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Having spent the last nine years testing and reviewing cars, I’ve been fortunate enough to get behind the wheel of some very tasty motors. And whilst I’m very grateful for each and every time a manufacturer sends me a shiny new car to test, there are very few that I’ve actually wanted to own. That’s what makes the Jaguar F-Pace SVR so special. It may not be the fastest performance SUV, nor is it the loudest. And yet, faced with the choice of buying any one car I wanted, it would be the Jag. Let me tell you why.
There is a lot to love about the way the F-Pace looks. It is rounded and curvaceous in a way that disguises its size; making it seem sleeker and more slender than Range Rover models. SVR styling is far from subtle: broader arches, gaping air intakes, air channels built into the front wings, side skirts and rear bumper, four not-so-small exhaust pipes and a prominent roof spoiler. My test car had optional 22-inch gloss black alloys (£1,320) that were a wonderful contrast to the Firenze Red Paint. Privacy glass (£415) completes the exterior look.
The red and black colour scheme continued inside, which makes for a vibrant alternative to a ‘safe’ all-black cabin. The beautiful, sculpted front seats may look unforgiving, but the electric adjustment allows you to loosen or tighten the bolsters to suit. Quilted leather is opulent, and it’s a nice touch that the outer rear seats look as sporty as the front ones. A widescreen infotainment system and digital instrument cluster give a clean and high-tech appearance, whilst the suedecloth headlining is properly sporty. The cabin is especially light and airy with the optional sliding panoramic roof with electric blind (£1,600).
If you want just one reason to buy the Jaguar F-Pace SVR, you’ll find it under the bonnet”
If you want just one reason to buy the F-Pace SVR, you’ll find it under the bonnet. There’s no small-capacity eco-warrior engine for the SVR. Jaguar sticks to what it knows best; a supercharged V8 petrol engine. At a sizeable 5.0-litres in capacity, and with power and torque output of 550PS and 680Nm respectively, it is enough to propel this two-tonne SUV from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 176mph.
But it’s the thunderous soundtrack that really elevates the driving experience in the F-Pace SVR. It has the subtlety of a sledgehammer at the best of times, but for extra enjoyment you can push a button on the centre console which opens flaps in the exhausts. This brings the SVR to life: deeper low-rev rumble, snarlier mid-range bark and a cacophony of pops and bangs on overrun. I guarantee you that no matter how bad your mood, five minutes in the F-Pace SVR will put a great big smile on your face.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is also great at blasting around like a lunatic. But it falls far short of the F-Pace SVR when it comes to refinement. In ‘Comfort’ mode the F-Pace is a quiet, civilised cruiser. In other words, it’s a Jaguar. Don’t be fooled by the existence of an ‘Eco’ mode either; combined fuel consumption of 22.7mpg is going to make you a regular at the local petrol station. But you don’t buy a 5.0 Supercharged V8 to complain about economy, so I doubt that will put any prospective customers off.
No matter how bad your mood, five minutes in the F-Pace will put a great big smile on your face!
And if you can stomach the fuel bills you’ll have yourself a tremendous family car. The cabin is spacious, and can easily accommodate five adults, although the one in the rear middle seat will feel like they got the short straw. The boot is a very useable 650 litres, expanding to 1,731 litres with the rear seats folded. And unlike some other performance SUV’s – yes, Alfa Romeo, I’m talking about you – the F-Pace SVR is still rated for towing: an impressive 2,400kg braked and 750kg unbraked.
When it comes to equipment, Jaguar has been very generous for the SVR trim level. Standard kit includes electrically-adjustable front seats with memory function, heated and cooled front seats, heated outer rear seats, heated steering wheel, keyless entry and go, satellite navigation, auto lights and wipers, cruise control with speed limiter and dual-zone climate control. For £3,100 you can add a Driver Assistance Pack; comprising Blind Spot Assist, High-Speed Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist, 360-degree Surround Camera, Park Assist, 360-degree Parking Aid and Rear Traffic Monitor.
The base price of a Jaguar F-Pace SVR is a very reasonable £75,375. The price of my test car, including a few optional extras, was £83,750. This car has a lot in common with the Range Rover Sport SVR; a car which starts from £101,850. The Jaguar is lighter, and therefore faster than the Range Rover Sport. I think it is better looking too. Add in the rarity factor – there are fewer of them on the road – and the F-Pace SVR looks like an absolute bargain. That’s why it’s currently sitting top of my dream car wish list. And it will take some beating.