Driving the revamped Kyalami Racetrack is both challenging and exciting in just about any car. But doing so in Jaguar’s F-Type SVR is exponetially so.
The SVR bit stands for Special Vehicle Operations and is the high-performance division for Jaguar Land Rover, similar to Mercedes’s AMG or BMW’s M divisions.
So the folks at SVR have produced a supercharged 5.0-litre, V8 developing 423kW and 700Nm, accelerating from 0-to-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 322km/h. And yes, it’s undeniably fast. The changes to Kyalami have made the track speeds a lot faster too, meaning the Jaguar F-Type SVR could stretch its legs from time to time.
The first SVR enhancement I was grateful for were the optional carbon ceramic brakes. The system saves about 21kg, helping with handling, but more importantly, they don’t overheat and fade.
The F-Type’s aluminium double wishbone front and rear suspension and electric power steering system are retained, but much else has been changed to improve handling.
The SVR is 25kg lighter than the AWD F-Type R – and 50kg lighter with options, including ceramic brakes and carbon fibre roof. In the SVR, a thicker rear anti-roll bar and the valves inside the variable dampers have been revised, and the control software – the heart of Jaguar’s Adaptive Dynamics System – has been recalibrated.
The rear knuckle is new. Now an intricate, weight-optimised aluminium die casting, the design of the part enables a 37% increase in camber stiffness and a 41% increase in toe stiffness, translating into greater control of the tyre contact patch.
The front anti-roll bar diameter has been reduced slightly. Together with the revised damper control software, a unique tune for the Torque Vectoring system enables more precise control of the braking applied to the inner wheels. I have little doubt all this was working very hard to help me feel like a race driver, and the SVR seemed forgiving of my numerous little errors.
The new lightweight titanium and Inconel exhaust system can withstand higher peak temperatures, reduces backpressure and saves 16kg. The sound it produces alone makes it worth it.
To make the most of the increased engine output, the eightspeed Quickshift transmission gains a new calibration. It can be operated by paddleshift if desired, but the automatic sportshift did the job well, and that combined with dynamic mode and TracDSC, was quite enough for me.
The extra grip delivered by the wider 265- and 305-section front and rear tyres and optimising the torque on-demand all-wheel drive system’s Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) control technology allows you to get the power to where it matters quickly and to make it count.
Added to this are the refinements to the rear electronic active differential, to ensure optimum torque distribution between the front and rear axles and across the rear axle.
To cut drag, the front bumper was extended outboard to mask as much of the wheels as possible. This also helps the airflow to remain attached to the sides of the car, reducing drag.
The front valance and front undertray also contribute to drag reduction, but do more to improve engine cooling.
But the single most effective device developed for the F-Type SVR is its deployable rear wing: it’s aerodynamically efficient in both the raised and lowered positions.
Without any assistance in the way of manufacturing offsets and an unfavourable exchange rate, the Jaguar F-Type SVR starts at R2 286 300. Clearly it will not be for everyone, but for the privilleged few it will provide an everyday car that can bare its teeth on the track every now and then.