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Jaguar F-Type SVR 2017 review

Although the Jaguar F-Type range has been updated, changes to the potent 200mph SVR are only skin deep

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

While some models in the refreshed 2018 F-Type range benefit from more power, the updates to Jaguar’s flagship SVR are only skin deep. There are minor tweaks to the exterior styling and changes to the cabin, but the SVR’s performance and drama are unaffected. Jaguar fans can sleep easy; it’s still an utterly mad sports car – and a lairy rival to the Porsche 911.

It's surprising to think it’s been four years since Jaguar created its first modern reinterpretation of the immortal E-Type. That milestone now means, inevitably, that the F-Type is ripe for a round of updates – and the first car we’ve had the opportunity to try is the range-topping SVR.

Bizarrely, the SVR is the model that benefits from the fewest updates. Up front there’s a pair of new LED headlights and a revised bumper, and if you squint really hard you’ll spot new LED taillights, too. It’s fair to say the light refresh has done nothing to water down the SVR’s mad styling. 

Inside you’ll notice a pair of brand new seats that are thinner and 8kg lighter than before, while elsewhere Jaguar has finally got rid of the F-Type’s slow infotainment system and replaced it with its newer InControl Pro setup. Not only does it look more modern and appear slicker to use, it also offers a raft of connected services and real time information. 

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The new infotainment system has another new trick up its sleeve though. The ReRun app allows you to download footage to your smartphone from a GoPro action camera attached to the car. The clever bit though, is that the downloaded video shows key vehicle performance data including speed, throttle position, gear selection, and G-force – all overlaid neatly on the footage. The app, developed with GoPro, arrives first on the SVR, but in time across the entire Jaguar Land Rover range.

That’s the limit of the updates, because under the skin the SVR remains as intoxicating and intriguing as ever. JLR’s SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) tweaked 5.0-litre supercharged V8 still punches out 567bhp and 700Nm of torque through an eight-speed automatic gearbox – that’s 25bhp and 20Nm more than the ‘standard’ F-Type R. Even without launch control, the all-wheel drive SVR rockets to 60mph in just 3.5 seconds before topping out at 200mph. 

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All this ferocious performance is accompanied by a spine-tingling soundtrack – a cocktail of deep-bowled V8 grumble and ear-piercing exhaust noise. The SVR gets a special titanium and Inconel exhaust system, too, which despite being the F-Type’s party piece, can get a little wearing even in its ‘Normal’ setting. 

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The new seats are more supportive, which is a good thing because the Jag’s all-wheel-drive system means you can take corners at high speeds without the rear wheels ever breaking loose. It’ll waggle its tail on the limit, but everything is perfectly controlled. Switch the safety systems off, however, and the SVR can execute lurid slides with plumes of tyre smoke.

But the Jag does feel heavy and portly compared to a Porsche 911 Turbo. The steering and gearbox aren’t as crisp as they should be, and you’ll need to tick the carbon ceramic brakes option to make the SVR slow down and stop better, too – and that’s £8,570 extra on top of the already sizeable £110,880 list price.

Despite all of this unhinged drama, the SVR is more comfortable to drive than the lesser F-Type R. The revised anti-roll bar and a slightly softer set-up for the front springs and dampers are fitted to make the SVR more agile and react quicker to inputs, but naturally they also make it more cosseting and refined than the standard R.

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