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We've driven the Jaguar F-Type SVR in the UK. What does this 567bhp range-topping brute have to offer, seeing as it costs more than £100,000?
Matt Prior
12 August 2016

What is it?

The Jaguar F-Type SVR, which we’re trying today in the UK for the first time after having a go overseas a few months ago. Since then, a Jaguar F-Type coupé found its way into an Autocar group test and rather impressed us. It was a base model V6, on modest wheels, and everybody who drove it came away thinking it made a rather lovely GT car. It was smooth and relaxing with a fine ride, yet an interior that set out to impress, and a raspy six-cylinder noise that meant to do the same. Its entry-level price was a little over £50,000.

This SVR model is an F-Type that’s trying to be something else entirely. It’s was developed by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division, so SVO makes SVR, confusingly, and it’s effectively the former range-topping F-Type R taken up another couple of notches. The SVR is powered by a 5.0-litre V8, as is the R, but instead of 542bhp it has 567bhp and, because that has been deemed more than enough to be put through an F-Type’s rear wheels, thanks very much, it has four-wheel drive as standard to calm things down a bit. 4WD is optional in the R.

It's certainly not a bad idea: a rear-driven R is pretty full-on, all the time. If it were a child, it’d be the kind who rounds the bannister making tyre squealing and engine noises on its way up to bed, even after a long day. The SVR, despite a power (and price) increase, is meant to be less irrepressible. The more sensible older brother. Slightly more sensible, at any rate, because it now costs £110,000 in entry-level form and will do 200mph if you leave the extravagant carbonfibre rear wing in place; a deployable one is a no-cost delete option, but then aerodynamic lift limits the SVR to 186mph. That price, though, doesn’t include carbon ceramic brakes, which you have to have in a pack with a wheel upgrade for £8570, and it doesn’t include a £2550 carbonfibre roof, which is 20% lighter than an aluminium one; chuck on some other extras too, especially even yet more carbonfibre outside, and it’s pretty easy to make this a £130,000 car.

What's it like?

On the road it’s a mix of sensible and not-so sensible. On the wild front it still makes a fairly extraordinary noise. It’s been a while since we drove a regular F-Type R but the NASCAR-redolent sound seems on even fuller volume here when you want it to be, and throttle response is incredibly sharp – it’s supercharged, not turbocharged, remember, so there’s never any lag to worry about. It bangs on the overrun with the best of them.

Lots of throttle in the rear-driven R would be accompanied by a chirrup of tyre and a rapidly flashing ESP light (or a lot of tyre smoke if you’d turned that off), but the SVR copes with the extra urge just fine.

That it has four-wheel drive as standard makes going around bends more stable, so it now generates exceptional levels of lateral grip without the rear tyres deciding to bring a conventional cornering line to a premature end. Massively unlike the old Jaguar XKR-S, then, which had comical rear grip and was also as brittle as a board. The SVR’s nothing like that in this respect, either. It’s firm, sure, but there’s a welcome level of suppleness to it. Perhaps that’s another reason it feels more composed, more often, than an R; it keeps the tyres in more frequent contact with the road. It’s the most grown-up, ludicrous range-topping Jaguar for a while.

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It steers nicely, too, with more heft and feel than from other F-Types – certainly a lot more than the V6 models. Curious as it sounds, a part suede-like steering wheel (£565) helps; that kind of material always does seem to promote feel.

Should I buy one?

Our preference remains with lesser F-Types, but there’s lots to like here. The F-Type SVR is the confident older brother with a bit of swagger and a slightly bullying underside, who maybe tries a bit hard and... look, I’ll be honest, I think I’ve taken this analogy quite a lot further than it merited. Hopefully you get the idea, though.

It’s just that, as the numbers start hitting six figures, and when only a couple of options can lift the price towards £130,000, F-Type SVR’s rivals start getting awfully serious, awfully quickly. It lands itself in the realms of the Aston Martin Vantage, Audi R8, McLaren 570S, Mercedes-AMG GT and Porsche 911 Turbo. It just about holds its own up here, but it finds life rather easier against softer, cheaper company.

Jaguar F-Type SVR

Price £110,000; On sale now; Engine V8, 5000cc, supercharged, petrol; Power 567bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 516lb ft at 3500-5000rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1705kg; 0-62mph 3.7sec; Top speed 200mph; Economy 25.0mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 269g/km, 37% Rivals , Mercedes-AMG GT, Porsche 911 Turbo

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Comments
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RednBlue 16 August 2016

Comical grip?

I don't remember Autocar saying - when they tested the Jaguar XKR-S - that it had "comical rear grip". The review was (as always happens with JLR new products) full of praise, with no major flaws brought to evidence. Probably in a few years' time we will find the truth on the F-Type SVR as well.
Acollin5 14 August 2016

Rrrrrrrrrr!

F-Type R is a great sounding car. Admittedly any self respecting owner closes the exhaust valves whilst driving through housing estates - a little too enthusiastic for your non petrolheads.

Have owned a few interesting cars including Vantage, Cayman, Elise etc and F-Type R is a high on the smiles per mile meter. A fun car to drive too - a British Bruiser. Granted it may not have the delicacy of a Porsche but then that's not it's design brief. See CH's review - spot on!

The world is a better place with the F-Type R/SVR in it.

SVR also has a lot of nice carbon-fibre details closer up that you don't see in a magazine pic - yes even THAT back spoiler!

BertoniBertone 13 August 2016

Stretching the envelope.....

It just goes to show that there's still a bit of 'makeshift' about the F-Type's platform. 'Yes' upto to £ 65 K (and I'm talking used Rs, too, here since who'd actually buy one at full RRP...) but a resounding 'No', 'no' and thrice 'no' to over £ 100K. Sorry, but it can't stretch that far. I'd advise getting the new SVR chassis settings and interior back down the range where it desperately need it. I drove a MY 2016 manual V6-S recently and whilst being a decent drive the interior, given its market segment aspiration, was...mmmm.....shall we say....sub-optimal. Madmac has a point: this or any AWD F-Type or a TTRS ? That really shouldn't be a comparison that should work but if JLR don't address these weaknesses the F-Type is destined for a 'buy used at silly prices' medium- and longterm future which, for all members of UK Plc, is not great news, is it....?

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