The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

First Track Drive: 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Review by Henny Hemmes +VIDEO

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
Henny Hemmes

MOTORLAND ARAGON, Spain - June 14, 2016: Two years ago, I drove the new F-Type Coupe on the Cuidad del Motor de Aragón and was impressed with the excellent handling and great speed. Now, Jaguar returned to the 3.3 mile long racetrack with the super sporty F-Type SVR. Our audience will not find it hard to believe that we were up for a lot of fun.

Our event started with a road test of either the SVR Coupe or Convertible. I got into a Glacier White Convertible for the drive from the hotel near Lleida to Motorland. But as I realize that everybody is eager to learn more about the high speed driving with the SVR, I'll tell you about track capabilities first and put the road test on hold for a few days.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

Jaguar SVO, Special Vehicle Opeartions, was established in 2014 to come up with parts for personalization and to develop high-performance variants under the SVR badge. After the lightweight F-Type Project 7, a lightweight roadster that was named after Jaguar’s seven wins at Le Mans and only built in a limited edition of 250 units, JaguarLandRover introduced the Range Rover Sport SVR. The F-Type SVR is the third performance model that will be on markets worldwide as Coupe and Convertible.

The F-Type SVR has 25 hp more and 55 pounds less weight compared to the F-Type R that is already very potent. With the CFRP (carbon fiber) roof and after recalibrating the 5.0-liter V8 supercharged engine for the SVR, it produces 575 hp and 516 pound-feet of torque (700 Nm), 14 lb-ft more than in the R. Therefore, it is no surprise that the SVR beats the R in the sprint from 0-60 mph. With 3.5 seconds, it is 0.4 sseconds faster than the F-Type model. The top speed of the Coupe is 200 mph (322 km/h). The Convertible reaches 195 mph (314 km/h) The ‘R’ will bear the speed crown until the SVR hits the markets in the second half of this year.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The SVR features all wheel drive, an active electronic slip differential that is combined with torque vectoring by braking (TVbB), continuously variable damping, as well as super performance brakes.

When we reach the Motorland race track, I feel already well at ease in the big cat and have soon gotten used to its power and nimble handling. The latter is amazing given the fact that the SVR weighs 3,791 pounds.

We all are sent out on the track with a Coupe and a Jaguar instructor, in my case chief instructor Chris Dredge. This is to prevent us drivers, even though we are experienced, from getting carried away and not go over the limit on the unfamiliar racetrack. I don't mind as I always realize that it is hard to get it all correct in just 4 laps!. Chris has made himself familiar with both during the week before the event and knows every stone of the curbs and points out where we can push the brake pedal to make optimum use of the Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) braking system (optional).


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

After starting the engine, I use the switch to engage Dynamic Mode to prepare the SVR for fast laps. It means that the steering is heavier, the gearshift is faster, the suspension is firmer and the engine is a bit more tuned. We also go in S- mode to use the paddles for shifting.

As we take off and accelerate, the brute, wicked sound is nearly shocking and I like it when it goes pop-pop-pop as you lift off. It is amazing how the heavy car feels and seems to like cornering. Turn in is fabulous, immediately the SVR gets into the bend and if you are too early or too late, lets itself be corrected instantly. This F-Type is very forgiving and I bet that a lot of customers would feel at ease during track days with a cat that produces a mean growl but is not sticking out its claws too soon.

Performance is top, makes you smile all along the laps thanks to the impressive amount of torque in the lower revs. That way you can drive through many of the shorter bends in 3rd gear, except for the hairpin and the ‘cork screw’ – yes there is one at Motorland, but not as challenging as the original one at Laguna Seca.

The ZF Quickshift 8-speed transmission shifts really quick and butter-smooth, and is well-matched to the powerful V8. An electronic limited-slip differential helps put the power evenly to the tires, but there are situations that the torque vectoring system does something that you did not intend to do, especially when you need a little bit of under steer, but normally it is helping you. When the system’s sensors detect that fast cornering may cause under steer, the system applies braking torque individually to the inner wheels via the ABS system.

By deliberately turning in the nose of the car into the bend too much, I could sense the system interfering. Of course, it is not so magical that it will always keep you out of trouble, but it will help when you are not exactly doing the right thing at the right time. The suspension is well-balanced and well-prepared for driving on the race track. The SVR uses 20-inch wheels. Our track car has Maelstrom wheels that go with the CCM braking systems. They are fitted with specially developed Pirelli PZero rubber: 265/35 up front and 305/30 in the rear.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The performance brakes are strong and can be precisely applied to do what they are expected to do. They obviously had no trouble with the warm temperatures that reached 95 degrees under the Spanish sun.

Track Experience Wrap Up
The F-Type SVR is confident at high speed thanks to its excellent stability, a result of some measures such as the use of the carbon fiber wing, which reduces lift by 15 per cent. By softening the front roll bar and applying a 5 per cent stiffer one in the rear, turn in is super quick and precise. The whole package of the F-Type SVR makes it a true super sports car.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Pricing for the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe starts at $125,950 and for the Convertible at $128,800. Customer deliveries will begin this summer.

The Jaguar F-Type SVR is up for a nomination for the 2017 World Performance Car of the Year