First Drive

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR First Drive

More. Better. Louder. Yes, all of that.

  • Image Credit: Jaguar
  • Engine
    Supercharged 5.0L V8
  • Power
    575 HP / 516 LB-FT
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • 0-60 Time
    3.5 Seconds
  • Top Speed
    186–200 MPH
  • Drivetrain
    All-Wheel Drive
  • Engine Placement
  • Seating
  • Cargo
    14.4 CU FT
  • Base Price
Jaguar's F-Type SVR has a special new exhaust. I drove the car in Monterey, California, where there's this tunnel right in the middle of town. You see where I'm going with this.

The pipes attached to the "normal" F-Type R's supercharged 5.0-liter V8 is a flatulent riot, one of the most flamboyant wind sections in modern exhaust-dom. And then Jaguar's Special Vehicle Operations, the group of madmen responsible for the Project 7, comes along and rips it all out for the SVR. The room is needed for a rear diffuser, see. So a new system is fabbed using two fancy lightweight alloys, Inconel and titanium. A pair of mufflers sprout where one used to be. More. Better. Louder. Yes, all of that.

Geez it's loud. And there's this tunnel, remember. Enter it and lift from the throttle, and it sounds as though there are some kids stowed away in the trunk tossing handfuls of M-80s out the back. "Big report" is what it'd say on the box if the F-Type SVR were a firework. It's dramatic, perhaps excessive. Scratch that – it's definitely excessive.

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Startup and Exhaust Sound | Autoblog Short Cuts

This F-Type is only the second full-production effort from Jaguar Land Rover's SVO, the first being the Range Rover Sport SVR, and so it's also the first Jaguar SVR ever. Whereas that Range Rover combines quickness with surprising cross-country abilities, the F-Type SVR has a singular mission: Go faster. And so, with a tweak of the electronic limiter and some other fiddling, voila!, suddenly the coupe can reach a top speed of 200 mph. The convertible is not far behind at 195.

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

Although there aren't many places in the world where you'll actually want to probe those max velocities, the engine's 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque are plenty to risk your license. The SVR adopts many of the engine improvements that hoisted the Project 7 to the same power level but bests that very special car's torque figure thanks mostly to new intercoolers. Remember, the regular F-Type R is only good for 550 hp. Only. What a world we live in.

Aside from the added power, this is much more of a range-topping special trim than it is a significantly different model. Like the R, the SVR comes only with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Operating it in manual mode is more pleasant, in part because the paddle shifters behind the wheel are made out of aluminum instead of plastic like on other automatic F-Types. They feel nice, and the transmission shifts quickly and authoritatively, the generous torque spread helping if you're a gear higher than would be ideal. If companies keep calibrating automatics like this, manual-transmission enthusiasts will find less and less to grumble about.

Hours away from that tunnel in Monterey, hilly country offered a more neutral sound stage on which to evaluate the car's charms. Long straights and tight wood-lined sections revealed that the free-breathing pipes produce a rawer and flatter note than the R's exhaust. It's still pleasant, but the active exhaust valves don't quite let out enough rumble at idle. If you're paying for the most special F-Type around, you'd probably like to be reminded of it all the time. Ditch the fancy titanium valves and let the cat breathe free, I say. At least the thin-walled piping is good for a 35-pound weight savings.

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

Jaguar retuned the suspension for the SVR compared to the plain R – the front sway bar is thinner, the rear is thicker, and both the valving inside the continuously variable dampers and the software that controls them have been altered. Suspension response is stiff but not punishing, and a pleasant reminder that you're in something purposeful and special. But in Dynamic mode, the electric-assist power steering calibration and the wider Pirelli P Zero tires make the car seem much dartier than it actually is. Rough patches are amplified through the steering wheel even when the Jaguar isn't bent out of shape. Turning off Dynamic mode preserved all of the directness and accuracy, but quelled some of the frantic sawing at the wheel while also making the ride mellower. Maybe Dynamic mode's unnaturally hyperactive steering feedback works better on the track, but it's best switched off when driving enthusiastically on country roads.

