Let’s be perfectly clear: The 380-horsepower Jaguar F-PACE S has always been a fast SUV. Its supercharged V6 roars to life and will make the uninitiated’s hair stand on end. On this point, there is little argument.
The trouble is, performance SUVs like the BMW X5 M, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo redefined what shoppers can expect from a high-riding crossover, and Jaguar, a company with a long history in performance and racing, simply couldn’t compete with those rocket ships.
Luckily, in a true Cinderella story, Jaguar’s supercharged V8 is a perfect fit for the F-PACE’s engine bay. It’s with this engine that the F-PACE evolves from a fast, premium luxury crossover and heads toward supercar territory.
The 2019 Jaguar F-PACE SVR isn’t necessarily the best choice for early risers living in quiet suburban hamlets. Sure, our test car’s Ultra Blue paint would look spectacular against a green, manicured lawn. But depress the brake and punch the ignition, and the birds will almost certainly leave their nest and your peaceful neighbors will likely be writing strongly worded letters to the homeowner’s association.
The F-PACE SVR is loud—loud is kind of Jaguar’s thing these days. But it also comes with a little party trick for those who can’t get enough of blasting through tunnels and revving in parking garages. On the center console between the driver and passenger seats, Jaguar has installed a button that opens a set of baffles in the exhaust tailpipe. Hit this button, and the SVR’s engine note grows from a subtle (but noticeable) growl to an outright bark. The residents of your bucolic neighborhood might not appreciate the noise, but you likely will.
Once you’re off and running, the party’s just begun. The SVR’s 5.0-liter V8 engine puts out 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque, distributed to all four wheels and managed by a quick 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s not quite as quick as some competitors—namely the Porsche Macan Turbo—but with Pirelli Scorpion all-season tires, it raced away from stoplights and tore through corners. Despite the car’s 4,395 pounds, it never felt top-heavy.
Certainly, the SVR benefits from a few additional upgrades—at nearly $90,000, one would hope it comes with more than just a big engine. 22-inch wheels handle the wide tires, and the massive brakes house Jaguar’s electronic active differential, which helps the vehicle carve corners by applying light braking to the inside wheel during turns. Unfortunately, like a true supercar, it also chugged gas. Over 250 miles, we averaged 16.3 miles per gallon of painfully expensive premium fuel.
What truly makes the F-PACE special, however, is not its sound or its speed or its handling chops. It’s that it provides all of these supercar elements while still being up to the task of day-to-day life.
Typically, you’ll hear critics praise the Porsche 911 or the Audi R8 as “everyday supercars,” because they’re relatively comfortable and easy to drive, while also providing top-tier performance. But next to an F-PACE SVR, those cars are garage-queen exotics.
The F-PACE gives you all-wheel drive. It gives you ground clearance. It gives you 63.5 cubic feet of total cargo space. It just so happens to also give you face-melting acceleration and cellular-disrupting braking. Packaged in gorgeously designed sheet metal and complete with advanced safety and technology features, the F-PACE SVR is the new daily-driving supercar.
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Photos by Elliot Haney.