+ Crazy fast
+ Beautiful interior design and infotainment system
+ Sounds phenomenal
- Costs a fortune to buy
- Costs a fortune to run
- V8 engine a bit of a dinosaur
Verdict: Huge improvements of the interior and infotainment system means the new F-Pace SVR is as good as anything in its class from Germany or Italy, but its 5.0-litre V8 engine feels a bit gruff and thirsty in this age of electrification.
The Jaguar F-Pace SVR represents the pinnacle of the range of Jaguar’s flagship SUV, packing a brawny 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine to achieve supercar performance figures. It does this while offering all the practicality of a family wagon – it’s as at home on the school run as it is on the Nürburgring.
Rivals like the BMW X5M, Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and Porsche Cayenne Turbo have traditionally appealed more than the SVR to folk who value interior design and an effortless infotainment system, but Jaguar has addressed these issues – and then some – for the 2021 model.
Standing on 22-inch alloy wheels the F-Face SVR looks brawnier than ever and arrives with a new bumper featuring a bigger air intake and side vents to improve brake and engine cooling. In fact Jaguar says the cumulative effect of the small tweaks to the aerodynamics across the car adds up to a 35% reduction in lift and a significant reduction of drag.
Slimmer LEDs at the front make the car appear wider and can be optioned with pixel technology, while the bonnet has grown longer and features a bigger bulge (no sniggering at the back). At the rear of the car Jaguar’s signature ‘double chicane’ lights have been added, and the beefy quad-exhaust pipes tell you a lot about what’s under the hood.
If the exterior is an improvement on the last model, the interior is a different car entirely. Soft Alcantara swathes the doors and seats, and the brushed aluminium centre console houses a tough and chunky drive selector. Splashes of colour, such as the red stitching on the steering wheel, help create a premium feel and the SVR logo can be found on the headrests of the seats as well as the steering wheel.
But it’s the addition of the new 11.4-inch curved glass Pivi Pro infotainment system which has truly elevated the F-Pace SVR’s interior quality beyond even that even of BMW or Audi. The screen’s size coupled with the intelligently engineered functionality makes Jag’s new system one of the best, if not the best, on the market.
The F-Pace SVR will hold five adults comfortably, and with a 793-litre boot it can hold significantly more than the BMW X5M.
Jaguar Land Rover's 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine is something of a dinosaur as the car world charges towards electrification, and this is almost certainly the last deployment it will find in a car with a leaping cat on the front, as Jaguar will soon go all-electric. But it’s fun to enjoy one last hurrah, and getting your foot down not only arrives you at 62mph in just 4.0-seconds, the exhaust makes a noise which could raise the lost city of Atlantis.
It handles superbly too, with very little body roll in corners, even though you are aware of the weight as you wrestle it out of the apex. Jaguar has borrowed much of the F-Pace SVR’s engineering from it XE SV Project 8 super saloon, and it shows.
The only criticism we have concerns the engine. We’re almost embarrassed to say it, but does a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 SUV which returns just 23mpg have a place in this world anymore? Even if you have the £77K to buy the car, you’ll spend your life - and savings - at the pumps.
Performance SUVs by their very nature seem outmoded in this age of CO2-policing, and as brands like Porsche bring through hybrid-powered sports SUVs the Jag’s 5.0-litre unit is starting to feel a bit long in the tooth, but it’s still a hell of a lot of fun.
If you are one of the lucky few for whom running costs aren’t a concern and you have a fondness for aggressive, noisy and frighteningly powerful engines, the F-Pace SVR is such a complete car in all other respects then you should get in quick before V8s are only found in museums.
It was long overdue but as of this year Jaguar is well on-top of its game when it comes to interior design. Not only design but build quality too. The SVR’s cabin befits its heavy price tag in every way, with not a single example of cost-cutting on display. Expensive materials and tastefully appointed switchgear are found throughout and premium luxuries like heated seats and steering wheel come as standard, while SVR-badged sports seats are an optional extra.
But the crowning glory in the 11.4-inch Pivi Pro infotainment system, which compliments a head-up display and the 12.3-inch HD digital driver display, itself trimmed with Alcantara. The curved glass Pivi Pro touchscreen is 48% bigger than the system it replaces and 90% of common functions can be achieved in two clicks or less from the home screen.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard and the system can perform over-the-air software updates, which allows for live sat nav updates and reduces the need to take the car to a dealership for upgrades. Thanks to a dedicated power source, the Pivi Pro system boots up and links to a smartphone immediately.
The F-Pace has never been short on space, and the SVR comfortably accommodates five adults. Legroom both front and back is plentiful, and the front seats offer plenty of movement and adjustability. Large storage bins in the doors and a generously-sized cubby hole on the centre front console means you have no excuse for the cabin to become cluttered.
With 793-litres of boot space - which rises to 1,842 with the rear seats flat - the F-Pace SVR is at the top of the class when it comes to load lugging and should happily swallow enough for family weekends away. And a powered tailgate helps make life as easy as possible when loading and unloading.
What an engine. It’s been around a while now and can be found in multiple JLR models, mostly the ones wearing the SVR badge, but Jag’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine still has the power to surprise and impress. With 542bhp and 700Nm of torque – an improvement of 20Nm over the last model – shove is more than plentiful and peaks at just over 6,000rpm.
An upgraded version of the ZF automatic 8-speed gearbox mean shifts are slightly quicker than before, and the exhaust note is louder than ever,
In terms of the stats that matter, the 0-62mph sprint is done in just 4.0-seconds and the top speed is an entirely pointless 178mph. All of this comes at the detriment to running costs however: the F-Pace SVR returns a measly 23.mpg and produces 275g/km CO2. While both numbers are a slight improvement over the last version, it’s still going to cost a fortune to run.
For this reason you should think hard about whether such a thirsty V8 will fit into your life. The fun soon evaporates when you find yourself living in your overdraft.
On the road the F-Pace SVR feels more competent than ever, although it was no slouch before. Of course the off-the-line performance is brutally quick, but the good manners the car displays in corners is even more impressive. It turns in and out of corners with almost no body roll and has a preciseness some sports cars fail to achieve.
Jaguar’s SVO department has transferred a lot of learnings from the XE SV Project 8 to improve the F-Pace SVR incrementally in all areas, most noticeably in the damping and steering. The ride, while always on the harsh side, is much more compliant around town than before, and the steering is firm and direct. Braking too has been improved, thanks to a new power booster which adds bite and feel to the pedal.
If you’re looking for a fast SUV which is more than just a one-trick pony with a quick 0-62mph time, the F-Pace SVR is a great way to spend £77,595.