GQ (South Africa)

Jaguar F-pace SVR

The F-pace is Jaguar’s first SUV to receive the SVR treatment, transformi­ng it into a proper wild cat. GQ motoring editor Dieter Losskarn took it for a rather dynamic road trip into the Karoo.


Being german, people sometimes Accuse me of Being A Bit Biased towards teutonic Automobile products. Well, true or not, I was recently blown away by an English car – the incredibly impressive Jaguar F-pace SVR.

Having gone fully electric with the I-pace to calm the world-wide Greta crowd, Jaguar didn’t forget their enthusiast­ic V8-loving clientele. A year later than originally planned the most powerful F-pace ever was launched, having received the full SVR (Special Vehicle Racing) treatment. Making it only the third car in the group, after the F-type and Range Rover, to be blessed with this exciting performanc­e upgrade.

The heart of Jaguar’s wildest cat is the supercharg­ed 5.0-L V8 petrol powerplant, putting out 405kw and delivering 680Nm of torque, resulting in a top speed of 283km/h and an accelerati­on of 4.3 seconds from 0 to 100km/h. That’s not mere sporty, that’s supercar territory. This would usually come with severe limitation­s to comfort and luxury. Apparently this is not the case.

The best way to find out is a little road trip into the Karoo. Along the twisty R44, between Gordon’s and Betty’s Bay, the performanc­e is already convincing. It feels very similar to the F-type SVR – a thoroughbr­ed sports car. Throwing a two-ton plus car around bends like this is a rather exhilarati­ng affair.

As soon as the road smooths out and there is no more traffic ahead, the wild cat turns into a pussy cat again. Pawsome.

The F-pace SVR is a refined, comfortabl­e luxury SUV and a highperfor­mance race car at the same time.

Despite being so quick, you’ve also got all the space inside for your road trip luggage. Emitting a wild roar, it almost feels like an old-fashioned hot rod – with excellent brakes thanks to larger discs. Even standing still the SVR SUV impresses. The 21-inch wheels are standard, 22-inch alloys are optional. Front and rear bumper are new and the car is 30% stiffer than the regular F-pace. At traffic lights, the SVR looks proper mean and even a Cayenne driver would look, listen and mumble: ‘Mmmmmh’.

Our first overnight stay is as stylish as our ride. The Grootbos Forest Lodge is an architectu­ral glass, wood and steel dream, built into the fynbos high above Walker Bay. The Grootbos bush dinners are legendary, but don’t overdo it, as their breakfasts are incredible as well.

Between Gansbaai and Bredasdorp you’ll find some great open country roads with perfect tarmac and no speed traps in sight. You get my drift? Accelerati­on and composure of the performanc­e F-pace are once again impressive.

But as soon as the road surface changes to gravel it’s another story. It’s where performanc­e SUVS with 22-inch wheels shouldn’t be. In order to reach our next overnight destinatio­n, Gondwana Game Reserve, we have to cover some dirt. We have to take it so easy that even beat-up bakkies are overtaking us. Embarrassi­ng.

Once inside the reserve we swop our comfortabl­e leather fauteuils with the canvas covered benches of a game drive vehicle. The Jaguar sleeps tonight.

After all, can you imagine the lions’ faces spotting a foreign cat in their backyard?

The next day it’s tarmac again, in the shape of twisty Robinson Pass, connecting the Garden Route with the Klein-karoo. With less potent SUVS I would have chosen my favourite mountain road, Swartberg Pass, to reach Prince Albert. But for the

F-pace SVR the sweeping curves of Meiringspo­ort are the more appropriat­e choice.

Prince Albert is named after Queen Victoria’s hubby, so our Jaguar sucks in some English heritage, which culminates the following day in the tiny hamlet of Matjiesfon­tein. A chunk of Britain in the middle of nowhere, including the spooky Lord

‘The F-pace SVR is a refined, comfortabl­e luxury SUV and a high-performanc­e race car at the same time’

Milner Hotel, a typical pub, and a vintage double decker bus. The Jaguar has an absolute blast here. You almost expect Mr Bean stepping out of one of the historic buildings. I am sure comedian and car nut Rowan Atkinson would not only appreciate the quirkiness of this location, but also the excellent British automobile parked next to the red London bus.

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