- Epic noise
- Head-turning looks
- Surprisingly comfortable
- Steering can be too twitchy
- Not a million miles from the R
Having driven the V8-powered ‘MY18’ Jaguar F-Type SVR Convertible on road and track, it was now time to see how the F-Type SVR Coupe compares.
You could almost buy a budget McLaren or Porsche for the £110,880 the F-Type SVR costs before extras and, if you did, you would be in possession of serious performance for your money.
Not that the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 in the SVR lacks poke because 567bhp is still plenty and its 0-62mph time of 3.7 seconds still fast. But it is a big sports car that weighs a considerable amount yet only provides two seats and a comically small boot. Why bother?
We struggled to see the point initially, especially as the V6 S F-Type offers a lot of fun at a much lower price. Even the lowly V6 will do enthusiasts proud – just not the dull-sounding four-cylinder, as we find that is one step too far into compromise for us.
You know what, though? The F-Type SVR Coupe provides one of the most exciting engine noises in a long time. At a time when synthetic noise is being used to combat the move into pint-sized displacements, it is even easier to appreciate.
The range-topping Jaguar also manages to turn heads with considerable vigour so if it’s attentiont you want, attention you will get. How does it drive though, and should you go convertible or coupe? We borrowed an MY18 car for a week to find out.
Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe review: What makes it an SVR?
Even though the F-Type R and F-Type SVR share the same 5.0-litre supercharged V8, all-wheel drive system and eight-speed automatic, the latter is king of the litter. Getting the help of Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division has resulted in a more honed weapon.
Power is up 25bhp to 567bhp, while torque is up by 15lb/ft for a total of 516lb/ft. The 0-62mph is said to be 3.7 seconds and the top speed somewhere around 200mph (195mph for the Convertible), making it the fastest F-Type ever, too.
Then there are the multitude of SVO tweaks such as adjusting the ratio of the gears, widening the tyres, adding new dampers (but keeping the spring rates the same), sharpening the steering and replacing the old exhaust system with one made of titanium and iconel – a move that saves 16kg.
Yet the overall aim of the most powerful F-Type ever was to remain usable on a day to day basis, presumably to make it easy to pose. Nobody in a Porsche 911 will be too worried once they know the two-door, two-seater Jaguar weighs upwards of 1,700kg.
Opting for the fetching carbon fibre roof, carbon ceramic brakes and carbon styling pack can save you 25kg and make the F-Type SVR look that little bit more special although it will take an enthusiasts to notice the difference over the non-carbon-specced SVR.
Our F-Type SVR Coupe press car cost £112,680, which is considerably more than the £92,660 F-Type R. Going for the Convertible will cost you another £6,000. At least you get a better (but still not brilliant) infotainment system and suitably lavish interior.
Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe review: How does it handle?
You would expect the SVR badge to bring with it a level of brute force and harshness missing from the rest of the range, yet the reality is that the overall way it rides is eerily close to every other F-Type. Jitter is present at low speeds, for instance, but imperfections are smoothed over as you pick up pace.
Body roll is non-existent and the firm quality of the F-Type SVR is really felt when you hit the bigger pot holes, mainly because they chuck you off course, but it never becomes unbearable because of an underlying suppleness present throughout the range.
In the standard drive mode, the 5.0-litre V8 is bottlenecked by a slow-to-react eight-speed automatic. Combined with the accelerator pedal, which is a too sensitive up top, and you get a lot of noise but not a lot of go until the F-Type SVR works out what gear is best.
Supposedly, the 3.7-second 0-62mph undersells the potency, but in reality it never feels as snappy or savage as, say, Audi’s naturally aspirated V10. Even with the SVR’s all-wheel drive system working competently behind the scenes.
Still, you can be doing 30mph one second and breaking the limit a couple later, with huge amounts of torque in the mid-range letting you overtake virtually anything you want, whenever you want.
Tuck into Sport mode and hesitance becomes delicious urgency. By holding each gear for longer, you can savour the V8 and every pop and bang from the exhaust while enjoying forward motion that is just as potent as the noise.
Jaguar’s all-wheel drive system is a sensible pairing in the UK, because it means you can use the F-Type SVR come rain or shine. In the wet, it means you can pull away rapidly without ending up backwards and in the dry it means you can make use of the horsepower more of the time.
The SVR’s tyres are about three miles wide and, therefore, perfect at enhancing the F-Type SVR’s planted nature. They also provide huge amounts of grip so you drive along country B-roads way faster than most people would ever dare.
Sometimes the tyres can tramline and the gentleness at which you need to provide counter-steer to stay on course gets tiring. Cruising along the bumpy, uneven roads of the New Forest, we really had to concentrate to keep the F-Type SVR out of the ditch.
Having to man-handle quite so much can eat into the enjoyment, but the flip-side is that it does help keep you to more sensible speeds – and out of the hedge.
Hiding its weight is something the F-Type does manages rather well and the SVR does it even better than its siblings, with exception to the significantly lighter four-cylinder version. This is partly down to the light steering and an eager front end that make it very capable of rapid direction changes, while decent overall balance and stability helps the back-end play nice when you want it to.
In a track setting, the F-Type SVR can feel out of its depth, especially as the carbon ceramic stoppers struggle to make it stop as fast as we would have liked.
On a road, however, and the scariest cat in the F-Type family shines impeccably. The noise, sensation of speed and sense of occasion the SVR model conjures up really is special. A 911 would be faster, yes, but you can be stuck in traffic and feel good.
Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe review: Coupe or Convertible?
The price of losing the roof is typically high, but the penalty for open-top motoring is relatively small for the F-Type because it was designed as a convertible from day one. It’s not like the BMW M4, where you gain 250kg or so in weight.
The F-Type SVR is already a heavy car and the on-paper gains of the slightly lighter coupe are hard to notice in a real-world setting. Therefore we would go for the convertible, if only to let you enjoy the soundtrack to its fullest and top up on vitamin D every now and then.
Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe review: What about the running costs?
Suitably high, to be honest. You will live at a fuelling station if you dare to drive it hard and the CO2 emissions of 269g/km are hefty, although this is a supercharged V8 of gigantic proportions so credit to Jaguar for attempting to take the edge off.
We saw something approaching 20mph when we really tried, but those wanting to save the planet and reduce their carbon footprint will want to look at the V6 or four-cylinder. The SVR cares most about performance, as it should.
Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe review: Should I buy one, then?
Compared to its rivals such as the Mercedes-AMG GTS or Aston Martin Vantage V12, the F-Type SVR offers a more intoxicating drive. It has its quirks, admittedly, but the overall package is predominantly enthralling.
That and the fact the F-Type SVR looks amazing, gets supercar levels of attention and creates one of the best-sounding engine notes of any new car on sale all make it very tempting, indeed, even with such a premium over the standard R.
|Engine||5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol|
|Acceleration||0-62mph in 3.7 seconds (top speed 200mph)|
|Emissions||269g/km of CO2|
|Price||From £110,880 (£113,285 tested)|