Jaguar Test Drive Reviews 

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Test Drive Review

Do you know the word that means ultimate performance at Jaguar Land Rover? That’s actually a trick question. There is no word. There’s an acronym: SVO. It stands for Special Vehicle Operations, a division that creates limited-run, high-output, halo SUVs and sports cars.

The team of 200 automotive specialists has given the enthusiast community vehicles such as the Range Rover Sentinel. Land Rover calls it a “mobile fortress … designed to withstand the most damaging and targeted of threats including penetration by 7.62mm high velocity, armour piercing incendiary bullets. This exceptional vehicle delivers lateral protection against up to 15kg Trinitrotoluene (TNT) blasts and defence against DM51 grenade explosions.”

When the Range Rover Sport SVR debuted, it was the fastest, most powerful model ever made by Land Rover. Its 550-horsepower supercharged V8 and impressive high-speed handling also made it a hoot and a half to drive. We had the privilege of rocketing down twisty roads in one last year. Our experience in it was as grin-inducing as it was face-flattening.

SVO also crafted the 575-horsepower Jaguar F-Type Project 7. Inspired by the British automaker’s LeMans-winning D-Type racer of the 1950s, the Project 7 was a hand-built, open-top road rocket with a pronounced fairing behind the driver’s head, just like its victorious ancestor.

We recently spent a week in the other pumped-up Jaguar sports car from SVO: the 2017 F-Type SVR. Jaguar may use acronyms to tell the world what kind of performance to expect from its most powerful models, but we’re going to use words to tell you what made the F-Type SVR so enjoyable.


2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Exterior

It doesn’t matter how much horsepower is under the hood of a performance car if the sheet metal around all of that is an optical sedative. An eye-catching design is part of Sports Car 101. Clearly, Jaguar/SVO have aced that with the F-Type SVR. They went all in with its stats and power, and did the same with its styling, a gorgeous combination of eye-catching lines and jaw-dropping curves. The SVR looks like a missile designed to be fired at open roads in a battle to conquer apexes.

It’s not only attractive, but functional as well. Engineers focused on optimizing the SVR aerodynamically, so they took the already stunning curves and proportions of the F-Type and added elements such as an aggressive splitter to keep the front end planted, an airflow-managing active carbon fiber rear wing, and a rear diffuser for reduced drag and lift. All of those visual enhancements are designed to hold the SVR to the road or track when it inevitably hits the speeds a 575-horsepower exotic is meant to hit – and move past.


2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Interior

If you haven’t noticed by now, we’ll come out and say it: The F-Type SVR is not a subtle car. It’s not supposed to be. It’s a fire-breathing, steroid-enhanced jungle cat made out of metal. The word “subtle” is not part of its exterior design language and it definitely isn’t a word we’d use to describe the red interior of our test vehicle.

However, we will say the SVR’s cockpit was well trimmed. The unique Lozenge Quilt seats and door panel inserts were lovably obvious signs that we were in a special British speed machine. Jaguar’s artisans wrapped more soft leather around the instrument panel. The rim of the steering wheel was covered in a combination of hide and suedecloth.

To the right of that, the center console featured the telltale weave of carbon fiber. That surrounded a touchscreen that allowed us to control the Meridian audio setup, enter a destination into the user-friendly navigation system, change the HVAC settings, and place calls through a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. We found ourselves pushing the button that fully opened up the active exhaust system nearly every time we were about to hit the road. After all, music doesn’t always come out of speakers.


2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Performance

The engineers at the Special Vehicle Operations division of Jaguar primarily focused on two things when making the SVR into the ultimate F-Type: weight and power. Specifically, less of one and more of the other.

They fitted the SVR with a set of forged aluminum wheels that shave off a total of 30 pounds. Carbon ceramic brakes are 46 pounds lighter than their steel counterparts. An exhaust system made out of Titanium and Inconel cuts another 35 pounds – and makes the SVR sound angry upon startup, eager to turn gasoline into forward motion at idle, and absolutely and unapologetically furious at wide-open throttle.

That decreased weight contributes to a combined fuel economy rating of 18 mpg** and is moved by a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 with 575 horsepower and 516 lbft of torque – 25 more hp and 14 more lbft than that generated by the engine in the F-Type R. Every one of those horses thundered out of the gate with wrinkle-erasing force, but they were not beyond taming. The SVR was always exciting without feeling as if it were past our control. It never lurched from a stop when we gave it a little bit of right pedal to get moving. At higher speeds, the SVR had its claws dug into the road.

The carbon ceramic brakes made the blurring line on our side of the highway into dashes of high-visibility paint quickly. Thanks to the SVR’s quick steering, we were on the good side of the line between responsive and twitchy.

The SVR may have been a ferocious, roaring jungle cat, but it was on a leash that we were holding.


2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Safety

In addition to two front and two side airbags, the SVR was equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, xenon headlights that swiveled to give us a better view around curves, and Dynamic Stability Control. Emergency Brake Assist was in place, monitoring how quickly we pressed the left pedal. If it sensed a panic stop, it would increase brake pressure to help shorten our stopping distance. Instinctive All Wheel Drive was a comforting feature during our time with the SVR, which was filled with heavy rains.


2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Overall

Jaguar calls its high-performance division SVO. That creates the ultimate F-Type, the SVR. If what you’ve read here makes you say Y-E-S to the idea of buying a 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR, head to an AutoNation-affiliated Jaguar dealership. Prices for it start at $125,950.*

*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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