As one of the premier purveyors of luxurious coupes, sedans, and now crossover sport utility vehicles, Britain’s Jaguar has been the epitome of class and opulence for over three quarters of a century. From the smaller XE sedan to the F-Pace sport ute, the current crop of Jags are an exercise in good design and attention to detail. The 2019 Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe is their flagship two-door coupe, and with a big wing out back, it needs no introduction. Jaguar’s test car also sported a bright Caldera Red paint, making for a serious stand-out in a sea of silver Porsches.
The Special Vehicle Operations division, which is responsible for parent Jaguar Land Rover’s more wild offerings, gets into the regular F-Type and adds magic in order to create the Special Vehicle Racing version. For your trouble, you get the most powerful version of the F-Type, thanks to a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 making 575 horsepower at 6,500RPM and 516 lb-ft of torque at 3,500RPM. Route this through a slick-quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system, and the net result is pure unadulterated speed.
Jaguar says that the SVR Coupe will go from zero to 100KM/H in 3.7 seconds, and will hit a top speed of 322KM/H (200MPH). Throughout the very short time spent accelerating, the big V8 lets out an amazing howl that makes it one of the best sounding new cars sold today. Within the cockpit, there’s a button with two tailpipes on it that opens up the Switchable Active Exhaust, making the titanium and Inconel setup even louder. It’s absolutely great fun in tunnels and underpasses, but be warned – the decibel level may anger neighbours.
The supercharged V8 possesses instant throttle response and a face-distorting amount of thrust right off idle. It’s easily the highlight of the F-Type SVR, and for those more inclined to a grand touring style of driving (as opposed to a racetrack), it could easily make more sense than buying a Porsche 911. When not making copious amounts of noise, the big cat Jag settles down and could be driven as sedately as needed.
With all this performance, the 575 horsepower V8’s fuel consumption in the city is rated at 15.6L/100KM, with highway figures coming in at 10.4L/100KM. Despite a heavy right foot and a ton of low-speed stop and go driving, observed economy after a week of testing came in better than expected at 13.7L/100KM. Credit for this can likely go to the eight-speed automatic transmission, which makes the most of the power and low-end supercharged torque, negating the need for higher revs around town. Tank capacity is 70 litres, and, as expected, premium fuel is required.
In the turns, the SVR has responsive steering that inspires confidence, and the all-wheel drive means that proper traction is never in question. Handling isn’t as good as a proper sports car like the Porsche, but it’s more than enough. Ride quality is considerably firm, but body control is well-sorted, meaning that only the worst of pavement will rattle your fillings out. For stopping power, the test car’s optional 398-millimetre front and 380-millimetre carbon ceramic brakes do a phenomenal job at hauling it down to a stop. 265 width front and 305 width rear Pirelli summer tires are sticky, quiet, and get the job done well.
Where things get more conflicted on the F-Type, however, is in the interior. The design and build quality are top notch Jaguar, as to be expected, and the SVR has plenty of leather, carbon fibre, and faux-suede bits to make for a very impressive look. The red stitching and piping on the two seats give the eye more of a chance to wander and take everything in, although the steering wheel and instrument cluster are standard Jaguar parts-bin. The two centre heating and air conditioning vents are motorized and pop up when the system is in use, and are covered in the same suedecloth that accents the top of the dashboard.
The presence of knobs and buttons for most major controls are a welcome design approach, unlike the ergonomic challenges of other Jaguar Land Rover stablemates, which use excessive and oddly laid-out touch screens; the Range Rover Velar (reviewed here) and Sport (reviewed here) if we’re going to name names. Buttons alone won’t redeem the Jaguar InControl infotainment system, however, which has aged very quickly relative to the rest of the automotive industry. What might have been an acceptable system a few short years ago is now considerably laggier than average, and lacks the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity being offered across the board. Meridian premium audio tries to save the day, and while it’s very good, poking around on the InControl touch screen is a frustrating reminder that an update was needed yesterday.
Pricing for the 2019 Jaguar F-Type SVR begins at $140,500, which includes the fire-breathing supercharged V8. Options on the test car included a $1,230 fixed panoramic roof, $820 for a carbon fibre centre console, and $1,590 for the Climate Package 2 (heated windshield, heated and cooled front seats, and dual zone climate). Where things get interesting are the big-ticket packages: $5,100 for the SVR Carbon Fibre Package (CF hood louvres, side vents, mirror caps, rear venture, and front splitter), and the SVR Carbon Ceramic Brake Pack rings in at $13,260(!).
As a result, the as-tested price of the F-Type SVR balloons to about $170,000, which isn’t a terrible sum of money considering what you get. It very much gets the job done as a premium grand tourer; other than the infotainment needing a desperate upgrade, it’s a car that looks good, and feels good, too.