RE: Jaguar F-Type SVR: Driven

RE: Jaguar F-Type SVR: Driven

Saturday 18th June 2016

Jaguar F-Type SVR: Review

Is there a six-figure junior supercar lurking within the F-Type? Time to find out.



Just how bad does the new Jaguar F-Type SVR have to be for those building the new TVR to sleep easy in their beds? After all, cars like this seem to do a pretty effective job of catering to the tastes of those who might once have, or now desire, the kind of machine TVR says it's going to build.

OK, a 1,705kg (plus driver) Jaguar won't deliver on the Gordon Murray designed power to weight excitement we're promised from the new TVR. But as a basic package you're getting one of the ruder sounding V8s ever fitted to a mainstream production car, with 575hp and 516lb ft of torque in a classically proportioned front-engined coupe. It'll hit 200mph, make a wicked noise doing it and can be had in colours and trims varying from low-key to lairy. OK, four-wheel drive and the usual toys you'd expect of a mainstream car at this money are a long way from TVR's thrills, both traditional and (hopefully) contemporary. But it's cars like this they need to tempt people away from to succeed.

They've got a job on their hands.

No missing it, that's for sure
No missing it, that's for sure
Knuckle down
So has Jaguar, mind. Is there really headroom in the F-Type to nearly double the price of the entry level version and start mixing it with fancier 911s, AMG GTs or Aston Martin V8 Vantages?

This is the first SVR branded Jaguar, following in the tyre tracks of its Range Rover equivalent. Sales of that have 'exceeded expectations' according to Special Vehicle Operations boss John Edwards. But in this day and age a hot Range Rover Sport with a bit of extra bling and a really noisy exhaust wasn't going to be a tough sell. The F-Type has a harder fight on its hands.

It's certainly unapologetic, the SVR additions bristling with aggression and intent from nose to tail with character and style inspired by the limited-run Project 7. There are bigger, sharper intakes on the new nose, slats on the bonnet, wider arches with prominent side vents, proper underfloor aero permitted by a bespoke (and 16kg lighter) twin-box titanium/Inconel exhaust system and a prominent active rear wing. In louder colours like Reflex Blue or Italian Racing Red it's properly in your face. In greys and silvers there's a more understated, brooding menace, set off nicely with the yellow calipers of the optional CCM brakes. And if the wing isn't doing it for you it's a delete option, though you'll have to accept a limited 186mph top speed like the regular R.

Key features for any car to merit an SVR badge have already been laid out. In short they include all-wheel drive, less weight, more impressive performance stats and - where applicable - improved aero.

Familiar V8 now up to 575hp and 516lb ft
Familiar V8 now up to 575hp and 516lb ft
Same but different
Spring rates remain the same but the damper programming is all new, with a bigger step between Dynamic and Normal. Anti-roll bars are five per cent softer front and five per cent stiffer rear, all-new (and very trick looking) rear suspension knuckles permitting larger, stiffer rear wheel bearings and significant increases in toe and camber stiffness. Relatively subtle tweaks, but you can see where this is heading - the SVR is intended to be pointier on the nose and sharper steering than the R.

And so it proves. Indeed, compared with modern cars on sale at any price point the sharpness of the SVR's wheel may come as a shock. There's more weight than you traditionally get in a Jaguar and a smooth but instantaneous reaction to even the slightest off-centre movement. Given the way of the market, even at this end of the sports car world, it'll be interesting to see if customers appreciate the response or find it unsettlingly sharp. Keen drivers will love it though, and if this is going to be an SVR dynamic trademark we're all for it.

An AMG GT may have more exotic underpinnings and a favourable transaxle weight distribution. But the Jaguar's response instantly feels more serious and - for want of a better description - manly. The sense of agility it conjures up also does a lot to appease fears of the weight spoiling the fun too. The exhaust and forged wheels (nearly 14kg saved) contribute to much of the 25kg saving over an equivalent R AWD, options like CCM brakes saving a further 21kg of unsprung weight while the (also optional) carbon body panels strip out another 5kg or so. 50kg off a 1,700kg-plus car isn't a huge amount, admittedly. And a rear-driven, 550hp R Coupe is, like for like, 55kg lighter still. But it's a step in the right direction.

