take some of those 911 Turbo sales away from Porsche. I’d love to see a British company manage it.
Meanwhile, it’s not long till you can feast your own eyes on the F-Type SVR, at the Festival of Speed later this month.
Price: from £110,000
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