By: Jag Dhatt
Jaguar F-Pace. SUV. Luxury. And now, SUPERCHARGED V8. Man, that’s the icing on the cake. And when I found out I had the F-Pace SVR booked as my press vehicle, it was like me landing in Canada and seeing snow for the first time. Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
The F-Pace has been a top-selling vehicle in Jaguar’s line-up. It’s got great looks, a good interior for couples or a small family, good motor options, and the name and legacy associated with the Jaguar brand. So, when there needed to be an edge, in case James Bond needed to drive one, Jag’s Special Vehicle Operations team went to work to put in a monster of a motor under the hood of the F-Pace. And the result is simply wow.
We’ve seen the SVR previously in the Range Rover Sport and the F-Type. The Range Rover Sport SVR has sold well, and for good reason. I mean, here’s an already great vehicle that just needed, well not really, more power. And in the words of Tim Allen, there can never be enough power.
Jaguar has done well in design, with the F-Pace winning World Design of the Year in 2017. Rather than mess with something that is already nice, the SVR added just some minor touches to make it more aggressive, including a unique rear spoiler, special front and rear bumpers, and active vents on the hood and front fenders. There’s also the specific SVR badging through-out and yes, quad tailpipes. Kudos to Ian Callum for not only designing the F-Pace, but for giving us the F-Type and XE as well.
My press F-Pace SVR was adorned in beautiful Ultra Blue paint. My personal choice of paint would have been Spectral Racing Red or Madagascar Orange, but seriously, the Blue looks pretty good, and it’s easy to spot pretty much anywhere. I like the F-Pace from any angle, but the side profile is probably my favourite, showing off those perfect lines, and the optional 22” black wheels.
Step into the F-Pace SVR and you’ll be greeted to a cabin that is not only gorgeous but packed with all the right features for luxury and sport. There’s a great blend of leather, suede, and carbon fibre to give occupants the feeling of power and grace. The dual-quilted seats are supportive and they suited my body frame nicely. They could have more padding, which would be great for long drives, but for every day driving, they are great. My tester came equipped with heated and vented front seats and heated rear seats. I would have liked massage in the seats, but those are better fitted for the Jaguar XJ or the Range Rover Sport or full-size.
Driver seating position is higher than I expected, even at the lowest setting, but it does provide excellent visibility. The second-row passengers enjoy good head and legroom; we had five adults in this SVR and all of us were comfortable.
And thankfully, the designers decided to stick with the SportShift gear selector vs. the rotary dial. Yes, it takes up a little more space, but an actual pistol-type gear shifter that you can hold is necessary for this vehicle.
My last company lease was a Jaguar XJ Sport and the one knock on that vehicle was its infotainment system; not only was it sluggish, but the display and resolution were not fitting for a $100K vehicle. Thankfully, Jaguar has improved it and the F-Pace utilizes the InControl infotainment system. The 10” HD touchscreen display is more responsive than before, even though it still falls short of the German contenders. There were times when I had to touch the screen twice to activate a feature.
Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both supported. I didn’t have the chance to use Android Auto; however, that being said, it’s worked well in other Jag models and I assume it would in this SVR as well.
The 12.3” digital dash I didn’t like; it’s not that it’s not functional but that the functions and menus aren’t intuitive at all. That being said, graphics are razor sharp.
At the end of the day, do these minor flaws really matter for the SVR? Definitely not.
Up until now, the top trim powerplant for the F-Pace was the supercharged V6, which was definitely enough for most drivers. It delivers 380 horsepower which still giving some decent fuel economy.
However, under the hood of the F-Pace SVR is the monstrous V8, and supercharged as well. This 5.0L puts out 550 horsepower and has 502 lb-ft of torque, all going to an all-wheel drive system through an 8-speed automatic transmission.
And to hear this power, which others will notice for sure, is an active exhaust system. From the moment you fire up the SVR, you’ll know this Jag means business.
Aahh, finally, the part that really matters for most of the readers. I’ve been blessed to have had the chance to drive the F-Pace SVR on both the track and as my weekly test vehicle.
In late 2019, I drove the SVR at the MotorSport track in Bowmanville, Ontario. Four laps around the track was enough for me to notice that this SVR could possibly handle its own against the likes of the M’s, AMG’s and even the SRT’s. On the track, I kept the vehicle in Dynamic Mode, with Sport selected as well. While taking corners or on straightaways, you could hear the bellowing exhaust from a mile away, and boy does it sound nice. The F-Pace SVR handled great, with the steering being responsive and accurate. Since the supercharger is always on, there was instant power at any and every moment. And when I needed to stop, huge 15.5” front and 15.6” rear discs did the job just well.
Jaguar claims a 0 – 100 km/h time of 4.3 seconds and from the runs that I did in Ontario, I would think it’s spot on. I’ve heard that even a 4.1 second time was recorded.
Off the track and around the city, whether local streets or highways, the F-Pace SVR does everything you want it to. Keep the vehicle in Comfort mode, and it behaves like a luxury vehicle should, comfortable and forgiving. I doubt anyone is going to use Eco mode, but for those looking to save some fuel, it is there as an option.
Merging onto the highway is a breeze; punch it and you can get up to speed in the blink of an eye. And once at highway speeds, the ride is smooth and what you’d expect from the F-Pace. There is some body roll when going through windy roads, but you feel it mostly in Comfort mode. If you put the vehicle in Sport mode, it does tighten up the suspension and body roll decreases, but it’s not as tight as say the Macan Turbo.
The F-Pace SVR is a great vehicle for the city. Whether driving to get groceries or taking the kids to activities, I found the size and drivability to be well suited for my needs. It was nimble enough to navigate the busy parking lots around the soccer fields and be perfect for going to business meetings.
I’ve been a fan of Jaguar vehicles for a long time and in the past five or six years, there’s more and more to like about them, especially when there’s more power available. And by taking the already hot-selling and attractive F-Pace and throwing a 5.0L supercharged V8 under the hood, how can you go wrong. Yes, my test SVR was almost double the price of a base F-Pace, but then they are two completely different beasts. Plus, the name “Jag” rocks too.
By: Jag Dhatt