New Jaguar F-Pace SVR 2021 review

Updates make the flagship Jaguar F-Type SVR faster and more appealing, but it's let down by its ageing V8

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

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Better to drive and look at thanks to a raft of detailed improvements inside and out, the redesigned F-Pace SVR has a welcome new cabin that’s chock full of fresh and intuitive tech. It now competes well in this respect, but its ageing V8 hampers it objectively, so overall it struggles to match the best competition from Germany and beyond.

There was much to like and not a lot to dislike about the original Jaguar F-Pace SVR when it went on sale in 2019. In simple terms it cost about 25 grand less than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo but was damn near as quick, and was every inch as good to drive as its German rival.

How rapidly things move on, and for version 2.0, Jaguar has improved the F-Pace SVR in a variety of ways without tinkering fundamentally with its character.

As such, and despite being brand new, the SVR does feel quite a lot like an old-school hot rod among contemporary SUVs, many of which are now either full EVs or hybrids. It’s still powered by the same old 5.0-litre supercharged V8 as before, albeit with one or two tweaks, and it still costs the right side of 80 grand.

Restyled both inside and out to help freshen its showroom appeal, and with a raft of new electrical systems that, says Jaguar, make it better and more efficient to drive than before, the F-Pace SVR is still a car that feels refreshingly out of kilter with most other SUVs.

Thanks to its launch control system and the engine’s colossal 542bhp and 700Nm of torque, the SVR can now manage 0-62mph in just 4.0 seconds and has a top speed of 178mph. It’s also a fraction less thirsty than of old, even if 23.1mpg combined still constitutes a heavy desire for unleaded.

The kerbweight has increased from 2,070kg to 2,133kg. However, heavily revised suspension bushings and improved dampers also give it more control and compliance on the road, according to Jaguar’s engineers, while in Dynamic mode the exhaust system sounds better than ever, says Auto Express.

Jaguar’s SVO division learned a great deal about how to integrate the company’s venerable V8 when creating the Project 8 super-saloon, and much of that knowledge has appeared in the F-Pace SVR. Hence the reason why the eight-speed auto gearbox and differentials work faster and more smoothly than before, while both the steering and chassis have also benefitted.

On the road the SVR doesn’t just feel quicker and more controlled as a result, it’s more cohesive in everything it does. Particularly in its steering, which is lovely – and it was already in a pretty good place in these respects.

Arguably, though, it’s inside where the SVR has been improved the most. The newly redesigned, respecified cabin represents a big leap forwards, which is just as well given how far behind its German opposition the original F-Pace SVR was.

There is now all the tech you could wish for inside, all integrated into a much more intuitive, much more comprehensive infotainment system featuring a new 11.4-inch central touchscreen that works a treat. There’s also a redesigned, less fiddly-to-use gearlever, a brilliant-to-hold new steering wheel and all the driver-assist systems you could want, all fitted as standard rather than optional.

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The new seats also offer more comfort and support, the finish and materials are much improved, the drive mode systems easier yet more comprehensive to use, and the overall refinement superior.

Fundamentally the packaging hasn’t changed, with enough space in the rear seats for comfortable rather than genuinely luxuriant travel, and a 613-litre boot. But it’s the steps up in quality and design that leave the biggest impression. The SVR is now a class act that competes, rather than a car with an interior and a tech spec that the dynamics try to make up for.

And the Jag’s dynamics have also gone from good to excellent at the same time, particularly when it comes to ride, steering, braking and handling, as well as its performance against the stopwatch.

There is a snag, though. As compelling as it remains, the SVR’s ageing V8 is hard to make excuses for in a brand-new vehicle in 2021. And even though it’s packed with personality, objectively it’s harder still to justify. So while we will miss it when Jag turns to full electrification in 2025, the SVR’s V8 is now holding it back. The truth is, a vehicle that’s otherwise as good as this deserves a fresher, more modern method of propulsion nowadays. That will come sooner rather than later, given the rate of progress among Jaguar’s key rivals.

Model: Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Price: £77,595
Engine: 5.0-litre s/c V8 petrol
Power/torque: 542bhp/700Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive 
0-62mph: 4.0 seconds
Top speed: 178mph
Economy: 23.1mpg
CO2: 275g/km
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