F-Pace SVR: Muscle car dressed as SUV

The Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) group has been producing increasingly impressive products over the past decade.

As part of the brand’s resurgence, it now has a proper performance development wing, called Special Vehicle Operations (SVO). I recently tested an F-Pace that has received the performance treatment from the brand, it’s called the SVR and is a rather special piece of kit, as I discovered.


The F-Pace has been a seminal car for the Big Cat brand since its introduction a few years back. With an aluminium architecture, a new Jaguar design language,  large saloon car dimensions, raised ride height and premium interior aesthetic, it has attracted new buyers to the brand. The SVR aims to target those who are looking for an SUV but with a hint of sportscar muddled into its DNA.

Upon first glance, the SVR is instantaneously recognisable as the performance variant, managing to look decidedly more aggressive than even the R-Sport versions of the F-Pace. The whole car looks lower and wider, well, because it is, with a sportier suspension set-up, wider wheel arches, larger air intakes, massive brakes, forged alloy wheels and what looks like two double-barrel shotguns protruding out of either side of its rear bumper, creating a more purposeful stance. The interior is stunning, with leather, carbon fibre and some of the nicest carpets I have experienced in a car pervading the cabin. The leather-wrapped sports bucket seats in the front and rear are certainly highlights of the cabin and are positioned in such a way that your seating position is reasonable sporty for a vehicle of this type.

Driving excitement

For an SUV, the driving dynamics are impressive, with the SVR never feeling overwhelmed by a spirited drive. I had the opportunity to drive one around Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit last year and it was impressive, however, one is always aware of the immense weight being shifted around, despite how flat and controlled everything feels on board. The most notable difference between the SVR and your run-of-the-mill F-Pace is that monstrous engine under the bonnet. Displacing 5.0-litres and boosted by a supercharger, the engine cranks out 405 kW and 680 N.m in this application and is mated to a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Despite weighing in at more than two-tons, the four-wheel-drive SVR will get to 100km/h in a claimed 4.3 and move on to a top speed of 283 km/h. Accompanying the impressive performance is a truly wonderful and increasingly rare V8 soundtrack. For so many, cars are an emotional experience, so listening to a thunderous V8 accompanied by a light supercharger whine provides the sort of simple automotive satisfaction that I feel everyone should experience at some point in their lives.

Living with SVR

Don’t expect the fuel consumption to impress, with the brand claiming 11.9 L/100km and my team and I achieving a combined figure of 13.2 L/100km, however, those in the market for a car like this shouldn’t care too much about consumption. With this in mind though, the SVR must still have the sort of dual personality that allows for proper muscle car hooliganism while offering practicality and daily usability.

The car offers various driving modes, ranging from Eco to Dynamic, while the active exhaust is operated by a separate button located in the centre console. In Eco mode, the car is as gentle as can be, with phenomenal low-end torque and refined driving experience. In Dynamic mode, the throttle response is sharper, the steering is heavier and the gearshifts are quicker, making for a markedly different experience. The duality of the SVR’s personality is impressive, as is the way that the car has retained the F-Paces’ 650-litre boot, 2 400kg braked towing capacity and its ability to transport five occupants in comfort. While the car has not exactly lost all semblance of off-road ability, its 150mm of ground clearance and low profile tyres will limit the few owners looking to go off of the beaten path.


In an era where big, V8-powered cars are becoming increasingly rare, the F-Pace SVR is a brilliantly executed muscle car disguised as a luxury SUV. Those with the means and desire to own one of these should take the plunge as this is a dying breed, one that will be sorely missed, too.


Jaguar F-Pace SVR R 1 571 728

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