The unmistakable whine of a supercharger at full voice over the deep bassy growl of a 5L V8, it can only be a Jaguar SVR up to no good, (just like in the movies). The 2021 model is more thrilling than ever and thanks to Jaguar NZ, we’ve got our hands on it.
This is the point that I would tell you all about the electronic and aesthetic upgrades but quite frankly that can wait, it’s the engine and handling that I really want to tell you about, beginning with that hefty beating heart.
The moment you lift the bonnet you’re greeted with (what I assume is lightweight aluminium) its Supercharger. There’s no plastic covering or carbon accents to hide it, just an immediate introduction to what this Special Vehicle is all about – Racing. Now it may not be their most modern of engines but it has been modernised and make no mistake, with its 5,000cc’s, 8-pistons, 32 valves and a double overhead cam, it really means business.
Outputs have been increased so it now produces 550 PS (essentially HP), 405kW of power and 700Nm of earth turning torque. Zero to 100km/h comes in under 4 seconds and should you find a place to do it, this SUV (yes SUV) will have its speedo needle up at 286km/h. These numbers are great on paper but it’s the rawkus sound and the sheer sense of power when behind the wheel that really enthrals, it’s an audible delight that just keeps giving.
As with the ‘regular’ new F-pace models, the overall exterior design has been just been tweaked rather than radically changed (it is only a mid-cycle facelift after all). The shapely bonnet and grille are now closer together which has a nice matte surround, the LED headlights are narrower and come with distinctive double J DRLs, also If you look close enough, there’s a X-shape to the nose.
The SVR itself comes with a plethora of vents (bonnet, lower valance, side…) and added aerodynamics to assist with the performance SUV’s breathing, downforce and drag, it’s 3% slicker through the air and has 35% more downforce.
The 2021 F-Pace SVR’s profile includes 22-inch feet that are wider on the rear so increased stability without compromising the steering, big red brake calipers and some extra aero features down by the sills. While the rear sports an F-Type inspired switchable Active Sports exhaust with polished aluminium quad exhaust tips (that crackle and pop on demand), an extended roofline spoiler, a lower splitter and an SVR badge.
The sporty, yet prestigious cabin comes loaded with upmarket materials, especially around all the regular touchpoints. The Pivi Pro Infotainment touchscreen is bigger (11.4-inch), three times brighter and ten times faster and the Meridian sound system generates an ear popping 650 watts. The gear selector dial has been replaced with an SVR embossed shifter (although I think I prefer the cricket ball stitched one), the seats are bucket racing style but with leather and alcantara covering (in my case tan). SVR Metal tread plates, SVR leather steering wheel and a full length panoramic roof all add to the joys of this vehicle. But the biggest joy comes when you find some open roads and get a little naughty.
As I mentioned before, it’s a matter of seconds before you’re at treble digits therefore you do need to be cautious about where, when and how you use the accelerator but thanks to the F-Pace SVR’s uprated suspension (revised rear differential, Bilstein shocks, new bushes, magnesium compound suspension arms…) this new Jaguar digs its claws into every corner, enabling you to have a thrilling ride while staying within NZ speed limits.
In all honesty though, I found myself driving switching to manual and paddles a lot, especially in tunnels, and keeping the needle way up in the ravs range, with the windows open it’s a soundtrack that you can’t help but smile at.
Driver positioning is great and those bucket seats really keep you fixed in place, steering is positive and the data that’s thrown at you from the big screen, the instrument cluster and the head up display keeps you in touch with everything you need to – even the navigation is real time, however, the rear view is slightly restricted thanks to the small window on the tailgate being obstructed by the rear seat headrests, but who cares what’s behind you right?
When it comes to the silver screen, British car brands seem to feature often and on both sides of the ‘good vs evil’ coin, with Jaguar seeming to air on the side of the villain, and I have to say if this new 2021 Jaguar F-Pace SVR is anything to go by, I can’t see that changing anytime soon. In so many ways it’s refined and upmarket in it’s appearance and delivery, but rest assured it’s VERY menacing and improper when it needs to be (which is often).