What is it?
Why would I buy it?
Powerful engine, thunderous sound track, comfortable and looks great.
Why would I avoid it?
Will be expensive and doesn't feel as special as a Porsche 911 or even an Audi R8
What is it?
The SVR is a faster, louder and a more precise version of the already mad Jaguar F-Type R. It is the fastest car Jaguar Land Rover makes and 0-100 time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 322kmph is standing proof of that. Unveiled in 2016 at the Geneva motorshow, the F-type SVR was the first car from the SVO performance division and now for 2018 they have done further enhancements to make the car even better. I got to sample the car in Jaguar Land Rover Gaydon proving grounds in Warwickshire, England.
In terms of exterior changes, the SVR gets new LED headlamps, a more aerodynamic front bumper which is wider and gets a protruding chin, an automatically adjusting carbon fibre rear wing and new forged 21 inch rims which look fantastic.
It has shed some weight too. You get titanium frame for the seats and the exhaust is made of titanium too which helps save around 25kg. But if that figure is too less for you, then you can opt for the carbon ceramic brakes and carbon roof which further save 50kg. Despite the weight savings the SVR still weighs almost 1.7 tonnes!
How is it on the inside?
Once you enter that cabin, you are greeted by the snug leather wrapped bucket seats with contrast stitching that look and feel really sporty. The low driving position is spot-on and the view out is good by sportscar standards. It could have done with a bit more jazz on the inside though. Except for some SVR badges on the steering and on the dash, the changes are minimal and it doesn't feel as special as it should. Even the material quality, fit and finish isn't the best and is something you don't expect of a car that will cost Rs 3 crore on-road. Jaguar plans to launch this car in 2019, by which time it will get the new infotainment screen as seen on Velar. Judging by that, it will be right up there with the best.
How does it drive?
This is the section where the SVR should excel and in terms of engine performance it definitely makes an impression.
It now gets the more powerful motor from the limited edition Project 7, which is a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine producing 567bhp and all four wheels are driven. To make the SVR a better track weapon, the SVO division has also added wider 20-inch forged alloy wheels, new adaptive dampers, stiffer anti-roll bars and a knuckle for the rear suspension for better lateral loading. You also get a faster processor which controls the power steering, automatic gearbox, stability control, active rear differential and four-wheel drive system in a more efficient and faster way.
Like before, the supercharged motor makes its intentions clear as soon as you push the start button - it comes to life with a deep gurgle.
I got to drive the car around the Gaydon test track which isn't like a race track where you can go flat-out all the time. Instead I drove the car over a set of different parameters, to get a wider perspective on this Jag. To begin with, I started driving the car over a purpose-built rutted road and the SVR, to my surprise, gobbled up everything with ease. Sure the normal version of the car, which sports a more forgiving suspension setup will do a better job, but the SVR too felt good. I could hear the suspension working away especially over sharper potholes but body movement was well controlled. Then we moved on to the slalom course which revealed the SVR’s greater agility. The recalibrated electric steering is quick and the SVR felt grippy, agile and connected. Then we moved on to a drag strip where I could unleash all of the 567 horses. Despite lacking launch control, the AWD SVR just clawed up the tarmac and with no drama whatsoever, it just hurtled towards the horizon. The SVR accelerated in excess of 210kmph in less than 500 meters of the drag strip, which is seriously quick.
Like with the R, the SVR’s exhaust note is its party trick. In comfort mode it feels relatively well behaved. But as soon as you shift to Dynamic, the butterfly valves open and it just sounds incredible. It’s got a deep burble at idle, sounding like a hairy chested V8 muscle car at part throttle and howls like a supercar as it nears its 6500rpm redline.
Post the drag strip, we moved on to the main track which has four lanes, four corners and two long straights. On the straights the SVR felt really quick and a glance at the speedo revealed me doing in excess of 300kmph! All this was done without a hiccup from the F-Type SVR, giving me a lot of confidence thanks to the rock solid straight line stability and accurate steering. Around bends the SVR felt calm composed and had lots of grip. But like with the R, it really likes to wag its tail, albeit in a more predictable manner. Make no mistake, this is no porsche or Ferrari beater which feels more agile and precise, but on its own it felt accurate enough and has a character of its own.
Should I buy one?
This is a difficult question to answer especially considering I have driven this car only on the track. But going by the different conditions I drove in, the F-Type SVR will make a great road going sportscar. The supercharged V8 engine is just fantastic with a thunderous sound track and blistering performance. The handling is precise enough and the AWD system gives this car loads of grip and all-weather ability. But its trump card is the ride that is comfortable and great for our ever broken roads. On the downside, it doesn't feel special enough when you sit inside and its expected price of Rs 3 crore on-road will be a deterrent too. So the SVR comes across as a well-rounded package that has lot of character to put a wide smile on your face.
Where does it fit in?
The Jaguar F-Type SVR will go up against the Porsche 911, Audi R8, Nissan GTR and the Mercedes AMG GT. All its rivals are extremely capable and will be hard to beat. We expect the SVR to cost around Rs 2.5 crores ex-showroom when launched.