by Jared Rosenholtz
The engineers within Jaguar's Special Vehicle Operations unit must have a lot of fun. Mostly unbridled by the restrictions that come with producing lower-priced, mainstream vehicles, they get to go all-out conjuring up the most extreme versions of Jaguar's various model lines. In the case of the F-Type sports coupe, that means an SVR pumping out 575 horsepower from a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 monster lurking beneath that curvaceous hood, enough to hit 60 mph in a mere 3.5 seconds, and with a sensational soundtrack that will give even Porsche 911 drivers pause for thought. This is a loud, frenetic performance car that never lets you settle down. From its aggressive dynamics to the burly V8 and the gorgeous design, it's a feast for the senses. Sure, Germany offers more well-rounded alternatives, but the evocative F-Type SVR is easy to fall in love with. If that's not a sign of a great car, what is?
Jaguar has given the F-Type a few welcome technology upgrades for 2019. On the infotainment side of things, a larger touchscreen with improved graphics is now standard, with last year's eight-inch touchscreen being replaced by a ten-inch screen unit. Additional driver-assist equipment becomes standard, including lane keep assist and emergency braking.
Although you can't list "evocative styling" under the standard features list in the F-Type brochure, they probably should, as it's reason enough to buy this car. The Jaguar looks as arresting today as it did when first launched, and the SVR takes the aggression up a good few notches. Side power vents, enlarged front air intakes, and a brash carbon fiber rear aerodynamic wing leave no doubts about this car's performance credentials. 20-inch forged alloy wheels are fitted as standard.
The SVR measures 176.2 inches in length, 80.4 inches in width (including the mirrors), and 51.6 inches in height, while the wheelbase is 103.2 inches long. These numbers are within segment norms. Curb weight for the SVR Coupe is 3,759 pounds, with features like a lightweight Titanium and inconel exhaust system seeing the SVR weigh in at 88 lbs less than the cheaper F-Type R.
Often, exclusive high-performance cars like the SVR have a limited color palette, but that's thankfully not the case with this Jaguar. Six colors are standard: Caldera Red, Corris Gray Metallic, Indus Silver Metallic, Santorini Black Metallic, Ultra Blue Metallic, and Yulong White Metallic. From there, the sky is the limit, with some truly exotic shades at prices that will leave the average man in the street looking positively pale. British Racing Green costs nearly $5,000, and you'll have to cough up another $3,600 to get it with a Satin Matte finish. Special effect paint like Spectral Racing Red costs $8,500. All in all, there are over 20 shades available to satisfy every taste and budget.
Sitting on top of the F-Type range, it goes without saying that the SVR delivers towering acceleration off the line. The 5.0-liter supercharged V8 sends 575 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The results are explosive, with 0-60 mph arriving in 3.5 seconds and no let up until the coupe hits a maximum 200 mph. It's not all about the numbers, though, but the way the SVR delivers this performance as well. The V8's acoustics are delicious, made all the more prominent thanks to the inconel and titanium exhaust system. The SVR keeps up with its chief rivals and does it with the theatrics you crave in a car such as this.
With an all-aluminum and lightweight design, the star of the SVR show is its 5.0-liter V8. Spurred on by supercharging, peak outputs are 575 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, improvements of 25 hp and 14 lb-ft over the R model. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, calibrated to provide lightning-fast responses from launch and when on the move.
As you can imagine, the experience is nothing short of breathtaking, the SVR launching itself off the line with alacrity. More power is available than you can often make use of, and the limits of the Jaguar's performance are best explored on a racetrack. Throttle response is brilliant, and the soundtrack will be ringing in your ears long after you've arrived at your destination. Snapping through the gears while revving out that V8 is a thrilling experience. The only question worth asking of the SVR is if the $22,000 price premium over the R is worth it. That's debatable, with many of the improvements over the already excellent R being marginal. Still, in a performance machine like this, many will want the ultimate - and the SVR is certainly the ultimate F-Type.
