The automotive enthusiast community has been on fire lately with anti-SUV drivel. There have been countless articles on various automotive big-name blogs asking the community at large to do their part to stop the rise of the SUV simply because they aren’t exciting, and they aren’t enthusiast-oriented.
While this is true in many cases, there are some true performance SUVs on the market. One such vehicle is the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 powered Jaguar F-Pace SVR, which produces a staggering 550 horsepower and 502lb-ft of torque. Having spent a week behind the wheel of one over Christmas, I can tell you there isn’t a lick of boring anywhere in the F-Pace SVR driving experience.
The 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR is much more than the standard (but brilliant) F-Pace stuffed with a bigger engine. Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations team looked at the F-Pace SVR holistically and tweaked everything from the suspension to the transmission programming.
The appearance of the F-Pace SVR is downright aggressive. The SVR receives standard 21-inch wheels (our tester came fitted with the optional 22-inch wheels), a more aggressive front bumper, a model-specific hood with functional air vents, functional vents behind the rear bumper, and large quad exhaust tips. These changes give the F-Pace SVR a lot of road presence, especially in the gorgeous Firenze Red of our test vehicle.
On the handling side, the Jaguar SVO team stiffened the front suspension by 30% and rear suspension by 10% using stiffer performance-oriented springs and dampers. This tweaking translates into a stiff, but comfortable driving experience on the road while keeping the F-Pace SVR as flat as possible during cornering maneuvers. Steering is tuned to provide the driver with more precise feedback. I loved the weightier steering, and quite honestly, the F-Pace SVR feels far better during high-speed maneuvers than some German performance sedans I’ve driven lately.
Also helping the F-Pace SVR become a precision corner carver is brake-based torque vectoring and an electronic limited-slip rear differential. These systems partner with an all-wheel-drive system that is rear-wheel biased. Unlike some front-wheel-drive based systems, the F-Pace SVR will never exceed a 50/50 torque split to the four wheels, with emphasis on keeping the rear wheels doing most of the heavy lifting. This means you can get the Jaguar F-Pace SVR to step the rear end out in a very controlled and predictable manner. It also means owners of the F-Pace SVR can make the best use of all 550 horsepower.
The business end of the Jaguar F-Pace SVR is the same 5.0-liter supercharged V8 found in the Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR. Jaguar’s published numbers state that the 4,395lb F-Pace SVR will do 0-60 in a blistering 4.1 seconds.
All 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque are transmitted through a Jaguar SVO tuned ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. The transmission is programmed to shift much more aggressively in dynamic mode while keeping the F-Pace SVR at a lower RPM in comfort mode to help quiet the raucous V8 during normal driving.
All this power comes with a very reasonable 22 miles per gallon highway fuel economy rating for the F-Pace SVR. We averaged 20mpg over 255 miles with a 77mph average speed. Pretty good numbers for a pavement shredding SUV.
Power is delivered through the aforementioned all-wheel-drive system to grippy Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-season tires (295/40/22 out back, 265/45/22 up front). The all-season tires are the one area where significant performance gains could be had by putting on a proper set of summer tires on it if you are lucky enough to not worry about winter weather.
The interior of the Jaguar F-Pace SVR looks and feels expensive, which is good given the $90k as-tested price of our test vehicle. The dashboard, center console, and door cards are wrapped in high-quality leather. The contrast stitching found throughout the interior adds another touch of luxury to the mix. Optional carbon-fiber trim can be found around the shifter and center stack.
The sport 14-way quilted leather bucket seats found in the Jaguar F-Pace SVR are excellent. During the 600-mile road-trip, we took the F-Pace SVR on over Christmas our bottoms and backs never felt fatigued and felt better than some luxury car seats I’ve had seat time in recently.
Being an SUV, the F-Pace SVR has plenty of cargo space and rear-seat shoulder and legroom for most adults. Tall adults might feel a bit cramped, but most passengers will feel as comfortable in the rear seats as they will in the front seats.
If I had to gripe about one area of the Jaguar F-Pace SVR, the abysmal infotainment system is where I would focus all of my efforts. The 10.3-inch touchscreen is questionably low-resolution and extremely slow to respond to inputs. While it does include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, the infotainment system is the hub of the vehicle’s control system. The system should be free of lag and also provide users with an intuitive user interface. The Jaguar InControl Touch Pro just doesn’t deliver on either of those. Not to say that it is completely unusable because the system works most of the time, but there are other times where the input lags by seconds.
That being said, I loved my week with the Jaguar F-Pace SVR. It’s the perfect mix of luxury and performance in a vehicle, and felt far more engaging and fun to drive than most sport sedans on the market today. The F-Pace SVR isn’t quite as fast as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrofoglio or the Mercedes-AMG products, but it somehow has far more personality than either of those. Add the super comfortable ride characteristics, an interior that feels more expensive than the $90k price tag, and performance that can get you in plenty of trouble, and you have a vehicle that does so much more than it should.
Bottom line – If I had to spend my own money on a performance SUV, the Jaguar F-Pace SVR is the one I would buy 10 out of 10 times. I love it.
2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Base Price – $80,600 + $995 dest. charge.
Price as-Tested – $90,055 (incl. $995 dest. charge)
Warranty – 5 Year/60,000 Miles Bumper-To-Bumper Jaguar Elitecare w/5-year complimentary maintenance
EPA Fuel Economy Rating: 16 city/21 highway/18 mixed
Observed Fuel Economy over 675 miles mixed driving – 19.2
Vehicle provided to Speed:Sport:Life with a full tank of gas by Jaguar for review
Some Photos courtesy Jaguar