Jaguar introduced its first SUV model, the F-Pace, back in 2016. The move seemed slightly unnecessary at the time since the Land Rover brand already had the SUV market covered, but the F-Pace quickly became Jaguar's best-selling model by a wide margin. Not long after, Jaguar unleashed its Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division on the F-Pace, creating the hardcore Jaguar F-Pace SVR model. For the 2021 model year, the F-Pace receives the most significant facelift since its introduction, with updated styling, new technology, and a massively improved interior. The 2021 Jaguar F-Pace SVR sits atop the lineup with a 550-horsepower, 516-lb-ft supercharged V8 engine, enabling a 0-60 mph sprint time of only 3.8 seconds.
The F-Pace SVR competes with rivals like the BMW X3 M and Mercedes-AMG GLC 63, which are both cheaper in standard guise but also less powerful. All three vehicles are similarly quick with 0-60 mph runs done and dusted in under four seconds. However, the Jag provides an even more special sensory experience with its stunning design and what is probably the best engine soundtrack of any SUV currently on sale. Yes, even the mighty Lamborghini Urus pales in comparison.
The previous incarnation of the F-Pace SVR made a spectacular noise, but it wasn't that fast off the line. An Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio easily outpaced the F-Pace even with less power. For 2021, Jag took care of this minor niggle by including a launch feature, reducing the 0 to 60 mph time down from 4.1 to 3.8 seconds. It also helps that the V8 now has 14 lb-ft of torque more than before. The brakes have also been improved, and the new bodywork reduces lift by 35 percent.
On the inside, there are new performance-inspired materials, Jaguar Land Rover's new Pivi Pro infotainment software, and an all-new 11.4-inch touchscreen. These changes add up to make the F-Pace SVR feel more worthy of its substantial price tag.
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5.0L Supercharged V8 Gas
In its normal setting, the F-Pace SVR tends to feel a bit sleepy, with light steering, smooth shifts, an even smoother ride, and a slightly lazy response from the throttle. The F-Pace SVR is shockingly supple for a performance vehicle, until you play around with its drive modes. Place the vehicle into its Dynamic setting, and every component wakes up. The light steering gets more weighty, those smooth shifts become more aggressive, the pillowy ride transforms into a masochistic experience, the throttle feels more alert, and the exhaust goes into angry mode. Thankfully, Jaguar lets you create a customized drive mode, so we suggest going Dynamic on every setting, except the suspension. An Eco Mode is available too, and we suggest forgetting it even exists.
In the pantheon of performance SUVs that feel like sports cars, the F-Pace SVR ranks highly, but not at the top. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio and both Porsche SUVs, the Macan and Cayenne, still provide more connected feedback to the driver. With those three excluded, we can't think of any other SUVs at a similar price point that drive this well. In fairness to the Jag, what it lacks in raw enjoyment, it more than makes up for in other areas. We've already discussed the engine, which emits a better racket than any other SUV on the market, Aston Martin and Lamborghini included. Then there's the ride comfort, which greatly surpasses the Stelvio, even in this hardcore SVR guise. The F-Pace SVR outclasses most of its high-performance competition on daily livability, which is why we think it's an outstanding all-arounder.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The F-Pace SVR is quite a unique proposition in the performance SUV segment. We know there isn't a shortage of options, but few hit the balance as nicely as the SVR. Some competitors ride too harshly, while others feel a bit clinical. The SVR will give you all the thrills while being a comfortable, compliant companion. As a typical SUV, it also hits all of the correct targets. It's spacious, has a decently large trunk, and a plush interior. The list of standard features is highly impressive, not to mention the standard maintenance plan. Our main gripe with the old model was the infuriatingly laggy infotainment system. You'd press the button to skip to the next song, and by the time the car responded, the artist released two new albums. The new system isn't perfect, but it's a big step in the right direction.
If we were in the market for a high-performance midsize SUV, the F-Pace SVR would be near the top of our list. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV is slightly more fun at the limit, but is smaller and makes too many compromises to be our pick. The Porsche Cayenne drives better than the Jag but in Turbo guise, it's far more expensive. Then again, the SVR is closer in size to compact SUVs like the BMW X3 M and Mercedes-AMG GLC 63, and those are more affordable. Still, the SVR's many attributes, including the best exhaust note present on any SUV today, make the Jag feel like a winner.
The Macan Turbo is a tough competitor, but the Jag beats it in a few departments. 550 hp trumps 434 hp. And even with the optional Sports Chrono Package included, the Macan Turbo still wouldn't be able to keep up with the Jag in a straight line. But not all roads aren't straight, and that's where the Porsche ekes ahead. It has an excellent chassis that gets the most out of its twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6. As a driving tool, the Macan is a better car. As an SUV, the Jag is better. It has more space both on the inside and in the trunk. It's also more comfortable.
And we simply can't rule out that V8 soundtrack. Soon, supercharged V8s will be a thing of the past. Is the Jag endearing enough to lure you out of a Porsche? We think so, yes.
For years, we've argued that a high-riding SUV could never feel like a sports car. And then Alfa launched the Stelvio Q and proved us all wrong. It has one of the most sublime twin-turbo V6 engines ever produced, easily matching the Jag's intoxicating exhaust output. Alfa keeps on denying that Ferrari helped with the engine, but if you lobbed two cylinders off the 458's V8, this is what you'd get. The bore and stroke match precisely. Coincidence? Who cares?
Like the SVR, the Alfa has an eight-speed gearbox, but it comes with a set of column-mounted oversized paddles that are a joy to use. Put the Alfa in Race mode, and the car will urge you to use them. The Alfa's steering is razor-sharp and communicative. Unnervingly so, perhaps. You can't take your eyes off the road for a second because the Alfa will change three lanes. It may only have 505 hp, but it takes just 3.6 seconds to get to 60 mph. We adore the Stelvio Q and wouldn't hesitate for a second to give Alfa our hard-earned money. But keep in mind, the Stelvio is not a soothing car. If you want a driver's SUV, this is it. If you want something more balanced, get either the Macan or SVR.
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