by Roger Biermann
Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division is responsible for the hottest one off models and production range-toppers Jaguar manufacture – including the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 which proved to be a test bed for the development and eventual release of the Jaguar F-Type SVR Convertible. It features improved aerodynamics, a custom crafted titanium inconel exhaust, all-wheel drive, and the most potent version of the family-sourced supercharged V8 under the hood, taking the F-Type from sports car to supercar rivaling potential in the blink of an eye – even boasting a higher top speed than the famed Jaguar XJ220 supercar.
In the F-Type SVR coupe, head room posed a problem for taller drivers and passengers. However in convertible guise, that’s all taken care of. In this setting, the power retractable soft top roof takes 12 seconds to lower and 15 seconds to raise – eliminating head room problems and giving the vocal V8 another way to make itself heard. With the roof down though, the trunk is barely usable for anything more than a shopping bag or two – and even with the roof closed, storage space is vastly compromised.
The interior appointments are luxurious though – with 12-way power adjustable bucket seats clad in rich leather with contrast stitching. The seats are supportive and offer impressive side bolstering suitable for larger and smaller occupants, without much discomfort. They’re the highlight of an otherwise impressive interior that can be equipped with a range of finishes including carbon fiber trim and additional leather on some elements.
If at all possible, forget for a moment the howling V8. The chassis is the real gem in the F-Type SVR Convertible, taking the same setup as the F-Type R AWD and tweaking it further for greater drivability. Wider Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires stick to the road like a cat to your grandma’s curtains, with all-wheel drive ensuring all-weather performance.
The trick AWD system is by default rear-wheel drive, until the rear tires spin enough when torque is sent to the front axle. The result is a drive that feels rear-wheel drive balanced, with adjustability on the throttle and a tendency towards oversteer, but with the unrelenting grip, pace, and composure of an all-wheel drive car. Adaptive dampers feature revised valving in SVR guise, and along with stiffer rear suspension and a thinner front anti-roll bar they change the feel of the SVR completely without compromising on comfort.
The supercharged 5.0-liter V8 is a staple within the Jaguar Land Rover family. But after fettling from the SVO division, power outputs in this instance climb to 575 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission, with 0-60mph taking just 3.5 seconds. The howling soundtrack is given an extra edge by a new lightweight titanium inconel alloy exhaust system, which also improves performance. Jaguar claim the SVR convertible will top out at 195mph, 6mph short of the coupe’s top speed due to extra aerodynamic drag.
In addition to power adjustment, the SVR specific seats are heated too, adding to a list of extensive standard features that includes navigation, power adjustable steering, ambient lighting, cruise control, single-zone climate, and an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system with Meridian sound system.
Front and rear parking sensors are also standard, as well as a rear-view camera. The SVR features ABS and EBD brakes with available carbon ceramic discs, rollover protection, four airbags, electronic stability control, and a valet mode to ensure your pride and joy doesn’t become somebody’s joyride.
Forget any preconceived ideas you had about Jaguar not producing supercars, because the F-Type SVR Convertible is as good as it gets! Intoxicating noises are only surpassed by incredible chassis dynamics, thrilling all-wheel drive system, and looks to make you weak at the knees.