To see if this promise is backed up by hardware, we speak to the man who oversaw chassis development for the 542bhp SUV, Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) dynamics manager David Pook.
Why an SVR SUV and not a saloon?
“I’ve been at Jaguar for 18 years and seen the transition in the market and my own life. With modern lifestyles, roads as they are, the usability factor has become important for performance cars over the years. SUVs have been part of that transition, so it makes complete sense to do a performance version of an SUV. It’s the best of both worlds.”
What did you benchmark the F-Pace SVR against?
“My expectation is for Macan-type customers and those of faster estates like AMGs and RS6s. Why do they want them and how do they use them? There was a clear focus on Macan and, to be honest, we quickly surpassed the performance of that with the powertrain we have, so we spent the time focusing on the way it drove.”
What are the specific challenges of creating a performance SUV?
“When doing a taller car, you add in stiffness, make the roll bars bigger and stiffer to give performance credentials. But you need usability and can’t make it ridiculously tough to ride. So you add some tech – the adaptive dampers. It can be soft and comfortable when needed and then more with the driving modes. There’s also been just a lot of sheer hard work with this car and time spent tuning it to get the comfort, control and sporty credentials.”