SVR tuning and modifications extend to this model's performance through the corners as well. Pirelli P Zero tires are almost 0.4 inches wider than on a regular F-Type, while the forged alloy wheels offer a weight-saving of 30.4 lbs. Stiffer rear suspension knuckles (by 37 percent) reduce flex under demanding driving and enhance grip levels. A thicker rear anti-roll bar and an electronic active differential with torque vectoring are other upgrades, the latter system allowing for independent braking of the individual, inside front and rear wheels, helping to reduce understeer.
It all adds up to a driving experience that feels alive and athletic. Ultra-fast steering responses can make the SVR feel twitchy initially, but you soon adjust and begin to appreciate its razor-sharp nature. Feel through the rim is useful, but not quite as communicative as a Porsche 911's system. The all-wheel-drive system provides tremendous grip and composure, but the outrageous power on offer means you can still alter the SVR's behavior when blasting out of corners. Of course, these superlative handling attributes come at the expense of a smooth ride, especially at lower speeds where the SVR is undoubtedly stiff. It's nothing you wouldn't expect in a car of this nature, though. As with the steering rack, the brakes are sensitive and take some acclimatization, but there's no lack of stopping power.
For the most part, the SVR's dynamic capabilities live up to the promise presented by its stunning looks and that irresistible V8.
On the city/highway/combined cycles, the F-Type SVR's EPA-rated figures work out to 16/24/18 mpg. Combined consumption is slightly better than that of the 550-hp Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupe, which makes use of a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 and offers similar performance. With a 15.4-gallon tankful of premium gasoline, the SVR's combined cruising range will work out to around 277 miles. If fuel-efficiency is important to you, which it probably isn't in a car like this, you'd be better off with the V6 F-Type.
Glance at the F-Type SVR's interior from outside, and it's likely you'll be impressed. It's a sporty-looking design and the materials all appear high-quality, while SVR-specific touches like quilted Windsor leather with SVR embossing make a fine impression. Get inside, and the picture changes a bit, because the F-Type Coupe lacks headroom for taller occupants. There are also a few cheaper plastics dotted around that are out of place in such an expensive car. There are lots of features though, with configurable ambient lighting, 12-way power front seats, and an SVR-branded leather steering wheel, all standard. Taller occupants aside, it's a nice place to be.
Seating two occupants, the SVR's cabin is on the snug side, with legroom being fine but headroom being a problem for those over six-feet tall. Broad-shouldered occupants may also find themselves feeling a bit claustrophobic, and space in the footwells isn't the best. At least the driving position is great, with comfortable and supportive seats offering 12-way power adjustment. Ingress and egress are a bit of a chore, with high door bottoms requiring a bit of twisting and turning. There are more compromises for the SVR's gorgeous shape when it comes to visibility - the front pillars are broad, the rear window is positioned higher up than ideal, and it's challenging to get a sense for where the SVR's nose ends. Expect to rely on the camera and parking systems quite a bit.
The SVR's seats are beautifully trimmed in quilted Windsor leather, lifting the range-topper above lower-rung models. Seating and stitching color options are Ebony with either Cirrus, Pimento or Reims Blue. The same color choices extend to the stitched upper fascia. For a touch of flair, the seatbelts can be specified in red. Optional are performance seats in quilted Windsor leather, with SVR embossing and extended leather. With these seats, your color choices are Pimento with Ebony or Sienna Tan with Cirrus. Dark brushed aluminum trim is standard, but carbon fiber is available.
An SVR-branded leather steering wheel is standard, but suedecloth is an option. Bright metal pedals and a suedecloth headlining are also standard on the SVR. With leather headlining as an option, taller drivers can choose which material gets the honor of ruining their hairdos.
If golf is your leisure activity of choice, you may want to switch to another sport as the SVR's small 10.9 cubic-foot trunk won't fit a set of golf clubs. Remove the cargo space cover, and there's 14.4 cubes available, but this exposes all items placed back there. There are competitors that do a much better job of accommodating your cargo.
A slim glovebox also sets the scene for limited small-item storage, with a tiny area with netting behind the seats and narrow door pockets. The twin cup holders are not very deep, so taller beverages risk tumbling over.
