The 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR captivated us in Europe with its punchy powertrain and deafening exhaust note. Jag’s super SUV has finally made it to our shores, but with one key difference—unlike the sticky summer performance tires fitted in our European test vehicle, all F-Pace SVRs headed to the U.S. can only be had with all-season rubbers (Pirelli Scorpion Zeros, to be exact). We’ve been eager to see how those less aggressive tires would affect our impressions and now we’ve had the chance.
One thing that hasn’t wavered is our admiration for this engine. Producing 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft, the F-Pace SVR’s 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 is explosive—its immediate power delivery is simply unmatched by turbocharged competitors that often feel laggy off the line. The eight-speed automatic behaves well with the high-strung engine and both, along with the all-wheel-drive system, help propel the 4,632-pound SVR to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Reaching the quarter mile took 12.0 second at 116.5 mph.
That said, most of the competitors we’ve tested were quicker. The excellent Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio sprinted to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds and crossed the quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds, while the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63S 4Matic+ Coupe needed 3.2 seconds to reach 60 mph and 11.7 seconds for the quarter mile. The Jag does, however, keep pace with the Porsche Macan Turbo (with Performance Pack) that recorded a 0-60 mph and quarter-mile time of 3.7 and 12.3 seconds, respectively.
That said, none of those quick SUVs can match the Jag’s sound. “The SVR’s engine is almost a caricature of what an angry, geezed-up motor is supposed to sound like,” senior features editor Jonny Lieberman said. “It’s plain juvenile, thankfully so.”
Many of us wished for better brakes. Stopping from 60 mph took 116 feet, which is at least 10 feet longer than the Alfa, AMG, and Porsche. Pedal feel is soft and seems to be tuned for a base-model four-cylinder F-Pace rather than a high-performance SUV.
The figure-eight course further magnified the F-Pace SVR’s braking issues, among other things. Testing director Kim Reynolds found himself braking earlier to prevent overshooting corner entry. And on the skidpad, attempts to counteract understeer with throttle inputs proved to be a challenge since the high-powered V-8 seemed to easily get the tires loose. “Seems sort of primitive and American hot rod-ish,” Reynolds said.
The SVR’s figure-eight lap time of 25.0 seconds is behind the AMG (24.1 seconds), Alfa (24.9 seconds), and Macan (24.6 seconds). A stickier set of summer tires would likely improve the Jag’s time and also remedy some of the braking and handling issues we noted, including the lack of steering feel.
Driving the SVR at a slower pace (that doesn’t overwhelm the tires) can be relatively fun. And despite its stiffer suspension setup and gigantic 22-inch wheels, the Jag is a pretty comfortable and quiet cruiser. We imagine most F-Pace SVR buyers will appreciate this, along with its straight-line acceleration and rowdy exhaust note. They’ll unlikely take a corner quick enough to hear the all-season tires squeal for mercy. Even still, we can’t help but wonder why Jaguar doesn’t offer more aggressive tires as an option given that this is the most extreme F-Pace in the lineup.
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