PURR-FECT: JAGUAR’S FASTEST CAR YET OOZES POWER AND COM­FORT

Pow­ered by a 5.0-litre V8, the F-type SVR is the most pow­er­ful Jaguar cur­rently on sale. How does all that power feel on the road? Dar­ren Cassey finds out

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - News - FIRST DRIVE DAR­REN CASSEY

WHAT’S NEW?

This is the Jaguar F-type SVR, and those three let­ters at the end of its name sig­nify that this is the fastest, light­est and most fo­cused F-type to date. It’s the work of Jaguar Land Rover’s Spe­cial Ve­hi­cle Op­er­a­tions di­vi­sion, which works on spe­cial ver­sions of the com­pany’s cars.

How­ever, far from be­ing a stripped-out, light­weight track day hero like a Porsche 911 GT3, the SVR is ac­tu­ally about be­ing lu­di­crously fast, but to­tally us­able in the real world. That’s why most of the weight sav­ings are in places you won’t no­tice – forged al­loy wheels save 13.8kg, while car­bon-ce­ramic brakes save a fur­ther 21kg, for ex­am­ple.

Other changes are more vis­ual, though. There are lou­vres on the bon­net to aid en­gine cool­ing, vents in the body­work to im­prove air­flow and a prom­i­nent wing out back for in­creased down­force. This is a se­ri­ous bit of kit.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE

Looks might be in the eye of the be­holder, but there can’t be many peo­ple who’d re­fute the fact the F-type is one of the best look­ing cars out there.

Its pretty lines wear the more ag­gres­sive aero­dy­namic ad­den- dum well and trans­form the car. Cou­ple that with the gor­geous V8 wail from the ex­haust pipes and the SVR’S driver-fo­cused at­ti­tude is im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent. It’s ex­cit­ing be­fore you even pull away.

How­ever, all of that drama is not at the ex­pense of too much com­fort. Sure, the bucket seats are more cos­set­ing, but they’re also leather-wrapped so won’t leave you sore on a long jour­ney – qual­ity ma­te­ri­als are present through­out the in­te­rior and add to the classy feel­ing. SPACE AND PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY The F-type SVR is a low-slung, two-seater sports car, so space and prac­ti­cal­ity are nat­u­rally not its forte.

That said, the cabin isn’t claus­tro­pho­bic and the boot is big enough to fit a few bags for a weekend away – in coupe form it has up to 408 litres of space, while the con­vert­ible has about half that.

There are plenty of driver aids that come as stan­dard to help keep the car (and driver) out of trou­ble, such as dy­namic sta­bil­ity con­trol, emer­gency brake as­sist and low­grip driv­e­train modes.

BEHIND THE WHEEL

The F-type R, on which the SVR is based, is quite a fre­netic ex­pe­ri­ence. But this car man­ages to tread the line be­tween ramp­ing up the drama while adding com­po­sure in a way that beg­gars be­lief.

Gears slam home in an in­stant thanks to the soft­ware-tweaked eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, while the four-wheel drive sys­tem has been given more rear bias to im­prove agility.

Aside from the glo­ri­ous as­sault on the senses handed out by the en­gine, the other driv­ing high­light comes from the re­vised chas­sis. Spring rates re­main un­changed, but there are new dampers and anti-roll bars, wider, lighter wheels and stiff­ened rear knuck­les.

It all com­bines to make the SVR feel more planted than ever be­fore with­out los­ing the F-type’s ag­gres­sive char­ac­ter.

VALUE FOR MONEY

When buy­ing a high per­for­mance coupe that costs in ex­cess of £100,000, value for money needs con­text.

That can be given to us by another car with a stun­ning ex­haust note. The V10-en­gined Audi R8 comes with sim­i­lar drama and, as far as mid-en­gined su­per­cars go, is fairly prac­ti­cal. The en­try-level model starts at £120,645, while the be­winged, full-fat ver­sion is about £10,000 more – the F-type SVR’S power out­put sits be­tween these two mod­els. Here, the F-type looks like good value.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

The Jaguar F-type SVR is de­signed to grab a slice of the pie dom­i­nated by the likes of the Porsche 911. Its Ger­man ri­val has be­come the go-to op­tion for fast and fun coupes, but the 911 has an ex­cel­lent ri­val here.

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