In the midst of wrestling with the wheel, there were a few occasions when I overcooked it into a corner. Instead of scrubbing off speed, the SVR's electronics stepped in, and it felt a bit like some powerful unseen force was yanking the front end around. There are actually several unseen forces: the all-wheel-drive system, electronic rear differential, and brake-based torque vectoring system on the rear axle all work hard to slingshot you from one corner to the next. The SVR still doesn't feel like a true rear-drive car, even with a 90 percent rear torque bias in normal situations. Turn-in is sharp in Dynamic mode, but there's no denying that torque is being sent forward to give the front end a tug. To be fair to the SVR, it dealt with some ham-fisted driving on imperfect pavement without swapping ends, which is pretty nice behavior for a 575-hp car that can hit 200 mph.

Not that I did. However, I did go up the speedometer enough and back down again to fall in love with the carbon-ceramic brakes. Not long ago, this race-bred tech was squeaky, grabby, and worked poorly when cold. These binders, however, are sweethearts with a crushing grip that's easy to modulate and deadly serious when needed. The carbon-ceramics reduce unsprung weight by 46 pounds and are part of a $12,000 option pack that includes the 20-inch wheels they fit behind.

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

And let's not forget the exterior upgrades that allow that silly top speed and transform this F-Type into something special. The most prominent change is the large active rear spoiler, which Jaguar claims cuts lift and reduces drag. I claim it looks tacked on and comes close to spoiling the best lines on the car, but it definitely separates the SVR from lesser F-Types, and it's the piece that unlocks the extra top speed. You can go with the retractable spoiler that comes on other F-Types for no cost, but the stealthier look drops the top speed of both the SVR coupe and convertible down to 186 mph, taking some of the bragging rights with it.

One change I do like is the optional (and expensive) carbon-fiber roof. For $3,200, it takes the place of the large, heavy glass panel that comes standard, so in addition to looking cool it lowers the car's center of gravity. If you want to see more of the sky and are okay with some added weight and a lower top speed, choose the convertible. Revised grilles and $4,000 of optional carbon-fiber frosting finish off the exterior package. With no options, the SVR is 55 pounds lighter than the R, and if you go for all of the mass-reducing add-ons, the difference doubles to 110 pounds.

The SVR's interior feels distinctly special. I was drawn to the striking red leather interior of several of the SVRs Jaguar brought to Monterey, and particularly liked the quilted stitching pattern. The coupe's headliner is faux suede, which looked classy, and the same material covers the gauge hood and part of the dash top. A ghosted SVR logo, one of the car's few subtle touches, has been applied to the carbon-fiber piece above the center display. It all manages to avoid garishness.

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

An F-Type SVR coupe starts at $130,900. Look around at what you can get for that sort of money – in Monterey, during Pebble Beach weekend, you can't swing a fancy umbrella without hitting something comparable – and things become a little fuzzy. The Mercedes-AMG GT S rings in at about the same price and seems considerably more special, albeit with a horsepower deficiency. There are a bunch of flavors of Porsche 911 right in this neighborhood, too. At three years old, it's not like the undeniably pretty F-Type is long in the tooth, but this is a tough crowd – particularly when, as with the E-Type of old, part of the F-Type's sales pitch is world-class looks at a real-world price. A base coupe with the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is $62,350, and even the V8 R model is $30,00 less than the SVR.

Think about the F-Type SVR without the competitive set in mind for a second. For Jaguar, this car simply makes sense. Some buyers always want the most special version of a special car. The SVR starts at double the price of a V6 rear-drive F-Type, so mark that down in the specialness column. It looks different enough to seem special to the uninitiated and really special to those in the know. If the looks don't do it, just stand near a tunnel when the SVR is spitting and crackling like a wet log.

It's also fast, breathtakingly so – the fastest and most powerful full-production road car the company has ever made. And if you love Jaguars, that makes this the top cat and a definite future collectable. Maybe one day, the booming snaps heard 'round Monterey will come from a well-preserved F-Type SVR heading to the concours lawn for judging.

Related Video:

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR | 2016 Geneva Motor Show | Beauty-Roll

Jaguar F-TYPE Information

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