NICE, France – The roar of the supercharged V8 bounces off the rocky faces on the side of a road that criss-crosses the beautiful Var region in Southern France. The pace is frenetic and each downshift is met with a loud backfire as we prepare to attack the next corner. The Jaguar F-PACE SVR is a willing partner in crime, and like any juiced-up crossover, it impresses with remarkable grip and handling despite weighing nearly two metric tons.
For this new SVR variant of the F-PACE, which they nicknamed “The Magnificent Beast,” Jaguar engineers borrowed the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine from the F-TYPE sports car and then revised the suspension, improved aerodynamics and gave the AWD system a rear-wheel bias. The result is simply fabulous.
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The aforementioned engine is shared with several models from Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations. In the F-PACE SVR, it cranks out 541 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque, good enough to reach 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds… and put some accomplished sports cars to shame.
The supercharged soundtrack becomes even more epic when you press a button on the centre console to free up the exhaust system. Jaguar is a master at calibrating the symphony of its combustion engines and the new F-PACE SVR’s performance couldn’t be more eloquent.
Jaguar engineers took the F-PACE S and revised the entire chassis to match the performance of the more powerful engine. The springs are 30 percent stiffer up front and 10 percent stiffer in the rear. The dampers are firmer, too, and a larger sway bar is mounted in the rear. These upgrades help reduce body roll in corners.
The rear tires are wider than the front tires for extra grip and the vehicle comes standard with 21-inch alloy wheels—22-inch wheels are optional.
Furthermore, the AWD system was modified to send 100 percent of the available torque to the rear wheels in normal driving conditions. Whenever a slip occurs, up to 50 percent of the torque can be transferred to the front axle, but nothing more. Naturally, the Jaguar F-PACE SVR also offers several drive modes including a Dynamic mode that adds weight to the steering, firms up the suspension, improves throttle response and delivers quicker shifts.
Dressed for the Occasion
The SVR model has the looks to back up its superior performance, starting with a more imposing grille and large openings in the front fascia. There are additional openings on the hood and the front fenders, all of which are functional, and a new spoiler atop the rear window. These changes create a strong visual separation with the rest of the F-PACE lineup.
Inside, you’ll find aggressively sculpted sport seats that provide excellent support and high levels of comfort. The pistol-style shifter and the sport steering wheel are both derived from the F-TYPE.
Is Jaguar completely out of its mind for developing such an explosive SUV? Probably not, especially when you consider the AMG- and M-branded models from German competitors. This is a highly lucrative market segment and Jaguar hopes to cash in, too.
Look for the 2020 Jaguar F-PACE SVR to go on sale in Canada this July starting at $92,000 before freight and delivery charges.