We were handed the keys to SVO’s first crossover, the F-Pace SVR. A 550hp, fierce blue crossover that is.
There’s a certain amount of time I leave between driving something and writing a review about it, I do this in an attempt to objectify the experience. But some cars get me so hyped that the high won’t drop. Not even after a few months. The Jaguar F-Pace SVR is one of those cars that didn’t let sleep properly for a while. For nights I kept wondering how I could make enough money to get my hands on this supercharged kitten and then make enough to feed its thirst. Those nights have brought me here; writing a review while still being in love with this car.
Another confession I’ll drop from the get-go: I wasn’t too eager to drive a performance crossover. These cars tend to trigger my motion sickness as their weight inevitably translates into a lot of suspension-action when you push them properly. This SVO creation showed me I was wrong after only a few corners, it genuinely feels like a hot hatch you can throw around. Jaguar’s inhouse tuner got the Jaguar F-Pace SVR to handle like this by reducing body roll by a good 5% over the regular model, stiffening the dampers by 10% at the back and the front axles in dampened a full 30% harder. You only realize just how massive the car is when you get out and look at the 265/45 tires up front and 295/40 rear tires. It uses that amount of rubber to hides its near 2 tonnes of weight, but also to put down all the power it houses.
Granted, most crossovers we’ve driven had air suspension whilst this one was on classic fixed springs. It’s not as comfortable as the former but on such a performance car, it’s the perfect balance between comfort and performance.
550 horsepower and 680 Nm of torque are what the mother of all F-Paces houses under the bonnet. It’s generated inside an engine I developed a soft spot for: a supercharged V8.
The pull generated by this kind of forced induction is addictive in three ways: the linear way it offers torque, how it’s aided by a sweet ZF 8-speed and the way it keeps whining. Normally whining is a bad thing, but this whine will make you keep the pedal floored until the logic dictates otherwise. Beau took the F-Pace SVR to the Autobahn just to see how far that addictive engine would take him and he managed to see 297 kph appear on the speedometer.
The instant torque from the supercharger along with the theatre from the V8 really brings out the worst in you.Beau on the SVR
Rain, rain and more rain…
As we got the key to this car in the wettest week of 2019, we feared plenty of buttocks-clenching-moments. No such thing happened with the rear-biased, AWD drivetrain that never throws more than 50% to the front axle. Power always translates into a fierce acceleration, even accelerating out of a corner is a bliss thanks to the electronic rear differential distributing the power. Switching the ESP off was a no-go with all the rain (okay, I did it once and ended up backward on the road).
If you have come this far into the review and might be wondering if I’ll start pointing out negative things about the F-Pace. Well, there’s simply a lot, a big lot of plus sides to this machine. It ticks a lot of boxes and gives all of your senses a rewarding input. Your hearing gets love from that whine, accompanied by a deep and loud exhaust note. Your eyesight gets treated by looking at a subtle rework of the exterior and interior. Your tactile senses get rewarded with the high-quality materials used, like leather and aluminum. Your taste and smell are rewarded with a sense of fear radiating from your occupants once you floor it.
Talking about that exterior and interior, aesthetically the car is very rewarding. Although the interior might be a bit outdated compared to competitors like Mercedes-AMG, Jaguar nailed it with the perforated leather bucket seats. They look and feel like a throne, offering comfort but also hugging you when it all gets a bit turbulent. On the outside, there’s plenty of things that make the car stand out over the regular models. There are massive air vents up front, feeding the 5 liter V8 with air. There are functional vents on the hood, cooling that 550hp engine. On the side, you’ll find cooling vents for the highly effective brakes. And last but not least is the reworked rear, a set of 4 pipes and a new bumper make the F-Pace SVR look the part too.
There’s a side to this trim of F-Pace I haven’t shined a light on yet, it’s the fact that it’s every bit as practical and useable in everyday-life as the regular F-Pace we drove a few years back. Putting it in Sport mode and switching the gearbox to a similar called setting turns into a downright weapon, but leaving those alone grants you a proper cruiser. Opening up the valves in ‘Comfort’ still makes you grin from ear to ear though, whilst giving your neck a rest from all the burst of acceleration.
This car embodies a brilliant mixture of fun, insanity, power, and usability. The ride might be a bit on the stiff side, but never too much. Fuel consumption is trivial in this kind of car, but with a light foot, you can still reach decent figures. But f*ck that, the smiles per gallon are what counts here, and Jaguar absolutely nailed it with this F-Pace SVR. Can I have another go now?