There's no way to sugarcoat it. The 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR is clinically insane. With 423kW of power it's the most powerful and fastest Jaguar ever — but what's it like to drive?
Speed builds, 250...280...290...300km/h, before we jump hard on to the carbon ceramic brakes. The 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR is not just fast, it's the fastest and most powerful Jaguar built since the limited edition XJ220, with power matching the limited edition F-Type Project 7, and it sounds incredible.
This isn't just a go-fast Jag either. It's the first set of Jaguar models to be honed and crafted by Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) group.
Powering the F-Type SVR is a tuned version of Jaguar's iconic 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine producing 423kW of power and a whopping 700Nm of torque. It also sports an all-wheel drive system and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, to deliver a lightning fast 0-100km/h time of 3.7 seconds.
What's more impressive are the 322km/h and 314km/h respective top speeds for the coupe and convertible. The huge top speed comes courtesy of a new carbon-fibre wing that reduces drag by around 2.5 per cent and offers a lift coefficient reduction of 15 per cent. The new wing works in unison with a smooth underfloor and unique rear diffuser to help improve aerodynamics.
The F-Type range kicks off with an entry level supercharged V6, priced from $119,830 plus on-road costs. The range-topping SVR, however, starts from $289,590 (coupe) and $308,470 (convertible), making the convertible version the most expensive Jaguar on sale in Australia.
Weight saving was the name of the game for the F-Type SVR with SVO engineers working hard to shed as much weight as possible. The end result was a minimum weight reduction of 25kg and maximum weight reduction of 50kg with all lightweight options selected.
The changes include an aluminium rear suspension knuckle that is designed to sharpen turn in by stiffening the rear axle. The new component, which is 600g lighter than the current rear suspension knuckle, allows for a 37 per cent increase in camber stiffness and 41 per cent increase in toe stiffness.
The next area engineers worked on to reduce weight was the exhaust system. The titanium and Inconel (a nickel alloy containing containing chromium and iron) retains the hellish snarl of the V8 F-Type, but helps reduce weight by 16kg in comparison to its steel counterpart. The new exhaust helps reduce back pressure and also offers improved thermal efficiency.
Arguably, the most important weight saving comes from the brake system. The standard steel stoppers measure 380mm up front and 376mm at the rear, but for those after proper stopping power, Jaguar offers a carbon ceramic package that offers 390mm carbon ceramic rotors up front with six-piston calipers, while the rear comes in at 380mm with four-piston calipers.
The final weight saving options come in the form of a carbon-fibre roof and lightweight 20-inch forged aluminium wheels, which round out to offer a total saving of 50kg over the R AWD.
Inside the cabin, not much has changed from the F-Type R. The interior layout is very much the same with the F-Type now getting Jaguar's 8.0-inch InControl Touch and InControl Touch Plus infotainment systems. Each offers a 380W and 770W Meridian sound system respectively.
An intuitive InControl Remote phone application allows drivers to remotely start, lock/unlock, precondition and check vehicle statistics from the comfort of their smartphone.
Unique anodised aluminium shift paddles are larger than those in other F-Type models, which make changing gears even easier.
Technically, the F-Type SVR ticks all the right boxes in terms of performance and weight saving, but does it manage to translate all of that to on-road and track performance?
We spent over 300km behind the wheel of the F-Type SVR coupe and convertible over a mix of highway, sweeping country roads and tight mountainous stretches, with a session at the incredible Motorland Aragon race track thrown in for good measure.
Jaguar's electrically-assisted steering system works a charm at low speeds manoeuvring the F-Type through tight spaces. It then offers a higher level of resistance and feel as speed increases.
In the vehicle's regular driving mode, there is a rasp of V8 rumble that beams confidently from the exhaust system, making the car very liveable and easy to place.
Visibility out the front and rear is good, but can be hampered by the narrow rear window and new spoiler.
All of the vehicles we tested came with the optional carbon ceramic brakes, which felt fine at low speeds. None of the vehicles had the characteristic squeal of carbon ceramic brakes either, which can affect a lot of these types of vehicles.
Driving the F-Type SVR in its normal driving mode offers a great balance between throttle response from the supercharged V8 and ride comfort.
SVO engineers worked to refine the ride by changing elements of the suspension damping. A recalibrated and unique damper tune now offers a compression/rebound ratio that nears 1:1. Rebalanced valving and retuned software, in addition to a separate tune for the Dynamic mode, mean that the F-Type SVR can be driven in comfort around town, while easily changed to offer a sporty ride in its Dynamic mode.
In addition to ride changes, Jaguar worked with Pirelli to homologate a unique tyre for the F-Type SVR. Measuring 265mm at the front and 305mm at the rear, the P Zero tread is 10mm wider than the F-Type's R sibling.
