When Jaguar first introduced the F-Pace back in 2015, it quickly turned into one of their most popular models overnight. The market for compact luxury crossovers is huge at the moment, and the people who buy these cars can’t get enough of them. If there’s one thing people love more than luxury crossovers though, it’s fast luxury crossovers. Queue the Jaguar F-Pace SVR. Designed and built by the special boffins from Jaguar’s skunkworks division called Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), it’s one of the fastest crossovers currently on the market.
When we recently got a chance to test one in Nice, France, out of all places, we jumped at the opportunity. Here’s what spending a few days with one of the most sought-after crossovers currently taught us.
The regular F-Pace is a great looking bit of kit. In fact, it might be the most handsome car in its segment. So when the guys over at Jaguar decide to give it an SVR makeover, you can be positive the results will be nothing short of extraordinary. The SVR variant of the F-Pace adds another layer of aggression and menace to the standard car, but it isn’t as shouty as I originally thought it would be. The changes are more subtle than what we’ve come to expect from Jaguar, which in a car such as the F-Pace, I think is a good thing.
Ian Callum, the man behind great motoring legends such as the F-Type, the Aston Martin Vanquish, and the Jaguar C-X75, is the creative genius behind the F-Pace too. You don’t have to be a massive car enthusiast to spot the differences though. Up front you’ll notice it has a brand-new bumper with massive air intakes, a quarter of grilles, and a glossy black insert at the bottom. The SVR hood is special too, as noted by the two rows of vents giving off not-so-subtle hints.
Round the sides we find larger fender vents which are functional as well as great to look at. They decrease air pressure inside the wheel arches at high speeds, reducing lift and increasing stability. The 21-inch wheels are larger than those found on the standard F-Pace too. The rear has to be my favorite part of the SVR’s design. The roof-mounted spoiler reduces lift and drag while increasing rear-end stability. The diffuser-like element nicely houses the quad exhaust tips, a traditional feature of most SVR models.
The cabin was always an F-Pace strong suit, so adding minor upgrades just made it better. The bucket-style Slimline sport seats up front are brilliant, plenty of support without sacrificing comfort. Both rows of seats come with signature lozenge quilting, as well as the mandatory SVR logo embedded in the headrests.
It’s a very plush cabin. The center console houses a 10-inch touchscreen which supports the latest Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as 4G Wi-Fi connectivity for eight separate devices. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster behind the SVR-specific steering wheel was a great bonus for me. It was so clear and easy to use I had a blast playing with the menus and looking at all the different information which is available.
Cargo space hasn’t been sacrificed at all, so you’re still looking at 650 liters of boot space. To be quite honest, I don’t think any other crossover can hold a candle to the SVR’s cabin at the moment. None of them have the same feeling of solidity, and they certainly don’t offer the same level of luxury.
Engine and Performance
If you want the fastest regular F-Pace available, you’ll have to go for the supercharged 3.0-liter V6. With 340 horsepower no one would dare call it slow, but SVO obviously had different ideas. They’ve somehow managed to shoehorn the trusty 5.0-liter supercharged V8 into the engine bay and give this relatively compact crossover a not-so-modest 550 horsepower and 680 Nm of torque. That’s over twice as much power as a Golf GTI and 90 horsepower more than the all-American 6.2-liter Corvette C7.
The sprint to 100 km/h takes just 4.3 seconds and flat out you’ll be travelling at a staggering 283 km/h. Yes, this unsuspecting crossover is faster flat out than most restricted performance saloons such as M5s, E63s, and the like. If that doesn’t make you love this thing, nothing will.
Power is sent to all four wheels via a Quickshift eight-speed auto with SVR-specific tuning. The electric power assisted steering has been revamped, as has been the adaptive dynamics system, the torque vectoring, and the dynamic stability control.
The suspension setup is relatively complex and modern, taking cues from the F-Type. The double wishbone in the front and integral link setup in the back do an excellent job of controlling body roll. Despite its high center of gravity, the SVR feels planted in the corners. The progressive springs and adaptive dampers certainly add to that as well.
Bar an actual SVR sedan, this is the closest thing you can find which handles like a genuine sportscar. Apart from the higher seating position there no other indicators reminding you that you’re in a crossover. There are many crossovers which have come close, but none of them have succeeded… until now.
It’s a relatively small niche segment, I’ll give you that, but if you have the money and the desire for the sportiest crossover on the planet, there are no alternatives. You have to get this SUV, it’s that good.