The Jaguar F-Type SVR has roared in to become one of the fastest production Jaguars ever built and the apex of the F-Type range. Promising a 200mph top speed, as well as a 3.5 second sprint to 60 mph, the new model received extensive fettling at the hand of Jaguar Land-Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations, a bespoke division dedicated to eking more luxury and more performance out of the company’s roster of vehicles.
What does a 200mph top speed mean, culturally speaking? In the poster-star era of supercar design back in the late 1970s and early 80s, the figure was almost unattainable, the realm of race-cars and record breakers – not something that even a supercar could attain. Most sources credit Ferrari's 1987 F40 as the first genuine 200 mph production car, but this was a vanishingly rare limited edition pitched at several times the price of the company's other models. Today, however, the 200mph barrier is almost commonplace, a club of many members that includes cars from Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Bentley, Audi, McLaren, to name but a few. In fact, given sufficient tweaks to engine and chassis, plenty of performance cars can be made to reach this magic summit, with very little thought given to the fact that there are few places on the planet where it can actually be achieved.
The F-Type was already Jaguar’s flagship product. A blend of ultra-modern technology and knowing wink to heritage, it was a project gifted to its chief designer, Ian Callum, a man who knows a thing or two about creating classically elegant sports cars. The F-Type was born beautiful – most especially in coupé form – and acts as a halo car for the rest of the brand. It's even more pertinent now that the current sales leader, the F-PACE, is only connected to Jaguar’s heritage by the loosest of threads.
Does the SVR improve on a winning package? It seems churlish to dissent, given the entertainment value to be had flinging this machine around an empty Spanish racetrack, or simply enjoying the crackling exhaust note. The four-wheel drive system makes this a more sure-footed car than the notoriously lairy two-wheel drive version, but both in terms of design simplicity and day-to-day usability, the SVR feels like a pencil that’s been oversharpened into a rapier-like spear – beautiful to marvel at and still capable of producing a line, but not something you can scribble away with every day. It turns out that the ability to achieve the fabled ‘double ton’ is ultimately unfulfilling, not least because you’ll never get there. What the SVR loses in looks it makes up for in ability. If you prefer your Jaguars to be edgy rather than elegant, this could be the solution. Luckily there’s an excellent car buried under all the braggadocio.