See that Mercedes-benz EQC up there? Here’s its polar op­po­site, 405kw of fos­sil-fu­elled fury

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents - TONY O’KANE

IT’S CON­SID­ERED so­cially ad­vis­able to never show up to a party on time – al­ways ar­rive fash­ion­ably late. That’s lucky for the F-pace SVR, be­cause it hap­pens to be both th­ese things: fashionabl­e, and hideously late.

Fashionabl­e be­cause, well, look at it. There’s no other SUV out there that boasts such clas­si­cally at­trac­tive pro­por­tions as the F-pace, free of un­nec­es­sary creases and body­lines and aug­mented in the SVR by the taste­ful ap­pli­ca­tion of big­ger air dams and heat-shed­ding vents, along with sub­tle aero to cut drag and re­duce lift.

Late be­cause it’s ar­rived about a year af­ter it was orig­i­nally ex­pected. Is­sues with a parts sup­plier delayed the SVR’S launch by around 12 months, but be­sides that it’s a late­comer to the

per­for­mance SUV party in gen­eral. Jaguar’s German friends have had the dance floor largely to them­selves up un­til this point.

Can the F-pace SVR catch up? A 405kw su­per­charged V8 copy-pasted from the F-type R (all-wheel drive and eight-speed auto in­cluded) cer­tainly helps, and, with 5.0 litres of dis­place­ment, it’s the big­gest in its class. Hot-rod logic is cer­tainly ap­pli­ca­ble even to tall wag­ons, and the ex­tra cou­ple of cylin­ders gives the SVR a wholly dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter to that of its V6 and four-cylin­der sib­lings.

Hop into the F-pace SVR, jab the starter but­ton, and the V8 barks into life. As is true of all good per­for­mance Jaguars, the F-pace SVR of­fers plenty of au­ral the­atrics – es­pe­cially when the ex­haust baf­fles are fully di­lated. Stab the throt­tle, and the sonic boom will stoke your adrenal gland like few other SUVS can. Se­lect drive, and the V8 ea­gerly tugs you along from idle, the gear­box smoothly step­ping through its eight ra­tios when left alone.

But where’s the fun in that? Flick the drive mode to Dy­namic, tip the trans­mis­sion se­lec­tor to Sport Au­to­matic and smash the ac­cel­er­a­tor deep into the car­pet.

Thrust is im­me­di­ate, the su­per­charger’s lin­ear­ity mak­ing for a pro­gres­sive wind-up of power and torque, and the SVR’S nor­mally rear-bi­ased all-wheel drive mo­men­tar­ily tak­ing drive to the front axles to keep wheel­spin at bay. Zero-to-hun­dred is done in just 4.3 sec­onds, and the SVR’S in­stant throt­tle re­sponse en­dows it with rolling ac­cel­er­a­tion that’s even more sav­age.

It’s more than a straight-line hero. An ac­tive rear dif­fer­en­tial and brake torque vec­tor­ing aids turn-in no mat­ter whether you’re speed­ing up or slow­ing down, and the 295mm-wide rear tyres give the F-pace SVR a level of trac­tion that’s im­mensely hard to breach.

Its cor­ner­ing com­pe­tency is re­mark­able. Reg­u­lar F-pace vari­ants were al­ready handy around a bend, but the SVR ups the ante in a big way. It’s not just car-like, but sportscar-like. It’s just a shame the steer­ing is some­what lack­ing in en­gage­ment, the around-town ride is a bit firm and that the car feels heav­ier than its ad­ver­tised 1.9-tonne kerb weight.

A de­cent foil to the Porsche Macan Turbo, Mercedes-amg GLC 63 S and Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q, then? For a first ef­fort it’s re­mark­ably good, but a back-to-back com­paro will be needed to as­sign a proper fin­ish­ing or­der in this new breed of su­per-suvs.

Top: Be­sides Svr-spe­cific seats, the hottest F-pace is sur­pris­ingly un­der­stated on the in­side Model Jaguar F-pace SVR En­gine 5000cc V8 (90°), dohc, 32v, s/c Max power 405kw @ 6000-6500rpm Max torque 680Nm @ 2500-5500rpm Trans­mis­sion 8-speed au­to­matic Weight 1936kg 0-100km/h 4.3sec (claimed) Fuel econ­omy 11.7L/100km Price $139,648 On sale Now

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