Jaguar F-pace SVR
Big miles, very big speeds and unexpected economy are all in a day and a half’s work for our SVR
MORE LONG-RANGE JAUNTS IN THE SVR this month, with a drive out to the Bilster Berg circuit in central Germany and back in just 36 hours. That’s quite a lot of driving in one go, and I must admit I was feeling the strain by the end, but the Jag was still a great car to do the journey in. It also gave an opportunity to really stretch the V8’s legs on the autobahn, although the heavy traffic meant that, in reality, it boiled down to one particular section that was quiet enough to really go for it.
As with any vehicle, approach the last ten per cent of the envelope and the SVR suddenly goes from feeling as planted as you’d expect a sporty two-ton SUV to feel to decidedly nervous. Not that I had a passenger, but if I did, any conversation would have ceased, smartish. It definitely helped to firm up the dampers with Dynamic mode, but there was still the creeping unease from feeling the invisible effects of air starting to tug at the F-pace’s shape and lift it away from the road. My nerves were not improved by the dramatic wobble of the bonnet, which would have done an old Impreza proud, and while I’m assuming this is normal, the fact that it popped onto the latch the other day for no reason that could be explained became a nagging distraction as the speeds really rose. All in, I think the best was an indicated 160mph – not bad, albeit a little way short of the claimed 178mph maximum. What a bellow though from that V8 fully extended; apologies if the windows rattled in Paderborn that afternoon…
I didn’t actually drive the Jag at Bilster Berg, it was merely my transport, but the fact that the consumption climbed to 30mpg over the entire trip was something to celebrate when you remember there’s a 542bhp supercharged lump under the bonnet. Or looked at another way, from what I can tell the Jag was about 1mpg down on our 242bhp four-cylinder Skoda Kodiaq VRS – and no, I don’t have the foggiest idea how that’s possible either, but there you go.
Although there were no track laps, there is a very interesting road through a forest to actually reach the circuit. That characteristically smooth, shiny German asphalt seems to offer very limited grip, and the SVR was immediately moving around, tyres softly whining in protest at the edge of their hold on the surface. In the really tight turns you can be aggressive with the throttle – ESP off, of course – and provoke some alarming and very amusing power oversteer, but it can quickly become a little scrappy and there’s always the feeling of trying to battle physics.
It was at this moment in particular that I really wished I was driving an XFR-S, for there’s no getting away from the fact that high-rise vehicles are still a compromise. I’m told by someone close to the development of the SVR that much of the chassis work was done on the larger, 21-inch rims, and that these benefit the handling but not at the expense of the ride quality. We may give Jaguar a call to see if we can try the larger wheel. All said and done, though, the SVR is still impressing greatly.
Date acquired July 2022 Total mileage 23,551 Mileage this month 1501 Costs this month £0 mpg this month 25.1