The most expensive F-Type naturally gets the most standard kit. Standard items encompass an electrically-adjustable steering column with memory function, 12-way power front seats, single-zone climate control, configurable ambient interior lighting, a rearview camera, keyless entry, front and rear parking aids, lane keep assist, a driving condition monitor, and traffic sign recognition with adaptive speed limiter. Exclusive to the SVR is also a heated steering wheel and aluminum gearshift paddles. The options list can quickly see the SVR's price ballooning, but if money is no object, you can get yourself heated and cooled seats, dual-zone climate control, and blind-spot monitoring with a rear traffic monitor.
An improved Touch Pro infotainment interface for 2019 brings with it a bigger, ten-inch touchscreen. The graphics are nicer, and while responses are better than before, they're still not up with the best. For the driver, vital information is displayed on a five-inch TFT display with a 210 mph limit.
Later in the 2019 model year, Jaguar made Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration available via a SmartPhone Pack, but earlier 2019 models won't be equipped with this. What you do get is Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, InControl apps, SiriusXM satellite radio and HD radio. A 380-watt eight-speaker Meridian sound system is standard, while a 12-speaker 770-watt surround sound system is an option.
The F-Type SVR doesn't yet have a J.D. power rating, but even if it did, it would have a hard time matching the Porsche 911's exemplary score of 95/100. For 2019 models, two recalls were issued for the F-Type by the NHTSA. The first pertains to incorrect tire labels which could lead to the wrong-sized tire being fitted, which can negatively impact the vehicle's handling. Another recall was for a crankshaft pulley bolt which may fracture, potentially resulting in engine failure. For the 2018 model, two recalls were issued. One was for a fuel leak in the engine compartment that posed a fire risk, and another problem involved no change to the indicator chime/flash rate if a bulb failed, so drivers wouldn't be aware of a problem.
The SVR is covered by Jaguar's five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance program and a five-year/60,000-mile drivetrain warranty.
The F-Type hasn't been tested by either the NHTSA or the IIHS, as is often the case for lower-volume, high-performance sports cars. However, many standard safety features should provide good protection for occupants in the event of an accident.
As you'd expect, the F-Type gets all of the safety features that have become prerequisites in a modern coupe. There are six airbags dotted around the cabin, while every F-Type also has LED headlights and taillights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, dynamic stability control and driving modes for rain, ice, and snow.
Most of the key driver-assist aids are standard on the SVR or available as options. Without paying extra, you get a rearview camera, cruise control and speed limiter, emergency braking, front and rear parking aids, lane keep assist, a driver condition monitor, and traffic sign recognition with an adaptive speed limiter. Park assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear traffic monitoring are options.
A good couple of years into its lifecycle, the F-Type's appeal has shown no signs of waning. It's still a stunning coupe, both inside and out, with a charm that seems to make you forget about its few shortcomings. In the SVR, it's hard not to fall under the spell of that 575-horsepower V8, and the epic engine is matched by exhilarating handling. This maximum-attack version of the F-Type also feels more special thanks to features like that carbon-fiber rear spoiler and classy, upgraded interior trim. Of course, at the SVR's price, you could also have a Porsche 911 Carrera S or GTS - the 911 offers superlative handling, flawless build quality, more practicality thanks to folding rear seats, and even superior comfort levels. It doesn't feel as bonkers as the SVR, but it's got a wider spread of abilities. If you want bonkers, there's also the Mercedes-AMG GT with its burly V8. And yet, despite these great rivals and the SVR's cramped cabin and inferior interior quality, its appeal isn't diminished. It has been designed to thrill, and few performance coupes do a better job of that.
There's only one SVR to choose from, and it carries an MSRP of $122,750, which is a $22,000 premium over the slightly less powerful R variant. The price excludes options, tax, licensing, registration and a destination fee of $995.
The F-Type SVR is the sole trim available, with a unique specification for this halo performance model in the F-Type Coupe range.
