What changes has Jaguar made from the standard F-Pace?
Jaguar’s answer to the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, Porsche Macan Turbo, Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S and every other daftly over-endowed mid-sized SUV that £70,000 can buy has been mooted since the launch of the regular F-Pace in 2016, but assiduously denied by JLR spokespeople for a long while thereafter. It brings Jaguar’s bombastic supercharged 5.0-litre lump to a class where V8 engines are a relative rarity, and where it should therefore post some outstanding performance stats.
Except that it doesn’t; not quite. 542bhp is certainly an outstanding output for the Jaguar to be able to lay claim to, but 1995kg is a pretty significant number too when one or two of the car’s key rivals are the thick end of 200kg lighter.
And so, needing 4.3sec to hit 62mph from rest, the F-Pace SVR is actually slower off the mark than several of its rivals according to the manufacturer claims; and, to people who value these cars for the sheer absurdity of them, I fear that may not be unimportant. It’ll be interesting to find out how the car goes against our road test timing gear, and to extract a few more meaningful performance measurements for it when we get a chance – because I just can’t believe a car with this engine, up against rivals that almost all offer less under the bonnet, isn’t a more dominant accelerative force. We’ll see.
The F-Pace retains steel coil suspension, the rates of which have been increased by 30 per cent up front and 10 per cent at the rear, and gets uprated adaptive dampers as standard. Forged alloy wheels of up to 22in in diameter come in, on the outside of uprated brakes with lightweight hubs and discs measuring up to 396mm. The car’s primary driveline mechanical ingredient remains ZF’s ‘8HP70’ eight-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox, which drives through a ‘hang-on’ style clutch-based four-wheel drive system that tends to favour sending torque to the rear axle before it shuffles it forwards. But the all-new driveline component is a torque-vectoring ‘eDiff’ sat between the rear wheels, unlike one used anywhere by SVO before.
What's the F-Pace SVR like inside the cabin?
The F-Pace SVR avoids the more lurid upholstery colour combinations we’ve seen of late on the Range Rover Sport SVR; at least, our test car did, having instead a nicely understated combination of tan and black leather with some attractive carbonfibre decorative trims used quite sparingly, but well. Regrettably for this tester, however, the interior doesn’t avoid carrying over very similar sports seats (with integrated seatbacks-cum-head restraints) as those seen on the Range Sport SVR, which would be a lot more comfortable if they didn’t poke you in the back of the neck every time you attempt to settle deep into the bolsters.
Of the rest of the interior there’s plenty to like. Spaciousness and convenience are both good by class standards and, although the F-Pace’s cabin doesn’t get JLR’s latest infotainment setup and isn’t the most up-to-date interior the firm currently makes, it’s still a rich, comfortable and very pleasant place in which to find yourself staring down a road cut into the side of a French prehistoric gorge like a bit of loose ribbon draped off the side of a titan’s wedding cake.
This F-Pace is a car that feels its size on a fairly narrow, serpentine stretch like this; and I’m not sure you’d say that of a Porsche Macan or an Alfa Romeo Stelvio. It rolls and leans just a little bit under high cornering loads; and while it has more lateral grip and smarter directional responses than many would expect of it, it doesn’t exactly dive and rotate like a gymnast in a fat suit. It steers enticingly well, but not with alarming pace or cloying weight. Rather, its handling responses seem just a little bit moderate and measured, so that they’re natural-feeling and easily intelligible – and, moreover, so that they can be combined with a ride comfortable enough to suit any £70,000 SUV.