Jaguar F-Type SVR review: It’s fast, furious and fun; a sportscar you can use everyday
Built by Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicles Operation (SVO) division, this car is the fastest road-going Jaguar yet. It's been on sale in India since August last year (it's made to order) but it's only now that we've got our hands on one. The version we are driving at Jaguar's test track in the UK is the updated 2018 F-Type SVR.
A few facts about the F-Type SVR. It was conceived after the SVO division of JLR produced the hardcore Project 7. It made them realise that the limits of the F-Type could be pushed further than the Coupe R and that there was indeed a customer base for such a car. The 575hp/700Nm 5.0-litre supercharged V8 from the Project 7 was the starting point for SVO, after which came the new dampers, retuned anti-roll bars, and new lighter knuckles for the rear suspension of the F-Type. It also got retuned software for the power steering, an eight-speed auto gearbox and the four-wheel-drive system. The body was tweaked to improve aerodynamics and carbon fibre was used to reduce weight. A Titanium and Inconel exhaust system also got drafted in. The result of all this? The fastest road-legal Jaguar yet.
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When it comes to exterior tweaks, the 2018 version gets minor ones in the form of new daytime running LED lights with integrated indicator, a new bumper and revised tail-lights.
I am belted into the new, slimmer, magnesium-framed seats that have helped shave off more weight, and they are also quite comfortable and supportive. As I wait to head on to the high-speed track, I check the new InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, where the sharper graphics are now clearly telling me I am in Dynamic mode and all set to go.
I head out and, as I exit onto the clear track, I pin my foot to the floor of the SVR. I am instantly shoved into the back of my seat as the needle flies past 100kph in a flash and just keeps on climbing effortlessly. The Dynamic mode has sharpened the gearbox and is punching up the gears rapidly. I am quite blown away by its performance when 140kph comes up in just under a kilometre. All this is accompanied with delectable, spine-tingling roar from the exhaust.
As the corner comes up, I lift off the throttle and a barrage of bangs, pops and crackles can be heard on the overrun; the aural drama just uplifts the level of enjoyment. The carbon-ceramic brakes quickly slow me down and inspire a huge amount of confidence. As I take the corner, I realise the SVR has better manners and poise than the wilder Coupe R. The steering feels completely connected to the road and the all-wheel-drive system ensures just that I carry great speed through the bends with relative ease. One lap in and I am already feeling quite invincible in the SVR. Soon enough I am flying around the track, thoroughly enjoying the whole experience. However, when you get overenthusiastic with it, you do feel the weight of the car around the bends and it doesn't feel as track-savvy as some of the other sportscars. Still, I have to say it's fast, furious and fun, and it's so drivable that almost anyone can get in and drive on the limit without getting it wrong.
We then head out on to different sections of the test track where we face all kinds of real-world road situations like undulating surfaces, ruts, potholes and uncovered manholes. The SVR soaks them up with an ease that is quite impressive for a sportscar, and even in dynamic mode it doesn't make me wince.
The captains at SVO tell us they wanted to make a sportscar that's usable as an everyday car too. To their credit, they have mechanically achieved just that with a good mix of captivating performance and comfort. Although, as a two- seater in our conditions, it still has limitations as an everyday car.
It doesn't have the naughtiness of the Coupe R, which will bite back if you mess with it. This is a far more composed car, but don't read that as unexciting because it certainly isn't. The SVR is a thoroughly fun and exciting car, and the best part is you don't have to have to be a pro to enjoy all of it.