History may yet judge differently, but the all- electric Jaguar I- Pace we drove earlier this year appears to be the most significant new car to come from this marque, if not this country, in decades.
It’s cleverly packaged, beautifully designed, delivers close to 300 miles of range on a single electric charge and — most importantly — drives like a Jaguar.
It’s the first zero emissions vehicle an enthusiast would want to own.
It’s hard to over- state, therefore, the potential impact of this technological tour de force — on the Jaguar brand, on new car buyers and, indeed, on the entire future model line. The I- Pace won’t be the last allelectric Jaguar, and one can only speculate on the capabilities of a silent- running XJ executive saloon or the accelerative forces that might be found in a pure electric replacement for the F- Type sports car.
Which leaves the current Jaguar F- Type
– as lithe and line- perfect a beauty now as it was at the time of its unveiling in 2013 – awash with a range of petrol- powered combustion engines that might, just might, be the last of their kind. And in the case of the fire- breathing, 5.0- litre, V8 supercharged powerplant delivering 575bhp in the F- Type SVR headliner that would be a crying shame.
Not because it can whip what is a compact two- seater coupé all the way to 200mph, or hit 60mph from standstill in an absurd 3.5 seconds, amid tyre smoke and hyperspeed scenery ( think back to the Millennium Falcon cockpit shot when Han Solo hits the switch). But because of the noise.
A noise that barks, bellows and thunders akin to that of the Almighty clearing his throat. A noise that invigorates, excites and — occasionally — frightens. A noise that reaches right down into the soul of the schoolboy inside all of us and pulls it clean out of your ears. A noise that, once silenced through regulation and climate necessity, will be a loss on an epic scale. And a noise that, you suspect, Jaguar created then built an entire car around.
A preposterous suggestion? That one might design a car of such perfect form, engineer such a beguiling combination of ride, grip and tenacity, then bespoiler and bedeck it just to enclose a noise?
Nah, the F- Type SVR is absolutely, definitely and undeniably about the noise.
It snaps on start- up, crackles on the overrun and pops on lift- off — it’s your favourite breakfast cereal on wheels is what it is. And, just in case you hadn’t worked that out for yourself on first acquaintance, there’s a button on the centre console that resets the exhaust and management systems to make more noise. Your neighbours will either love you ( as mine do) or put your windows in for fear that you are causing sleep deprivation in their pets or babies. But I’m down with that, either way.
These aren’t cheap thrills, prices start from £ 112,525, but when the time comes to write the epitaph of the internal combustion engine this will be the one that takes us to church.
If this is the beginning of the passing of the internal combustion engine, then we just got taken to church
Words Darren Styles Jaguar F- Type SVR Coupé. 5.0- litre // supercharged V8 // 575bhp, 501lb/ ft torque // 0- 62mph in 3.5 seconds // top speed 200mph // eight- speed automatic // combined 25.9mpg // 249g/ km CO2 // £ 112,525 //jaguar. co. uk