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First drive: Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe. Image by Jaguar.

First drive: Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe
Mixed messages from Jaguar's new F-Type SVR flagship, but a lot of fun.

 



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Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe

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Jaguar's new flagship F-Type SVR is the fastest series production car it's sold and it's undoubtedly a great car, but the SVR brand needs to establish a clearer definition as to what it represents to avoid confusing buyers.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Price: from 110,000
Engine: 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol, eight-speed automatic
Body style: two-door, two-seat coupe
CO2 emissions: 269g/km (Band M, 1,100 per year)
Combined economy: 25.0mpg
Top speed: 200mph
0-62mph: 3.7 seconds
Power: 575hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 700Nm at 3,500- to 5,000rpm

What's this?

The first SVR-badged Jaguar, courtesy of SVO (Special Vehicles Operations). You may remember the Range Rover Sport SVR. That's a Land Rover and sister brand Jaguar is the next to get it, applied here to the F-Type in both coupe and roadster body styles. There'll be more from SVO soon, with SVX models for utility and SVAutobiography for Land Rover's most luxurious offerings, making the SVO offering nothing if not expansive, and bloody confusing. The R here stands for Racing apparently, which, given the 25hp hike in the 5.0-litre supercharged V8's output, is understandable. So too are the changes to the aerodynamics, suspension, steering, stability and traction control systems and everything else. Thing is, speak to the engineers and there's all sorts of talk about greater comfort too, a broader palate if you like, yet with the headline figure being that this is a 200mph capable car. Mixed messages and confused branding or not, bluntly put it's a more potent F-Type, and we've always rather liked them, so we should get along just fine.

How does it drive?

There are, somewhat unsurprisingly, a lot of similarities between the F-Type SVR and its four-wheel drive 5.0-litre supercharged F-Type R relation. Nonetheless, the SVR changes are extensive, but when you're working with a basis that has 550hp and does 186mph it's going to be about nuances. What is clear is the time the SVO people have spent in the wind-tunnel, to the benefit of drag and reducing lift for the SVR car. That's as significant as producing the additional power and the slight reduction in weight. There are unique suspension settings via stiffer die-cast rear knuckles, a thicker rear anti-roll bar and retuned dampers, the net effect of all this (in combination with the wider tyres and those aero enhancements) being a car that Jaguar claims ups agility and poise, without any trade off in ride comfort. The reality seems to bear that out, as the SVR, for all its visual aggression (and boisterous exhaust sounds) rides with a sophistication that's impressive given its clear intent. The body control is exceptional and the steering response measured and accurate.

Add a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 into that mix and it's also indecently fast, the rev-hungry engine tearing to its redline with real conviction, the lightweight titanium exhaust crackling and popping with an overbearing intensity that's all dialled up to eleven - even with the exhaust on its 'quiet' setting. The chassis's fine ability to cover poor surfaces is backed up with real agility, the front end particularly faithful, the steering sharp, quick and accurate; it would be a determined, hopelessly ambitious entry-speed that'll see the F-Type SVR understeer. Leave all the stability systems on and it'll cover ground with effortless ease and neutrality, while selecting the dynamic settings increases the thresholds of the electronic systems, allowing the F-Type exit out of bends with some power oversteer. It's nowhere near as exuberant as the rear-wheel drive F-Type R, in that regard, the four-wheel drive systems sensing opposite lock and pushing torque to the front wheels when it does so; though as one engineer pointed out, keep the wheels all pointing the same way, give it a bung and it'll slide about just fine.

You'll want a track to experience that, and usefully there's one to hand, the F-Type SVR proving as mobile as you like when given the confidence of expansive tarmac and plentiful run off. It's also very fast, the long straight at Aragon Motorland, Spain lengthy enough to have us spot an indicated 184mph on the digital speedometer before leaning on the optional Ceramic Carbon Matrix brakes. They take all that punishment, and more, which is impressive given the ambient temperatures in Spain. For a car that's supposed to offer a more sophisticated experience it's still remarkably able on a track, though if track work in an F-Type really is your goal, then you'll be better served by the F-Type R Coupe, with rear-wheel drive.

Verdict

SVO does a job on the F-Type to create the SVR, and it's an impressively capable and hugely entertaining car. Thing is, so are its relations, and they're cheaper. The SVR badge needs some clarification, too; the R means Racing apparently, but it's an F-Type with more supple suspension, yet an exhaust that's about as loud as just about anything this side of a V12 hailing from Italy. When SVO starts adding more models to the mix (across Land Rover, too) it's going to get confusing. Jaguar's F-Type SVR is a great car in isolation, but the brand identity and direction itself still needs some work.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 15 Jun 2016









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2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR. Image by Jaguar.2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR. Image by Jaguar.2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR. Image by Jaguar.2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR. Image by Jaguar.2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR. Image by Jaguar.

2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR. Image by Jaguar.2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR. Image by Jaguar.2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR. Image by Jaguar.2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR. Image by Jaguar.2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR. Image by Jaguar.








 

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