Well yes, of course it still does this
Well yes, of course it still does this
Smoke 'em if you got 'em
It's still a factor under braking, despite all the launch cars being upgraded to CCM brakes. But even on track and using deliberately aggressive pedal inputs they offer strong, consistent power - even from Motorland's 180mph stop into a second-gear hairpin. Which is probably for the best.

If the road offers a sense of the SVR's cornering balance on the circuit you can really exploit it. That turn-in remains absolutely stellar and uncorrupted, the F-Type effectively steering into corners like a rear-wheel drive car thanks to the part-time nature of the all-wheel drive set-up. This encourages you to get on the power nice and early, the initial response being a familiar drive from the rear axle, increasing the rotation into the apex. Through a mixture of active locking diff, torque vectoring and all the rest you're ready for the armfuls of opposite lock at this point. But, of course, it never comes, Intelligent Driveline Dynamics all-wheel drive tactfully bleeding around a fifth of the drive torque to the front axle to let you carve a consistent line through the corner on a planted throttle, even in the mid-way Trac-DSC. For all the electronic cleverness there's a pleasing simplicity to the SVR too, the engineers wrinkling their noses at talk of the multitudinous driver modes offered by some rivals. Dynamic mode can be personalised. But the way it's buried in the settings suggests the ritual of pressing five different buttons to get your preferred mode every time you start it up isn't something Jaguar wants. Bravo.

Back to four-wheel drifting though. It's a weird sensation for anyone familiar with the wild oversteer of rear-driven F-Types. And, like a Focus RS in Drift Mode, it'll slide diagonally through the corner spinning all four wheels and with the wheel dead ahead. Indeed, you have to fight the instinct to throw corrective lock at it - the more you do that the more the computers contrive to straighten the car and the messier it becomes.

Capable and - funnily enough - very fast on track
Capable and - funnily enough - very fast on track
Emasculation
But there's an AWD R for that. Shouldn't the SVR be the heroic, madly oversteering hooligan of the range? There's an argument to be made for that. But there's little doubt the calibration of this chassis is sympathetic to the rear-driven character we love in the F-Type. While being a much more effective use of the extra power. And therefore a whole lot faster.

The first few miles in the SVR may fool you into thinking it's little more than an R with an (even louder) exhaust and a bit of a bodykit. The ride feels similarly assertive and, bigger shifter paddles or not, it's still got a conventional (if very crisp) automatic gearbox. The power gains are relatively modest, the familiar supercharged V8 considerably more bombastic and a little sharper but seemingly not massively more potent. But as you start delving into the upper reaches of its performance there's depth and ability way beyond anything we've ever had in an F-Type before. Making the bright colours and big wing almost a distraction.

So to the Convertible for the second stage of the road route. It has a different role to play to the more hardcore coupe, and a five grand price premium too. That puts it in the sights of a different AMG product - the SL63 in this case. Both offer a similar combination of sledgehammer V8 soundtracks, hot-rod driving dynamics and a very exciting way to get sunburn if you're lucky enough to be driving it somewhere sunny.

Very good as a Coupe; little less so here
Very good as a Coupe; little less so here
Moving target
Much of what has been said about the Coupe applies here too, though the odd tremor through the structure and slightly dulled responses point to the Convertible being more of a high-speed cruiser. The SL is heavier and bigger but thumps the Jag on both raw power and general glitziness of the surroundings. In this form the SVR has a slightly tougher time of it, the more focused Coupe seeming the more natural expression of its extended range of abilities.

Can the F-Type cut it as a six-figure sports car though? As a coupe arguably it does. A 911 Turbo has the chassis tech, the driver modes and - for those that need them - the occasional rear seats too. But the F-Type SVR is cheaper, more charismatic and yet also has that all-weather ability for day-to-day use. Against an AMG GT S it's a tougher call, their characters closer and the Mercedes winning on pose factor, cabin ambience and status. The Jag is more generously equipped, all-wheel drive and has those 200mph bragging rights the Merc can't match for the same money though. Aston? A more evocative badge and nicer looking. Against which the Jag offers a broader range of ability, better auto gearbox and more usable performance.

