Jaguar’s awesome topless F-Type comes in hardtop form. If you really want to get moving, you want the F-Type SVR Coupe.
If you’ve been here before, you’ll know I drove the F-Type SVR a few months ago. I may have loved it. I even confessed that I didn’t mind it was a convertible. A little while later, our local Jag man mentioned that he had an SVR coupe on the way. It’s almost like the room fell silent when he said it. But because he’s awesome, I didn’t have to ask.
The F-Type arrived – after years of prevarication – in 2013. It went off and everyone loved it. The Coupe followed a year later, first shown at the 2013 LA Motor Show, then at the Tokyo Show the same year.
In 2016, Jaguar showed us the SVR in both forms. There are few genuine differences between the cars, but two are important to know – the SVR Coupe is lighter and the top speed is 8km/h (6mph) higher at 320km/h (200mph).
SVR Coupe Drivetrain
As you may already know, the SVR Coupe shares the same 423kW (575PS) supercharged V8 with that completely mad active exhaust. Power goes to all four wheels (don’t knock it) and the eight-speed ZF automatic is as delicious as ever.
The SVR version of the V8 has larger air intakes to suck in more air as well as a lot more cooling.
Despite being faster than the R, it’s also lighter, the Coupe lighter again. The brilliant exhaust is 16kg lighter than the R’s and made of titanium and Inconel.
SVR Coupe Chassis
Despite lashings of aluminium and that lighter exhaust, the F-Type is not a lightweight. If you want something lighter, go and…um…acquire a Project 7. You can knock off a few more kilos with the carbon ceramic brakes and the carbon roof, but your starting weight is still the wrong side of 1700kg.
Those carbon brakes are huge – 398mm up front and 380mm at the rear, gripped by tell-tale yellow calipers. Our test car had both the brakes and roof, lopping a total of 25kg (55lb) from the Coupe’s kerb weight. That’s useful and the brakes’ weight saving is extra good as it’s less unsprung weight. Redesigned suspension knuckles save a further 600 grams at the rear.
On the SVR Coupe the wheels are forged alloys, saving 16kg over those on the R.With the carbon brakes came those gorgeous 20-inch alloys (same size as the standard wheels), which knocks the edge off the cost.
As I’ve already said it’s all-wheel drive but it’s as rear-biased. And that’s rear-biased in the way a bear is fond of honey. It’s basically rear-wheel drive most of the time until the fronts are needed. Ten percent finds its way forward of your feet, but you wouldn’t know it. Between the rear wheels, the active limited slip differential ensures shenanigans. The torque vectoring available across the range is also along for the ride.
The SVR Coupe also has the same active aero as the convertible, with a wing that pops up at around 110km/h (70mph) with the front splitter reacting accordingly. One of the coolest bits about the car is that if you manually retract the wing, a “VMax” graphic appears on the dashboard.
Naturally, SVO fits a gun set of springs and adaptive damping helps calm things down when you want to just pootle around town.
Driving – Every day
Anybody reading this will drive the SVR Coupe in Race mode, but let’s talk about what it’s like in Normal. It’s excellent, but the SVR is never normal. It’s quieter and calmer but still has colossal potential under your right foot. Despite the exhaust system’s valves being shut, it sounds menacing. And when you press start, will bellow like a cow meeting a truck on a highway. You’ve been warned.
It’s a long car but it never feels too big. The doors are obviously long enough to be double as a spare bridge over the River Kwai, but that’s only part of the struggle to get into the F-Type – doesn’t matter which one you buy, it’s a long way down. But that’s kind of the point.
Once you’re in and the door is shut, the Coupe feels barely different to the Convertible. I wonder if the Coupe with the carbon roof might be slightly noisier, but hey, it weighs less and that’s all I really care about.
Obviously, it’s a strict two-seater and it feels like you’re sitting in a big baseball mitt. And I’m not saying that because of the colour of the test car’s leather. You sit low, cradled in the cockpit, it almost feels like a race car. Hilariously, because you sit so far rearward, the wheel arches don’t intrude into the footwell.
The only worry I have driving this is the front splitter – it’s very low and doesn’t mind a scrape out of driveways. Most of the time it’s the rubberised plastic aero skirt making the noise, which is heartening.
Driving. Like, really driving.
This is a proper, fun car. I’ll tell you right now it’s probably not the best of its kind. The Mercedes GT C will probably go faster around a track but it won’t look as good. It won’t sound as good. It won’t make you feel as good. The Jaguar will affix a permanent grin to your face.
One of the greatest things about this car is its broad appeal. When you’re gunning this thing, everybody loves it – your passenger and the audience when they hear that supercharged V8 fired up. The exhaust racket is massive and it never, ever gets old.
When you’re firing it down the bends, the turn-in and grip is fantastic. You can feel the rear diff working hard as you thread it through the twisting stuff. For its weight, the SVR handles the bumps extraordinarily well – the MY18 model is happier on the rough stuff – and helps you build confidence. The Jag looks after you.
If you’re unsympathetic with the throttle and have left the electronics on, it will still buck and kick but again, will never let you down.
But you never get away from the fact it’s a heavy brute. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Even here in the Coupe, the noise still invades the cabin providing you put the windows down, it makes the car feel alive.
The SVR Coupe is about fun. It knows it’s about fun, not about lap times. It’s an amazing road car that would be an absolute hoot on the track, but is fun on the road. Because eve when you’re dribbling along in traffic, the supercharged V8, the feel of the car under your backside and the reflection in windows.
The fact it’s supercar-fast to 100km/h and with a supercar top speed is neither her nor there – it’s hilarious, brilliant and a car I would own in a heartbeat.
And the real clincher? My wife loves it too.
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F-Type SVR Pricing
|(June 2018)||F-Type SVR Price (from)||F-Type SVR Coupe Price (from)|