There’s a distinct feeling to being in a supercar. Be it Lamborghini Aventador Roadster or even the “entry-level” Ferrari California T, these vehicles earn their exotic qualification because they often ignore practicality in favor of blistering performance.
Enter the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR, a luxurious, spry roadster you could drive every day. Developed by Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations, the SVR is the top tier of the F-Type lineup. Available as a coupe or roadster, the F-Type comes in various flavors, blending performance and luxury, including R-Dynamic, 400 Sport, and R.
The SVR sets itself apart from the rest of the lineup with a unique, aerodynamic body kit, 20-inch forged alloy wheels, lightweight titanium exhaust, carbon ceramic brakes, and an active carbon fiber spoiler, which deploys at high speeds for added downforce. The wheels shave 30 pounds off the SVR compared with the regular F-Type, and the brakes remove 46 pounds of unsprung weight.
Inside, you get aluminum gearshift paddles, a branded steering wheel, and SVR performance seats. There are adjustable seatback bolsters to keep you in place around hard cornering, and the quilted pattern on the seatbacks and door inserts is a nice touch.
In the center console, an intuitive-but-dated infotainment screen provides operation of the stereo, navigation, and Bluetooth-paired phone. This touchscreen can be buggy at times, and there were lots of delays when navigating the various menus. Newer 2018 models built later this year will have the improved Jaguar infotainment system.
Under that sculpted hood is a supercharged, 5.0-liter V8 engine that makes 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Between the convertible top and safety features, the F-Type SVR weighs 3,792 pounds, but the big V8 makes it move and accelerate like much lighter car. Zero to 60 miles per hour takes just 3.5 seconds, and top speed is a claimed 195 miles per hour. We’ll take Jaguar’s word for it.
The SVR has a simply sinister exhaust note from startup or even a ginger depressing of the throttle. To avoid complaints from the neighbors, Jaguar has outfitted the SVR with a “two mode” exhaust system. It is quieter at lower speeds, and lets the full sound escape the exhaust above 3,000 revolutions per minute.
The V8’s power is routed through an 8-speed automatic to standard all-wheel drive. Purists might prefer a rear-wheel drive setup, but AWD will ensure we don’t see one of these fabulous roadsters in a ditch following a botched burnout.
You might think that with all this high-performance gear, the SVR would be a garish, hardcore ride, but it’s actually surprisingly smooth. The steering has the unique distinction of not being too heavy, but actually providing some form of feedback. Acceleration is more akin to that of a V12 engine giving a rush forward that will have you exceeding speed limits well before you even realize it.
For 2018 model year F-Type’s built after July of this year, Jaguar will start offering forward-collision avoidance and lane-departure warning as standard on all F-Type variants, including the SVR. This “Program 2” release will likely also include an updated infotainment system. If these systems are important to you, ask when the car was built.
The 2017 Jaguar F-Type Convertible SVR has a starting price of $128,800. A carbon ceramic brake package is a $12,000 option. Other options include a Meridian sound system, heated steering wheel, upgraded leather interior, blind spot detection, and a self-parking system.
Yes, that means this vehicle is in the same league as the Porsche 911 Turbo, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, and Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S.
Last fall, Jaguar debuted the i-Pace electric SUV concept, and more recently announced its commitment to electrification and hybrid automobiles. In that context, the F-Type SVR is something of a throwback, and maybe one of the last chances to own such a raucous, unhinged gas V8 in a high-performance convertible. Much like the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger Hellcat, you may ask why? Because — at least for the moment — they still can.
Under the Hood:
Engine: Supercharged 5.0-liter V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic transmission
Drivetrain: All-wheel Drive
Power: 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque
0-60 acceleration: 3.5 seconds
Top Speed: 195 miles per hour
Also Consider: Porsche 911 Turbo, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S