Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

The SVR’s soundtrack makes much of its performance potential, its tone being more suggestive of something from Talladega than what you might normally associate with rural Warwickshire. And in fairness to Jaguar, the figures – 542bhp and 502lb ft – are every bit as serious as they need to be in order to compete with those rival efforts from Porsche and Alfa. A 5000cc displacement and supercharging also help deliver that motive force over a deliciously broad spread, with peak torque arriving at 2500rpm and lingering until 5500rpm before power peaks 500rpm later. 

It’s a wonderful powerplant in practical terms, too. Were it any more responsive to the throttle in Dynamic mode, it might even make the driving experience uncomfortable – at least in the context of a car weighing well over two tonnes. As it is, you’ll not find any turbocharged competitor so crisply reactive, and yet the swell of torque at low engine speeds makes progress graceful even when the eight-speed gearbox doesn’t kickdown, as it won’t so readily in the car’s less energetic drive modes. The torque converter unit doesn’t have quite the rapidity of a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, but its graceful shifts are more in keeping with the SVR’s composed character, and, more importantly, it is refined at low road and engine speeds. 

Disappointing that the SVR’s engine doesn’t assert its dominance more forcefully, but rest assured: the F-Pace is quick. It needs to run all the way to the standing km mark to overhaul a GLC 63 S – but it gets there eventually.

Just how quick is this super-SUV, then? Without a launch control function, our best 0-60mph of 4.1sec betters the official claims but can’t match our figures for the Stelvio Quadrifoglio (4.0sec) or the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupé (3.7sec). Through the important real-world metric of 30-70mph, the Jaguar was again slower than those rivals both through the gears and when locked in fourth, but the margin was a matter of mere tenths. The SVR – larger and heavier than those rivals – also stopped supremely well, with less pitch than we were expecting and its 295-section front Pirelli P Zero tyres biting hard into the surface of the test track. 

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Ultimately, the SVR never feels quite as explosively quick as its fierce exhaust tuning would have you believe, but at £75,000 there can be few complaints about the level of performance on offer. Moreover, this powertrain blends docility with theatre, and engagement with the kind of breadth of ability that makes every daily trip an easy-going pleasure. The ‘AJ133’ V8 is now a decade old and its days are surely numbered, but it remains a deeply loveable anachronism, and when it finally goes it will be sorely missed.