I was on the highway when, all of the sudden, a car speeds past me on the right and slows down just off my right front bumper. A rear window rolled down, and a man’s head popped out and pointed in my direction, mouth agape.
Since this was my first drive in the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Convertible, I had to wonder if this was normal behavior for someone spotting the shiny red roadster.
Apparently it was.
I was circled, photographed, pointed at and all around gawked at during the test week. But I can’t say I was surprised as the F-Type/SVR combo means 575 horsepower in an incredibly sexy package.
I’ve been enamored with the F-Type since Jaguar launched it in 2013. I mean, who wouldn’t be? It has a svelte physique with curves in all the right places. It gets rid of some of the excesses of the now-dead X-Type (that back seat wasn’t fooling anyone) and yet still manages to fit a set of golf clubs in the boot.
Available in both coupe and convertible body styles, the F-Type is a thing of beauty any way that you look at it.
The SVR is the top-tier of the F-Type lineup, and it adds special exterior badging as well as a beautifully detailed interior.
The black leather, quilted seats are body hugging and comfortable, and I thought the reverse red stitching was beautifully done. The suede touch points, etched SVR badging and available carbon fiber accents are well-executed and provide an overall visual delight.
Ride & Handling
Before you even start to drive, you can tell the F-Type SVR is special as soon as you hit the ignition button. The guttural growl emitted by the exhaust sounds a bit like an angry lion getting ready to pounce.
Driving the F-Type SVR was both effortless and all-consuming. Effortless because it immediately responds to your every whim. All-consuming because you had to concentrate on not committing a felony by topping 100 mph on public roads.
With 575 horses under the hood, the F-Type SVR is bred to go fast. Quick accelerations and easy passing maneuvers are par for the course. And the F-Type SVR sticks to the pavement like glue while corning.
The all-wheel-drive SVR is equipped with a 5.0-liter V-8 supercharged engine and mated to an 8-speed QuickShift transmission. Top speed is 195 mph, and the 0-to-60-mph time rings in at 3.5 seconds.
The 2017 Jaguar F-Type also offers three V-6 supercharged variants and an additional V-8 supercharged F-Type R. The V-6s are rear-wheel drive models with some all-wheel drive availability. 2018 will bring a new base 2.0-liter I-4 engine that will be available only as a RWD model.
With a supercharged V-8 engine, you can’t expect to get 30 mpg in the F-Type SVR. The EPA estimates that you’ll get 15 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Combined fuel economy is estimated to be 18 mpg.
Considering this, I was impressed with my actual combined fuel economy of 19.1 mpg. And I had the auto stop/start engine feature turned off.
Tech & gadgets
Jaguar has finally updated its infotainment, and the InControl Touch system is both attractive and easy to use. I like the four-color graphics on the menu and the quadrant scheme that makes it easy to access quickly what you need. The screen supports pinch and swipe, and is fairly intuitive to use.
Another neat feature is the Switchable Active Exhaust, which is included at the SVR level. This allows you to manually open the exhaust valves so you can enjoy the deep exhaust notes at all engine speeds.
Other performance related tech includes an enhanced aerodynamics package, an Iconel Titanium exhaust system, adaptive dynamics, torque vectoring and an optional Carbon Ceramic Matrix brake system.
While blind spot monitoring and rear cameras are included on the Jaguar F-Type SVR, you won’t get a lot of the fancy safety features – such as lane keep assist -- that are available on other Jaguar models. This is a driver’s car, and well, Jaguar expects you to drive it.
What’s included with the SVR
Base price for the 2017 F-Type is $61,400 for the coupe and $65,400 for the convertible. Consider this for a moment before I tell you the price of the SVR is double that.
Pricing for the SVR coupe and convertible is $125,950 and $128,800, respectively.
In addition to the 575-horsepower V-8 engine, the SVR adds standard features such as all-wheel drive, Switchable Active Exhaust, adaptive dynamics suspension, a carbon-fiber aerodynamic spoiler, 14-way adjustable seats, heated steering wheel, a 770-watt Merdian Sound System, blind spot monitoring, rearview camera, passive entry and push-button start.
The test vehicle added the carbon fiber center console, illuminated treadplates, car care kit, wheel lock LP frame and extended leather package for an as-tested price of $132,283.
The Jaguar F-Type SVR has all the standard safety features you’d expect: front and side airbags, emergency brake assist, dynamic stability control and tire pressure monitoring.
Also standard at the SVR level are adaptive Xenon headlights and blind-spot monitoring.
The Jaguar F-Type has not been rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
New for 2017
The SVR model is all-new for the 2017 model year. Jaguar balanced out this high-priced, high-powered model with a new entry-level model that is equipped with the 3.0-liter V-6 and a 6-speed manual transmission.
A few of my favorite things
Um. Everything. Seriously. A few of my faves include the heated steering wheel, pop-out door handles and the Switchable Active Exhaust System.
The best thing about the F-Type SVR, however, is the sheer attention to detail from the etched SVR logo on the exhaust pipes to the quilted leather seats.
What I can leave
It’s really hard to come up with something bad to say about the F-Type SVR. I could point to the price tag, but that’s only because I can’t afford to buy one.
So, I’ll point to the fact that there is no manual transmission available on the SVR models. Jaguar added manual to the F-Type lineup, but the 6-speed manual is only available with the 3.0-liter V-6 engine.
I’ll also mention that it seems kind of pointless to put an auto stop/start engine on a vehicle with 575 horsepower. You’re not going to waste fuel at a stoplight with the F-Type SVR -- you’re spilling it on the highway.
Yes, you can turn off the auto stop, but you have to do it every time you turn the car on. And that is annoying in a vehicle of this caliber.
The bottom line
When I first drove the Jaguar F-Type, I didn’t think it would be possible to make the car any better. It’s smooth and competent on a racetrack and a comfortable cruiser for your daily commute.
Then they went and added a couple hundred horsepower and some sexy design elements.
The SVR is both gleefully fun and drop dead gorgeous. It’s almost everything you’d want in a sports car (except for that manual transmission), and yet it still manages to be comfortable if you get stuck in stop and go traffic.
I’d choose this any day over most of its German competitors.
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