If ever there was an SUV that would lend itself well to being transformed into a bona fide performance vehicle, the Jaguar F-Pace is it. This car is built on a platform shared with the XF saloon, remember. Moreover, the standard model is already one of the most handsome examples of the breed out there, so it’s unsurprising to find that the SVR version also cuts a particularly fine shape.
What is interesting to note, however, is that this latest SVR-badged model – the third to emerge from Jaguar Land Rover’s in-house tuning skunkworks – doesn’t seem to shout about its performance credentials quite so loudly as some of its rivals. Aside from larger 21in alloy wheels (with optional 22s on our test car), the quad tailpipes of the lightweight active exhaust system and some reasonably reserved aero and cooling-related bodywork tweaks, the F-Pace SVR isn’t drastically different from the standard car. Next to the wide-boy Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 and even the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the Jaguar could almost be called reserved. Exceptionally good-looking and suitably purposeful, yes, but nowhere near as outlandish as those rivals.
That said, there’s nothing reserved about the F-Pace SVR’s engine. It’s the same 5.0-litre supercharged V8 you’ll find at the nose of the Range Rover Sport SVR and Jaguar F-Type SVR, albeit in a slightly different state of tune. Where those cars both develop 567bhp and 516lb ft, the F-Pace SVR makes do with ‘just’ 542bhp between 6000 and 6500rpm, while its 502lb ft is spread between 2500 and 5500rpm. This is delivered to all four wheels by an eight-speed automatic transmission.
While the F-Pace SVR’s power figure trumps that of both the Stelvio Quadrifoglio and the previous GLC 63 S Coupé we road tested last year (both with 503bhp), at a claimed 2070kg it’s also the heaviest car of the three by a fair margin. We’ll discover what sort of effect this weight penalty has on the Jag’s straight-line performance in a few sections’ time.
The front and rear springs have been stiffened by 30% and 10% respectively for greater body control, and a new electronic active differential and brake-based torque vectoring system help maximise cornering traction. Larger brakes provide the stopping power to match the pace, while SVR-specific software governs the adaptive suspension, EPAS and Dynamic drive mode.
The car’s part-time, ‘hang-on’, rear-biased four-wheel-drive system can send as much as 90% of engine torque to the front axle in low-grip conditions, while adaptive dampers should help to provide decent comfort during everyday use.