A whopping 541 bhp hides under the bonnet of the 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR. Think about that. Once upon a time, you couldn’t find a supercar with that much grunt. But the trend of hot crossovers is booming, and to combat rivals like Alfa Romeo, Jeep, and Porsche, which each have their own respective entries, Jag’s hot F-Pace hits the market with all the right equipment.
The same stupidly good, supercharged 5.0-litre V8 from the F-Type SVR and Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR carries over, and it’s not any less absurd here. The F-Pace claws its way to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, throttling the next-quickest F-Pace by a full second. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio (3.6 seconds), Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (3.5 seconds), and Mercedes-AMG GLC63 (3.8 seconds) are all quicker on paper. But screw the numbers.
The F-Pace SVR is fast. Really fast. It rockets off the line like its supercharged sports car sibling, with standard all-wheel drive, super sticky 265/45 front and 295/40 rear tyres, and 502 pound-feet of torque aiding it. For a crossover that weighs 4,395 pounds, the F-Pace moves with lethal quickness. Click through the 8-speed ZF automatic transmission using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and the F-Pace never loses potency. Assuming there’s a long enough straight – which, we couldn’t find on the twisty roads of Southern France – it’ll continue on all the way to 176 miles per hour.
But engineers worked their magic on more than just the engine. The F-Pace SVR’s suspension is 30 percent stiffer up front and 10 percent stiffer in the rear thanks to hardier springs and better damping. Body roll decreases by five percent over the standard F-Pace, and the steering is weightier and more direct. All of these elements make it a cornering machine.
The F-Pace SVR treats high-speed hairpins like its own personal playground. It cuts up corners with composure, distributing power judiciously thanks to advanced torque vectoring and an electronic rear differential. The F-Pace always has energy when it needs it. The rear-biased platform never sends more than 50 percent of power to the front wheels either, meaning the F-Pace even gets tail-happy when pushed hard.
Gallery: 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR: First Drive
Dynamic mode toughens the Jag up even more. Gear shifts are crisper, steering is firmer but no less accurate, and there’s somehow better damping. The F-Pace, while sharp in Normal mode, is almost unfathomably direct in Dynamic.
But what may surprise you is how civil this Jag is when it’s not full-on. Flick the switch to Normal or Eco mode, and the Jag imitates its base sibling with a comfortable drive and a quiet demeanour. Over rougher roads, the suspension is still a bit harsh, no matter how it’s tuned, but the cabin is peaceful, steering is easy, and the supercharged V8 sounds more like a V6.
The F-Pace, while sharp in Normal mode, is almost unfathomably direct in Dynamic.
The F-Pace SVR’s appeal as an everyday driver is partially down to the amount of standard safety equipment. Many of the once-optional extras on the base F-Pace convert to standard equipment here. Things like automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and front and rear park assist are free of charge. But you’ll still want the lb3,100 Driver Assistance package, which makes the F-Pace SVR more amicable on the highway with blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise with lane centring, high-speed emergency braking, a surround-view camera, and a few others.
Of all the F-Pace models, the SVR clearly is the most opulent. Leather covers every reachable surface in the spacious cabin: dash, door panels, even sections the centre console, especially around the infotainment screen. It’s available in three, two-tone colour options – red and black, white and black, tan and black – and one solid colour – black. Of course, it wouldn’t be a true performance car without some optional carbon fibre trim thrown in for good measure, which, frankly, we could do without.
The 14-way adjustable, heated, perforated, trim-exclusive leather buckets are the highlight. They hug you in the corners as well as they cushion butts and backs on long road trips. The same surfaces carry over to the back seat. Not only is the rear bench upscale and super comfortable, it’s finished in the same perforated and quilted leather as the fronts. It also offers a respectable 37.2 inches of legroom, besting the Stelvio Quadrifoglio (35.9) by a few inches.
The F-Pace SVR doesn’t get the new dual infotainment screens found on the XE we also drove. Instead, the old 10.3-inch touchscreen carries over with Jaguar’s latest InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, apps like Spotify and WhatsApp, better navigation, and for the first time, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity (standard on the SVR). Buyers can opt for a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster as well. The entire system is… acceptable, but a bit slow to react to inputs. We prefer the new dual-screen setup for its improved functionality.
While the base F-Pace is no ugly duckling, the range-topping SVR is hands-down the fanciest of the flock.
While the base F-Pace is no ugly duckling, the range-topping SVR is hands-down the fanciest of the flock. The high-performance Jag gets visuals like a larger front bumper, air intake and bonnet vents (all for cooling), functional vents behind the front wheels, a new rear bumper, quad exhaust tips, and trim-exclusive 21-inch wheels. The visual upgrades help drop the Jag’s drag coefficient from 0.38 to a modest 0.37.
But the F-Pace SVR almost looks too subtle. Only the larger wheels, SVR badges, and flaring nostrils distinguish it from the lower S model. We like our performance crossovers to look a bit angrier, frankly.
The F-Pace SVR starts at lb75,335, which pits it directly against the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio (lb67,534) in price, and just above the Mercedes-Benz GLC 63 (lb71,410). But it’s more powerful than both, and more affordable than the less-powerful Porsche Macan Turbo Performance Package (lb68,073) and larger Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (lb89,999). For all the power and poise on tap, the F-Pace SVR feels like a solid alternative to the more established crop.
The SVR’s insane supercharged V8, supercar-like straight-line speed, and advanced cornering abilities should shock any supercar-biased driver into submission. Add to that the comfortable characteristics of an everyday crossover, including a posh cabin, comfortable-enough ride, and acceptable tech, and the F-Pace hangs tough in a class packed with strong competition.