So yes, then. If perhaps less so as a Convertible. But as the first SVR Jaguar a fine opening gambit. And a teasing taste of what the same formula applied to other models in the range might give us in due course.


JAGUAR F-TYPE SVR COUPE
Engine
: 5,000cc, supercharged V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 575@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@3,500-5,000rpm
0-62mph: 3.7secs
Top speed: 200mph (195mph)
Weight: 1,705kg (1,720kg, both figures 'from' and not including driver)
MPG: 25.0 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 269g/km
Price: £110,000 (£115,485)

Figures in brackets for Convertible, where different

F-Type SVR cornering (Full vid to follow!)

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

AlexKing

Original Poster:

567 posts

86 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
Yeah, I'd still have a RWD R and the change.

dopsonj

190 posts

48 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
I have a friend with a P7, what'd annoy me at this point was it was claimed to be the fastest etc etc, then they roll this out... Surely as a P7 owner you're going to be pretty pissed at Jag for such a move?

Dan Trent

1,815 posts

96 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
I think your friend can rest easy - the Project 7 is rear-driven, lighter and has different chassis settings. Even without the wilder looks it's a much more hardcore drive and a much more special car. OK, it's not as fast flat out but much of that comes from the SVR's aero work. SVRs are not limited production either.

Cheers,

Dan

Pesty

38,267 posts

184 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
Yes please

405dogvan

5,224 posts

193 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
I absolutely love how these things look and sound but at almost 1600kgs for the P7 and over 1700 here it's going to make any circuit into a fight between gravity and suspension cleverness (with fried brakes on the side) - just not the place for it.

End of the day, spec one as a cruiser/GT (which is clearly is) and enjoy it as that perhaps - skip the 'must add power and letters to the name' nonsense for once and get in BEFORE they're all 4WD (happened already?)

p.s. passed an XK8 R today and it's aged gracefully and a quick peek on the classifieds shows them settling into almost sensible prices!!
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and79

13 posts

90 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
4 wheel drive. Surely something like this should be rear driven??

DonkeyApple

29,162 posts

97 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
'Back to four-wheel drifting though. It's a weird sensation for anyone familiar with the wild oversteer of rear-driven F-Types. And, like a Focus RS in Drift Mode, it'll slide diagonally through the corner spinning all four wheels and with the wheel dead ahead. Indeed, you have to fight the instinct to throw corrective lock at it - the more you do that the more the computers contrive to straighten the car and the messier it becomes.'

That must be an extremely weird sensation. It sounds as if you are effectively nothing more than a passenger at the points where you'd like to be learning, mastering or practicing the fun bits of driving? As an aside, how transferable eould the driving style learnt for this car be to another car? If computers are doing the fun bits now instead of the human then they aren't all going to be programmed the same?

vz-r_dave

3,260 posts

146 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
and79 said:
4 wheel drive. Surely something like this should be rear driven??
It is a very smart move imo, they now have a car that offers the same 4WD options that Porsche does. Funnily there biggest/closest competitor.

So having the RWD and 4WD option is a great thing for Jag, I would always take the RWD option tho.

DPSFleet

187 posts

89 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
The F is a terrific car and I think under-rated. This beast would be awesome I am sure but perhps too much for UK roads. I have the "puny" V6S and love it for general cruising around. When required though it can still pick up speed with the best of them. Do we under-rate it because it's not German?

OwenK

2,546 posts

123 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
dopsonj said:
I have a friend with a P7, what'd annoy me at this point was it was claimed to be the fastest etc etc, then they roll this out... Surely as a P7 owner you're going to be pretty pissed at Jag for such a move?
This argument always comes out. I always think "...and?"
Are Jaguar never allowed to make a faster car?
Are you genuinely going to be so bum hurt that (gasp) two years later they've made another fast special edition F-type?
The 7 still has the uniqueness of the D-type rear deck, speedster windscreen etc

