I have always believed there is no such thing as too much power. But, after experiencing a brief moment of wheel spin at 110 km/h on dry pavement before the traction control system stepped in, I realized I might have just experienced the upper limit of usable power.
The vehicle was a Jaguar F-Type coupe in SVR guise with a 575-horsepower supercharged V8 under my right foot. Jaguar says it is “the most dynamically-capable, performance-focused sports car,” it has ever produced.
Granted, they were summer tires and the thermometer was flirting with the freezing point. But this is no pussy cat, this is a tiger — fast, ferocious and demanding respect.
The spiritual successor to the legendary E-Type, the Jaguar F-type is available in coupe or convertible format. Both have two doors and two seats.
The gorgeous sports car boasts the long hood, sloping roofline, and short deck of its predecessor. It starts out at $60,000 with a 296-horsepower four-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels.
But this one received the SVR treatment, leaving the Coventry assembly line with a supercharged V8 stuffed under that long hood, sending 575-horsepower to all four wheels. SVR is to Jaguar what RS is to Audi, M is to BMW, and AMG is to Mercedes — a branch of the company staffed with wizards charged with extracting maximum performance and profile from a vehicle.
The SVR suffix means this F-Type was loaded with more than $25,000 in options, much of it go-faster goodies like: carbon fibre hood louvres, side vents, mirror caps, rear diffuser and front splitter, $5,100; carbon ceramic brake package (398-mm front/380-mm rear carbon ceramic brake rotors inside 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in summer performance rubber), $13,260.
All topped off by the loudest and most outrageous exhaust system in the industry. How they slipped this one past the authorities, I do not know.
The mellifluous sounds emanating from the lightweight titanium and Inconel pipes eliminate the need for an audio system.
The tester had a 12-speaker Meridean sound system; I checked it out while sitting in the parking lot with the engine off.
The rest of the week I spent enjoying the concert from those four big pipes jutting out through the rear diffuser.
Merriam-Webster defines a diffuser as “a device for deflecting air from an outlet in various directions.”
In the automotive world a diffuser is common on race cars, helping to pull air from beneath the vehicle, and keep that end of the car from lifting at high speed.
An affectation on many vehicles for use on public streets, it makes sense here.
Also functional are the small rear spoiler and vents in the front fenders to keep air from lifting that end of the car.
This $167,000 Jaguar will likely see use on track days, as owners search for a way to enjoy its considerable prowess. This car is both quick and fast.
Thanks to the standard all-wheel-drive system and sticky tires, it is capable of acceleration from a dead stop to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.
It will cover the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds on the way to an advertised top speed of 322 km/h with the eight-speed automatic snapping off shifts like rifle shots.
The steering is quick and provides plenty of feedback. The entire vehicle is rock solid and the suspension prefers and rewards on smooth surfaces.
The brakes are nothing less than astounding in their ability to laugh off silly speeds repeatedly with no sign of fade.
Operating the flush-mounted door handles reveals illuminated door sills and the interior you’d expect from a six-figure Jaguar.
Beautifully appointed, it features lots of quilted leather and contrasting stitching, deeply sculptured seats — adjustable in 14 directions — with the SVR logo embroidered in the head restraints and suede covering the pillars and headliner.
To those without any interest, or the necessary disposable income, a $167,000 two-seat sports car may seem extreme.
After all, the $25,000 HST payment alone would buy a good new family vehicle.
But the few who can afford to feed a desire for exclusivity and performance, will consider the F-Type SVR while comparison shopping against the Acura NSX ($190,000/573-hp), Mercedes-AMG GT ($183,000/577-hp), McLaren 570S ($275,000/562-hp) and Porsche 911 Turbo ($184,200/540-hp).
Model: 2019 Jaguar F-Type SVR AWD coupe
Engine: supercharged, 5.0-litre V8, 575-horsepower, 700 lb.-ft. of torque, premium fuel
Transmission: eight speed automatic, full-time all-wheel drive
NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 11.3 combined
Length: 4,482 mm
Width: 2,042 mm
Wheelbase: 2,622 mm
Weight: 1,745 kg
Price: $140,500 base, $167,420 as tested, including delivery
Standard equipment: adaptive suspension, electronic differential with torque vectoring, dynamic stability control, auto-dimming, power folding heated mirrors; 12-way seats with memory, electrically-adjustable steering wheel, configurable interior lighting, automatic climate control, Touch Pro infotainment system with 22-cm screen, navigation, adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, emergency brake assist, rear view camera, alarm system.
Options on test vehicle: Carbon fibre package (hood louvres, side vents, mirror caps, rear venture, front splitter), $5,100; carbon ceramic brake package (398-mm front and 380-mm rear carbon ceramic brake rotors, 20-in alloy wheels wrapped in summer performance rubber), $13,260; leather headliner and visors, $2,250; climate package (heated windshield, heated and cooled seats, dual-zone automatic climate control), $1,590; Meridean audio system, $1,020; auto high beam assist, $260; power tailgate, $510; panoramic sunroof, $1,230; illuminated tread plates, $620; Carbon instrument panel insert, $820; blind spot assist, $500; park assist, $510