Jaguar F-Type SVR — Stylish and quick

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We believe the Jaguar F-Type coupe and roadster will go down as one of the most distinctive styling exercises of the decade. The sports car is strikingly beautiful from all angles, a styling marvel and a true work of automotive sculpture. It features an athletic stance sitting low with muscular front fenders and rear haunches, an oversized front grille, and aggressive air intakes. Its beauty draws stares.

The Jaguar started life as a roadster in 2014 with a choice of three engines — a 3.0-liter V-6 making 340 horsepower, a more powerful 3.0-liter offering 380 horsepower and a 5.0-liter V-8 developing 495 horsepower. In 2015, the coupe was added to the lineup and the horsepower was upped to 550 in an R edition. Last year a manual transmission was offered in the V-6 editions.

And next year, the F-Type will be available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The new base engine presumably will make the gorgeous F-Type available to more people with a starting price of $61,000.

But the best so far made its debut in 2017, tagged the F-Type SVR, a high-performance variant of the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 making 575 horsepower mated to an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters that not only offers breathtaking performance, but upgrades including a beefed up suspension, revised front and rear fascias that aid in airflow, and a carbon-fiber active spoiler that deploys at about 70 mph. The SVR also gets great-looking 20-inch wheels and massive 15 inch diameter rear disc brakes. And part of the standard SVR package is the high-performance Carbon Ceramic Matrix braking system.

This new beast is extremely fast with 0-to-60 measured in a scant 3.3 seconds and a quarter mile in 11.6 seconds @ 123 mph. We found it one of the most invigorating driving experiences we've enjoyed in recent times, perhaps since we drove the R version about a year ago.

Power delivery is linear and reaching highway speed is remarkably effortless. Flick a switch into the Dynamic mode, and the sports car turns into a wild, snarling beast. The incredible engine roar emitted from the four tailpipes sends shivers up the spine and elevates adrenaline levels. It is automotive music at its best.

While straight-line performance is exceptional, the Jaguar SVR acquits itself quite nicely on the curving back roads thanks in part to light and predictable steering and to the standard torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. Brake cooling is optimized via under-body channeling of air

The SVR Jaguar has lost a bit of weight despite its massive amount of equipment because of the extensive use of carbon fiber. In addition to the rear spoiler, the roof, hood louvers, front spoiler and side vents are all made of carbon fiber

All this performance while maintaining a very civilized ride for the 90 percent of time spent cruising the streets and highways. Jaguar has a way of squeezing out great performance without sacrificing the luxury of driving an expensive car. The F-Type throws out the welcome mat asking you to please sit in one of the finest interiors in the business.

Inside the F-Type you will find the usual Jaguar attention to detail with top-quality materials and high-tech features. You will also find plenty of reminders that this is a take-no-prisoners sports car with well-bolstered seating, a gearshift level that falls right to hand, and a digital speedometer feature for quick reading.

While the cent
er display might be a bit convoluted, we like the six pre-set radio buttons on the large screen, which are easy to program and make changing a station on the fly a snap. We also like the large knobs provided for the climate control system. Found in the exquisite cabin is the new telematics system called InControl; and additionally an instrument cluster that has been updated to include more advanced digital-display features.

Tuned by Meridian the F-Type SVR has as standard equipment a 770-Watt surround sound tuner with a separate digital amplifier playing through 12 speakers, including a subwoofer. HD Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio are standard on the SVR as well.

Obviously, the SVR is the most expensive Jaguar whether in coupe or roadster configuration with the price taking it into supercar territory. But the rewards are many and virtually all the F-Type options available on lesser models come without extra cost on the SVR. The coupe we drove carried a price tag of $126,945 including destination charge and $132,283 for the convertible we drove.

Base price: $126,945; as driven, $126,945
Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V-8
Horsepower: 575 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque: 516 pound-feet @ 3,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: all-wheel
Wheelbase: 103.2 inches
Length: 176 inches
Curb weight: 3,753 pounds
Turning circle: 37.8 feet
Luggage capacity: 11 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gallons (premium)
EPA rating: 15 city, 23 highway, 18 overall
0-60: 3.3 seconds (MotorWeek)
Also consider: Corvette Z-06, Mercedes S550, BMW M6

The Good
• Potent performance
• Outstanding handling qualities
• Exceptional styling inside and out

The Bad
• Big price increase over the performance R version

The Ugly
• Lack of storage room up front