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23 Apr, 2019 (All day) Steve Sutcliffe
The hot 542bhp Jaguar F-Pace SVR SUV packs punch and price to take on the mighty Porsche Cayenne Turbo
The £75,335 Jaguar F-Pace SVR has arrived almost one year later than expected, after Jaguar delayed the launch of the original version due to quality issues. But does that mean it already feels out of date, even though in April 2019 it is still, in theory, brand new? No, not one bit.
Indeed, at £25,000 less than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo but with a fraction more power and performance, the 176mph F-Pace SVR looks like strangely good value.
The basic four-wheel-drive F-Pace platform was a strong place to start when attempting to create an SUV with supercar performance, but to ensure the SVR version delivers the goods where it counts, Jaguar’s designers and engineers have turned the wick up in numerous different directions.
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The aerodynamics have been improved by a pair of new bumpers front and rear, while the sills are lower on each side. As a result, says the manufacturer, drag is lower while lift has also been reduced.
At the same time, the styling has become meaner all round, with 21-inch wheels as standard and vast 22-inch rims, fitted to the car you see here, available as an option.
The 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine and eight-speed ZF gearbox are familiar Jaguar Land Rover fare, albeit in their highest possible states of tune. With 542bhp and 680Nm of torque, the 2,070kg F-Pace SVR sprints from 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds, and 0-100mph takes less than 10 seconds.
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So although it’s a big vehicle, with luxuriant space in its bespoke back seats and a 650-litre boot, it’s also a massively rapid one. The chassis, brakes and steering have all been heavily modified, with stiffer springs, uprated dampers, an electronic differential at the back and huge new disc brakes at each corner.
And yet on the move the SVR still manages to retain many of the qualities that make the regular F-Pace such a civilised SUV. Its ride is firmer than standard, but not uncomfortably so. The responses from its steering, brakes, accelerator and gearbox are all more urgent, too, yet not to a point where the SVR feels horrendously compromised.
But the earthquake that occurs when you open the throttle properly for the first time on a quiet stretch of road is, it must be said, not for the faint of heart. Nor is the sound that accompanies the tidal wave of acceleration as the SVR fires you towards the horizon. It’s tremendous to experience an F-Pace SVR on full reheat, even if you can watch the fuel level dropping visibly when you use lots of throttle for more than five seconds. In the real world, don’t expect to get much more than 15-16mpg.
Then again, the Jaguar F-Pace SVR is an extrovert machine that will be bought by extrovert people, and in tiny numbers, so does it matter that in many ways it seems out of kilter with the way things are in 2019? For the fortunate few who can afford to buy and run it, the answer is probably no.
Far more important will be the excellent, I-Pace-inspired infotainment system, and the roomy pair of rear seats. Truth is, once you’re inside the Jaguar’s climate-controlled, well-equipped, high-grade, leather-lined cabin, the rest of the world fades away into insignificance. And that’s before you’ve even put your foot down in it, at which point the real magic starts. So while the SVR may be a dinosaur in some respects, as car enthusiasts we can’t help but embrace it, even if its thirst and emissions are a bit embarrassing at the same time.
4.5 As a cut-price alternative to a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, the 176mph Jaguar F-Pace SVR looks like seriously good value for money. It has more power than its German rival, costs 25 grand less and is similarly practical and well equipped. Best of all, the new Jag is every bit as good to drive as it looks, delivering shocking performance but retaining typical F-Pace usability. Although it’s almost a year later arriving than Jaguar intended, it was well worth the wait, and then some.
- Model: Jaguar F-Pace SVR
- Price: £75,335
- Engine: 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol
- Power/torque: 542bhp/680Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
- 0-62mph: 4.3 seconds
- Top speed : 176mph
- Economy/CO2: 22.6mpg/272g/km
- On sale: Now