In this application, the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine has been tuned to deliver 575 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard. Unique to the SVR is a lightweight titanium and inconel exhaust system, red brake calipers, 20-inch forged alloy wheels and a carbon-fiber rear aerodynamic wing. The advanced lighting system includes LED headlights with signature daytime running lights and LED taillights. A powered tailgate and a panoramic glass roof are options.
Inside, the seats are trimmed in quilted Windsor leather. The heated, SVR-branded leather steering wheel is flanked by aluminum gearshift paddles, and a sporty suedecloth headlining is standard. You also get single-zone climate control, push-button start, power front seats, and a ten-inch infotainment touchscreen. Safety specifications include a driver condition monitor and lane keep assist.
5.0-liter Supercharged V8 Gas
As the SVR has more standard equipment than cheaper models, there's a reduced range of packages. Still, there are certainly some tempting upgrades if you're willing to stomach the cost for them.
As with most performance-oriented models, carbon fiber is on the list. In this case, an Exterior Carbon Fiber Package adds the exotic material to the side power vents, hood vents, mirror caps, and front bumper splitter. It goes for a cool $4,080. A cheaper way to spruce up the styling is via the SVR Graphic Package. It costs $1,430 and for that, you get signature mirror caps, illuminated bespoke sill plates, hood and sill decals, and a contrast grille surround. A Carbon Ceramic Brake Package features updated brakes better suited for track use. It's yours for an eye-watering $12,240.
More luxury can be had with the Extended Windsor Leather Interior Package at $2,550. This fine leather extends to the console, the instrument panel, and the glovebox. For $1,430, the Climate Package 2 includes dual-zone climate control, along with heated and ventilated seats.
Some of the more intriguing standalone options are park assist at $510, a carbon-fiber roof at $2,040, and the upgraded Meridian 12-speaker sound system at $870.
With just one trim available, your choices will come down to the options list. In such an intensely performance-oriented coupe, you want to save as much weight as possible while also letting onlookers know how serious you are. In that light, the SVR Carbon Fiber Exterior Package, although expensive, is certainly tempting. We'd also throw in the Climate Package 2, as dual-zone climate control and seats with both heating and ventilation somewhat atone for the SVR's lack of space. The upgraded sound system looks good, but the supercharged V8 provides all the acoustics you could ever want, so we'd happily skip it.
Before you go straight for the red-hot SVR, slow down to take a look at the R. Those two extra letters are rather expensive, with the SVR coming in at $22,000 costlier than the R, despite the R giving away only 25 horsepower and 14 lb-ft of torque. A claimed 3.9-second sprint time for the R is a mere 0.4 seconds off the pace of the SVR, and most drivers won't easily be able to notice the difference in performance. Both are rapid performers, but the SVR's trick titanium and inconel exhaust system does make for even more of a special sound from the supercharged V8. Other variances between the two include the SVR's forged alloy wheels, SVR-specific trim, and carbon-fiber rear aerodynamic wing. But we suspect the biggest difference between the two is the knowledge that with the SVR, you'd have reached the apex of all F-Types. If you're less concerned with such ego-boosting facts, and all you want is a brilliant British performance coupe, then the R is the smarter choice.
For all of the F-Type SVR's fury, the Corvette Z06 Coupe takes it to another level with 650 horsepower being sent to the rear wheels, courtesy of a 6.2-liter V8. It's enough to haul the Z06 to 60 mph in under three seconds, easily eclipsing the SVR's already blistering 3.5-second effort. Plus, all of this performance comes at $40k less than the SVR, which can't be taken for granted. When you're not ripping your way around the track, you do see where the SVR's extra cost has gone to. It's an altogether more polished package than the brash Corvette, with the British car's interior containing more expensive materials and coming off as a lot more premium. That said, for all its focus on ferocious performance, it's the Corvette that has more interior and cargo room. When all is said and done, these two are likely to appeal to different types of buyers. The Chevrolet isn't really concerned with frivolous aspects like squishy leathers and on-board tech. Instead, it aims to deliver a driving experience that will set your pants on fire. The SVR can entertain, but it's also less likely to upset the elderly couple living next door. The choice is yours.