2017 Jaguar F-TYPE SVR Convertible Review

2017 Jaguar F-TYPE SVR Convertible Review


Conventional wisdom tells us that one of the
easiest ways to get something really big to move in a hurry is to shoe-horn a massive
engine in it. In the case of this retired 747 Jumbo it has
four separate gas guzzlers providing forward propulsion. A similar theory is also shared with Jaguar’s
new F-Type SVR. This is the fastest production Jaguar ever
produced and thanks to its supercharged 5.0L V8 it has plenty of stick. How much? Well, today I plan to find out. Not only is the SVR the most powerful production
Jag currently on sale, it is also the most dedicated performance model on the British
car maker’s fleet. Fit with larger front cooling ducts, tweaked
exhaust system and retuned all-wheel drive stability and traction control systems, engineers
have stripped up to 50kg of weight from the regular F-Type R on which the SVR is based,
and our model was even fitted with optional carbon ceramic brakes. The cost in convertible cars, a cool $308,000
plus on-road cost. The Jaguar’s sumptuous two-seat cabin is
a far cry from the retired Qantas airliner parked up at the Illawarra Regional Airport
in New South Wales, but just like the 747 it employs the big body big engine theory
to great effect. There is one other major similarity between
these two. A runway is about the only place you get to
exploit their full ground speed. I’ve got 1,819m worth of bitumen at my disposal,
so let’s give it a nudge. Oh, the pull of the line is just phenomenal! Okay, so if truth be told, you don’t need
a giant runway to really enjoy the SVR. It’s just one of those lovely open top cruisers. The engine is a real highlight and the car
is actually really quite easy to live with, given the fact it’s virtually almost like
a super car. I, sort of, compare it to a bit like a prize
fighter, though. It, kind of, bobs and weaves along the road
a bit, but I think that’s all part of the experience in this thing. And, like I said, it’s by no means uncomfortable. The V8 engine as well, while it does make
a lot of its power up at the top end of the spectrum, the supercharger means that you
do get a lot of that usable everyday sort of grunt from down low. One other thing, if you drive this thing regularly,
you want to be around tunnels a bit. So cool, it just crackles and bangs and bops. The SVR is actually relatively efficient too
for a V8 and it’s got stop/start technology, and the 8-speed automatic transmission naturally
pushes through all the gears in order to get somewhere near its fuel climb. Really though, the SVR is best enjoyed in
dynamic mode, which sharpens throttle response, firms up the electrically assisted power steering
and opens up that bellowing exhaust. Now while the SVR still tips the scales at
about 1850kg, it certainly doesn’t feel that way through the bends. It’s really quite agile. Being a front engine car, yes, a little bit
heavy over the nose, but it doesn’t really detract from the driving experience all that
much. It’s still very sharp. The steering possesses terrific weighting
and feel and there’s excellent grip from those Pirelli P-0 tyres. The SVR also boasts a torque vectoring by
brake function that has been tweaked by the Jaguar Special Vehicle Operations Team. Happily, it will also dance about through
corners thanks to an all-wheel drive system with a healthy amount of rear bias. The ultimate comparison here is, I guess,
between this and something like a 911 Tiger. Is this as sharp? Well, it’s pretty close. I think the Porsche still has the edge, though,
just in terms of overall communication between road, car and driver. It all amounts to a supremely confident yet
capable sports convertible and, just like the 747 in its heyday, a flagship that deserves
its place at the pointy end of the fleet.