Edited by OwenK on Wednesday 15th June 09:13

Dan Trent

1,815 posts

96 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
DonkeyApple said:
That must be an extremely weird sensation. It sounds as if you are effectively nothing more than a passenger at the points where you'd like to be learning, mastering or practicing the fun bits of driving? As an aside, how transferable eould the driving style learnt for this car be to another car? If computers are doing the fun bits now instead of the human then they aren't all going to be programmed the same?
It is a bit weird or, at least, counter intuitive. But I'd disagree about being 'nothing more than a passenger' - there's nothing dull about the speed you can turn in or ability to deploy full beans in the corner way earlier than your brain tells you is possible. If you can left-foot brake it's especially satisfying as you can overlap the braking, get on the power really quickly and enjoy the fact that the car will continue to turn into the corner under power, carry huge speed through the apex and then give you everything it's got all the way through to the exit. I did a 'straight' pass for the camera which I'lll upload that shows it better - you can see fresh black rubber going down under power from both outside wheels while the car pulls itself through the corner, giving a sense of what the black boxes are actually doing.

Unlike something like a AWD hot hatch (which will always be battling inherent front-biased weight balance and inclined to push on) the Jag turns in like a RWD car but once on the power has the traction of AWD, with a nice little flavour of RWD adjustability as it puts its power down. OK, it won't do the full showboating on the lock stops stuff. But it's still hugely satisfying when you get it right.

The original R8 had a sense of this too, likewise the GT-R. The four-wheel steer 991 Turbo now has the turn-in to quickly settle into a neutral balance under power and can give you just a smidge of oversteer if you've got the modes set up correctly. These are all very complicated cars exploiting some very trick hardware and software; where Jag scores is in making it *feel* more natural and instinctive. And fun.

Hope that helps!

Dan

Dan Trent

1,815 posts

96 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
DonkeyApple said:
'That must be an extremely weird sensation.
That vid clip to illustrate what I was saying in the previous post, probably more eloquently!

Dan

'Neat' four-wheel drifting in the F-Type SVR



Shnozz

19,404 posts

199 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
405dogvan said:
End of the day, spec one as a cruiser/GT (which is clearly is)
I really, really like the F-Type, particularly in convertible form (despite not really being a fan of drop tops). However, I was staggered by the woeful boot on the cabrio. You really would struggle to fit anything other than a few carrier bags in it. For a cruiser/GT car, the hard top is the only option which seems a shame.

DJM7691

322 posts

37 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
Hmmm.... For the money I can't help but think this would be a more explosive and fun way to do it

http://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/a...


Debaser

3,235 posts

189 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
DJM7691 said:
Hmmm.... For the money I can't help but think this would be a more explosive and fun way to do it

http://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/a...
It's a shame Jag don't build used SVRs.

405dogvan

5,224 posts

193 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
Shnozz said:
405dogvan said:
End of the day, spec one as a cruiser/GT (which is clearly is)
I really, really like the F-Type, particularly in convertible form (despite not really being a fan of drop tops). However, I was staggered by the woeful boot on the cabrio. You really would struggle to fit anything other than a few carrier bags in it. For a cruiser/GT car, the hard top is the only option which seems a shame.
There's too much of this st in current car design - because everything seems to be being design for Ring laptimes/YouTube hoonery (and used by single people who never have more than a manbag/M&S carrier with them) smile

Jaguar should know better - fortunately the 60s called



There's also a suspiciously 'machine gun bag' shaped custom luggage doodah for 2 toothbrushes and a towel ;0


urquattroGus

779 posts

118 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
I'm in love!

A good looking but butch British bruiser!

And one that drives well enough to back that up by the sounds of it!

Vee12V

717 posts

88 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
Not sure why but it just doesn't 'do it' for me.

Riverside Red

572 posts

63 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
Sorry for £110k (or £115k for the convertible) the F-Type just doesn't get anywhere close for me. I'd want something a lot more "special".

I also agree with the comments about the boot, I was in the market for a new sports car when the original V6 F-Type came out and I'm afraid that boot knocked it straight off my list. I enjoy touring in France with the wife and the car just wasn't practical enough.

RR

DanielSan

12,735 posts

95 months

Wednesday 15th June 2016
quotequote all
I've seen a couple of these around Birmingham and what I think was a press or development car near Evesham the other week and they look and sound fantastic!
Given the choice of a 911 Turbo, GTR or this then I'd be walking into the Jag showroom.