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2017 Jaguar F-type SVR Convertible

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 8/25/2017 DAVID BEARD

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR 2017 Jaguar F-type SVR Convertible - Instrumented Test It’s said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. A year has come and gone since we first experienced Jaguar’s latest range-topping variant of the F-type, leaving us with separation anxiety and a mild case of cat-scratch fever. The cure comes thanks to this new exposure to the company’s Special Vehicle Operations department and its all-in F-type SVR convertible. 

It’s Got the Looks

Part beauty-pageant contestant and part muscle builder, this F-type looks the part. The SVR’s provocative exterior is mildly tweaked in the name of performance. The reworked front fascia incorporates larger air intakes along with nostrils in the hood to aid cooling. To keep the car stuck to the ground at Jaguar’s advertised top speed of 195 mph, vents are sculpted into the front fenders to prevent front-axle lift, while an SVR-specific diffuser and a larger wing aid downforce in the rear.

The interior, delightfully appointed in leather with contrast stitching, is visually marvelous. The heated, 14-way adjustable bucket seats with SVR headrest embroidery are bolstered just enough to keep the flab in place but aren’t so aggressive as to induce pain. Polishing off the alluring interior in our test car was a $750 carbon-fiber center console, $450 illuminated doorsills, and $1100 worth of leather for the headliner and visors. The convertible top does a reasonable job of keeping wind noise at bay when raised; by our stopwatch, it needed 12 seconds to lower and 15 seconds to raise. When stowed, the softtop renders the trunk essentially useless, leaving just enough space for a duffel bag. Our example augmented the SVR’s base price of $129,795 with the aforementioned interior dress-up bits and $138 worth of locking lug nuts and a Jaguar license-plate frame; the as-tested sticker rang in at $132,233. That’s certainly not chump change, but the SVR looks and feels every bit of the premium cost.

2017 Jaguar F-type SVR Convertible© DAVID BEARD 2017 Jaguar F-type SVR Convertible

Here Comes the Boom

To earn the SVR’s status as Jaguar’s most powerful offering, specific engine calibration is employed for the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 that grants it 575 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, gains of 25 horses and 14 lb-ft over the F-type R. Stomp the loud pedal and an eight-cylinder death-metal concert plays through the Inconel titanium exhaust system; lift off the throttle and a Vickers machine-gun rap fires from the quad tailpipes. The lightweight exhaust is specific to the SVR, and Jaguar claims it is good for a 35-pound weight deduction. Surprisingly, the hefty, 4104-pound SVR weighed 29 pounds more than the last all-wheel-drive F-type convertible we tested, a 2016 F-type R. Producing the extra power requires a little more go juice, as we observed a thirsty 16-mpg average over its 500-mile visit, 2 mpg lower than the EPA combined rating suggests. We did see respectable numbers on our highway test, besting the EPA highway rating by 3 mpg with a recorded 26 mpg.

At the track, the standard all-wheel-drive system makes launching the SVR child’s play. Although launch control is not available, strong brake torque gets the two-seater out of the hole with urgency and screaming its way from zero to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. The eight-speed automatic transmission snaps off shifts as the quarter-mile disappears in 11.7 seconds. The gain in horsepower just isn’t enough to compensate for the additional weight, however, as these impressive times are identical to those posted by the lesser F-type R AWD. The SVR’s Pirelli P Zero PZ4 rubber is slightly wider, though, which helped the tail-happy F-type circle the skidpad at 1.02 g, 0.04 g stickier than the R. The gummy tires also return a shorter braking distance by three feet; although there is some initial squish in the pedal, the massive iron rotors slow the fat cat from 70 mph in 146 feet. An impressive performance, especially considering the standard sliding brake calipers—two-piston front and single-piston rear—which just looks cheesy in this class where six-piston fronts and at least opposing-piston rears are the norm. However, for an additional $12,000, the SVR can be optioned with carbon-ceramic matrix brakes (larger discs, six-piston front calipers and four-piston rears). Packaged with forged 20-inch wheels, this setup saves an additional 46 pounds, according to Jaguar.

Far beyond Driven

Accessing all this performance on the road is a daunting prospect. The long arm of the law would love to have speed-detection equipment aimed at the Jaguar as it rifles through corners and blasts down straight sections. While the steering is quick and communicates extremely well, the rigid chassis and the uncompromising suspension that never settles down do not inspire confidence as the car jumps around over midcorner bumps. The rear-biased all-wheel-drive system allows acceleration earlier in a corner without the threat of ending up sideways, with the front tires always eager to rein in the rears when they step out of line. The weight penalty of four driven wheels is forgivable under these circumstances and offers all-season drivability. We would like to point out that AWD is not a necessity on the proper tires—we survived a couple of Michigan winters just fine with our long-term rear-drive 2014 Jaguar F-type.

One might expect more significant performance improvements for the $20,000 premium this car commands over the all-wheel-drive F-type R convertible, but it’s the SVR’s steamy exterior and cosseting interior that make it stand out from its lesser stablemates. We were enamored, but then again it wasn’t our money, and we weren’t chasing any Porsche 911s.

Specifications

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door convertible

PRICE AS TESTED: $132,233 (base price: $129,795)

ENGINE TYPE: supercharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 305 cu in, 5000 cc

Power: 575 hp @ 6500 rpm

Torque: 516 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:

Wheelbase: 103.2 in

Length: 176.2 in

Width: 75.7 in Height: 51.5 in

Passenger volume: 52 cu ft

Trunk volume: 7 cu ft

Curb weight: 4104 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS:

Zero to 60 mph: 3.4 sec

Zero to 100 mph: 8.0 sec

Zero to 130 mph: 13.4 sec

Zero to 150 mph: 19.0 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 3.8 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.2 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 2.7 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 11.7 sec @ 122 mph

Top speed (governor limited, mfr's claim): 195 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 146 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 1.02 g

FUEL ECONOMY:

EPA combined/city/highway: 18/15/23 mpg

C/D observed: 16 mpg

C/D observed 75-mph highway driving: 26 mpg

C/D observed highway range: 480 mi

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