Admittedly, we didn't stay in the comfort mode for very long. We flicked over to Dynamic, which immediately firms up the ride, increases vocal response from the exhaust and allows the rear wing to deploy.
In its extended position, the rear wing dramatically reduces the drag and lift coefficients by 7.5 and 45 per cent respectively (as opposed to 2.5 and 15 per cent in its lowered position).
In the Dynamic mode, the throttle becomes even sharper and the gearbox more aggressive. The exhaust sound can only be described as totally and utterly ridiculous.
Under full throttle it bellows a deep and menacing note that gradually increases to a scream as the car approaches redline. Downshifts sound like gunshots, while feathering the throttle on the overrun produces machine gun-esque fire from the rear.
The Jaguar F-Type SVR is absolutely one of the most insane sounding standard cars on the market — forget AMG, or anything with an M badge on it, they don't have a lick on Jaguar's genius exhaust tuning work.
It would only be appropriate for us to take on the race track to see whether this purring kitty has suitable levels of bite.
Motorland Aragon is located around three hours west of Barcelona and features more than 5km of track used each year for the MotoGP world championship. The track features incredible elevation changes, a challenging corkscrew and a huge straight.
With track temperatures sitting at around 30 degrees Celsius, we went out for a familiarisation run with with a professional driver. It wasn't long before we slipped behind the wheel to sample the F-Type SVR at its full potential.
Let's not hide the fact that this F-Type SVR weighs in from 1705kg. It's not as nimble as a Porsche 911, in particular the recently superseded but price-competitive 911 GT3.
The all-wheel drive system adds weight, but it's necessary weight given the 423kW of power on tap, which needs an all-paw outlet for its 700Nm of neck-wrenching torque.
With that said, patient inputs and gradual throttle applications offer a rewarding drive. The high speed circuit offers a mix of tight corners and huge high velocity straights.
We found that the car would tend to oversteer more than understeer, indicating that the front axle would demand torque to tuck the front end in, as opposed to some all-wheel drive systems that push too much torque to the front.
The tyres offered plenty of grip, but started to lose effectiveness after a couple of laps. With that said, they offered a progressive decline in grip, as opposed to just falling off a wall unexpectedly.
The steering offered excellent amounts of feedback with wheel-mounted paddle shifters easy to grab and operate at any time. In the vehicle's Dynamic mode, one push of the traction control button allows the vehicle to enter Track DSC mode, which limits stability control intervention to a degree that allows freedom of movement.
With an advertised top speed of 200mph (around 322km/h) we barrelled around turns 10 and 11, which roll on to the back straight. On the exit of turn 11 it was flat to the board winding out fifth gear before pulling the lever for sixth.
It's at the end of sixth gear that we just nudged 300km/h with a feeling of stability and control before jumping hard on to the carbon ceramic brakes to pull the F-Type up. A brief squirm under hard braking reminded us of the fact we were slowing down from an incredible velocity of almost 84 metres per second (picture that in your mind for a second).
After a solid lap of driving, we found that the brakes began presenting signs of fade. Carbon ceramic brakes inherently won't do this at the hands of an amateur driver like yours truly for a number of laps, which suggests it could have been the fluids or pads prematurely fading.
We spoke with at least two other drivers that experienced the same issue in different cars.
This problem aside, the F-Type SVR really blew us away. When you get the thought of driving this car like a 911 out of your head, it all begins to make sense.
It's a big car with an equally big engine. When you find the right balance between control and power, it's an incredibly rewarding drive that delivers in spades.
It's impossible to get past the engine and exhaust note. It is music to the ears and a soundtrack you won't find in any other car in this price tag.
We came away incredibly impressed with the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR. The coupe offers razor sharp performance, while the convertible offers equal performance with the added benefit of literally no scuttle shake and an audio soundtrack that takes things to the next level.
Tunnels in the F-Type SVR convertible are an excuse to open up the taps and listen to the glorious exhaust note. In fact, we went through one tunnel three times just for the fun of it. Not to mention the small villages with closed in buildings we terrorised with V8 bellow.
Sure, a Porsche 911 drives better at speed and offers more precise dynamics, but nothing can match the F-Type SVR for sheer driving enjoyment and bragging rights. Not to mention that rear end...stunning.
We're looking forward to getting behind the wheel locally and soaking up some of our favourite roads.
We took a VBox PerformanceBox with us to see just how quick the F-Type SVR really is. With the VBox set to miles per hour mode, we did 0-60mph, 0-100mph and 0-100-0mph.
- 0-60mph: 3.5s
- 0-100mph: 8.2s
- 0-100-0mph: 13.2s
- Peak acceleration/deceleration g: 1.06g/1.32g
- 100-0mph: 3.8s over 82.6m
Watch the video above to get an idea of just how quick this thing is.