2018 Jaguar F-Type SVR first drive review
The Jaguar F-Type has always been a super-cool car for me, one that is really sexy, stylish, fast and rewarding to drive. So would I want anything changed in it, not really?
But the good folk at Jaguar are obviously not the kind to create the wonderful F-Type and sit back. They let loose their SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) team on it. Jaguar Land Rover's SVO, is meant to create unique Land Rover vehicles by taking the luxury and performance capabilities, to an altogether new level. And it seems when the SVO were handed the Jaguar F-Type; they said "Let's take this car to 200 miles an hour (322 kph)". Which they clearly have, and I can say this with confidence because I just drove the Jaguar F-Type SVR at the Jaguar Land Rover proving grounds in Gaydon.
After a presentation at Gaydon, I was allowed out onto the track with an instructor and in no time I was hitting about 170 mph (275 kph). One only had to slow down because the track's length did not permit higher speeds. The accelerations is fast and effortless, and surprisingly smooth and linear. Of course once your floor the pedal and let loose all the horses, the g-forces push you back into your seat, but not with the kind of violence you sometimes experience in such fast cars. And the Jaguar F-Type SVR is fast. With all the tweaks, performance tuning and recalibration it's gone through, the F-Type SVR's V8 engine now develops 575PS and 700 Nm of torque. It takes all of 3.7seconds to reach from 0-to 100 kph and has a top-speed of 322 kph (200 mph). This makes the F-Type SVR, the most powerful production car ever made by Jaguar.
The Jaguar F-Type SVR has not become so fast by only increasing the engine's performance, it has also shed weight because mass is the enemy of performance. To achieve their load targets, the SVO team replaced the F-Type's entire exhaust system with a new titanium one that is much lighter. The 20-inch specially forged wheels are significantly lighter too and each redesigned rear suspension knuckle is also less heavy than conventional knuckles. The optional carbon ceramic matrix braking system saves 20 kgs of unsprung weight over the standard F-Type. As anyone who understands vehicle performance knows, every single kilogram less gives you more rapid acceleration, more agile handling and sharper braking.
Jaguar's SVO has not only enhanced the performance and reduced weight of the F-Type, they have also made several changes on the SVR to allow all that additional power to be used in a fun and safe manner. The reconfigured aerodynamics and an active carbon fibre rear spoiler optimize the performance and reduce drag for outright speed. Jaguar says the new aero package also reduces the lift coefficient by 45 percent for even greater stability through corners. The long spoiler is wider and more elevated, enabling it to act over the whole width of the car. When deployed, it gives a drag coefficient reduction of 2.5 percent and a lift coefficient reduction of 15 percent. The almost completely new front bumper of the Jaguar F-Type SVR has large intakes to maximize airflow through the engine bay and wheel arches. The smooth front underfloor and rear venturi is also said to reduce drag and accelerates airflow.
When I was at Gaydon, it was a really cold and windy day and I could see some tress really flapping about because of the winds. Out on the track also it was really windy, but the Jaguar F-Type SVR felt completely composed and hardly got thrown around, even at high speeds and this showed that it was not being pushed about, because the air was being managed and channelized to push it down instead. It was only while braking hard at the end of the straight, when the weight transferred from the rear to the front, that I could detect some movement and a very slight shifting at the back due to the wind. But still, the movement was well controlled and the Jaguar F-Type SVR felt extremely stable and sure-footed.
Also contributing to the amazing grip and the exceptional driving dynamics of the Jaguar F-Type SVR, is the intelligent all-wheel drive system with technology that has been designed to ensure maximum traction at all times. The strong, lightweight aluminum platform also allows the finely tuned forged aluminum double wishbone suspension of the F?Type to provide the desired levels of grip and responsive handling, which in turn complements the additional engine performance. The electric power steering has been completely recalibrated too and it bestows on you not only an appreciable amount of informative communication, but also pleasing feel and just the right amount of weightage at speeds and through fast corners.
The well designed chassis also works in tandem with the advanced driving technologies. Jaguar says, and we have no reason not to believe them, that the torque vectoring provides controlled independent braking of the inside front and rear wheels during cornering. The available electronic active differential takes this one step further, working with the intelligent driveline dynamics system to precisely manage torque delivery to each of the rear wheels. And to deliver optimum comfort and control, adaptive dynamics analyzes the road and your driving style and then modifies the response. All this has resulted in the Jaguar F-Type SVR having self assured driving dynamics that provide the driver with posed and pleasing handling.
Another tremendously vital feature in any fast car are the brakes, which eventually arrest speed and keep you safe and secure. As mentioned earlier, the Jaguar F-Type SVR has an optional 'Carbon Ceramic Matrix Braking system' that is derived from motorsport technology. Jaguar says this is the most powerfully performing braking system ever fitted to a Jaguar road car and features 6-piston front and 4-piston rear brake calipers. As I experienced while driving the F-Type SVR at Gaydon, these ceramic brakes work exceedingly well. There is none of the noise, grabbing or uneven low heat behaviour that some ceramic brakes have been known for. In fact if the ceramic calipers had not been painted in a bright yellow colour and if the presentation team had not called attention to this feature, I might well not have known they were actually ceramic brakes. Well actually the spectacular stopping ability and fade free performance may have made it known, but then there are none of the known drawbacks of ceramic brakes like noise, etc, either. All of which makes the ceramic brakes on the Jaguar F-Type SVR, the best brakes I have ever driven with. They supply such high levels of confidence to the driver that driving this F-Type at the seriously high speeds its capable of, is truly quite easy and completely stress free.
Another thing which is really praiseworthy is the level of comfort provided by the Jaguar F-Type SVR. The seats are very supportive and hold you well, preventing you from moving about at speeds. But they do this in such a comfortable manner that they create a sense of total luxury. The ride quality in comfort mode is also fairly comfortable and does not batter or bruise the body like many other sports cars do. In fact as I found out at Gaydon's rough road test facility, the F-Type SVR is so good at slow speeds and going over regular potholes and broken patches, that you can use it as an everyday car as well as a genuinely potent track day machine. This is good news for Indian automotive enthusiasts who can afford to buy the F-Type SVR when it comes to our shores later this year. Simply because they can enjoy supercar performance without really compromising on comfort. Yes, the F-Type SVR is easy to live with and also enjoy on those wild days when you want to go out on track and push it to the limit.
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