We’ve been blessed with some incredible sounding V8 engines over the last few years… Aston Martin’s 4.7L Thumper, Audi’s 4.0L bi-Turbo, Maserati’s 4.7L Atmospheric Monster, Mercedes Benz’s Salivating 4.0L… and you can now add Jaguar’s 5.0L 423kW Supercharged V8 to that list. Should you purchase a car purely on the exhaust note? Probably not, but after one drive in the Jaguar F-Type SVR (Special Vehicle Operations), you easily could.
Thankfully, the F-Type SVR isn’t a one trick cat and there is plenty to like about the British coupe. The standard F-Type is probably the more classically attractive body, but the SVR details are elegantly incorporated rather than some bolt-on afterthoughts. Each piece is purposeful and sports-focused which beefs up the F-Type from every angle. A carbon fibre rear spoiler, bonnet vents, titanium exhaust… the SVR is muscle in a three-piece suit and its flex is well justified. My vehicle was fitted with the optional Carbon Fibre roof and ceramic brakes, placing a couple of cherries on top an already striking cake.
Inside the cabin you won’t find many surfaces that aren’t wrapped in leather. There are copious amounts of stitching as far as the eye can see, and every one is needled with a level of accuracy that will put your year 8 sewing class to shame. The thrones are lightweight SVR Performance seats with intuitive adjustments on the door trim, and the heated SVR steering wheel with aluminium gearshift paddles add some nice touches to a very polished interior. Although the two seater is quite specific in its purpose, the 358 litres of cargo space adds some functionality for some day to day activities or trips away.
In terms of ride and handling, the Jaguar finds itself in unique territory. It’s probably more Gran Tourer than it is razor-sharp track car, but with that much power on tap and a clever AWD system, it’s more than capable of punching out some impressive lap times. While there is a hint of initial understeer, it’s barely noticeable and quickly neutralised with those 423 kilowatts. Ride is extremely comfortable considering the focus of the car, and damping is spot on for our roads.
But the pièce de résistance is indeed that supercharged V8. It’s a low frequency roar, at the perfect volume, with just the right amount of rawness. My housemate nick named it ‘ the rice bubble ‘ due to it’s snaps, crackles and pops (I quickly blacklisted that name in respect to my mum’s 91 Mazda 121). Little kids had jaws to the floor whenever you rumbled past and the grown-ups weren’t far behind. The sound is colossal and so are the numbers; 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds… a top speed of 322km/h… 423kW… it doesn’t matter which way you look at it, Jaguar’s Supercharged 5.0L V8 is a truly sumptuous engine.
The special vehicle operations team at Jaguar have created an absolute gem. They’ve taken an already titanic car and injected it with some growth hormone. It’s one of those rare cars that receives as much credibility from blue collar V8 fans as it does white collar British car enthusiasts. With engine capacities decreasing and turbo-charging becoming the norm, Jaguar’s V8 is somewhat of a bittersweet symphony. But for a lucky group of owners, that symphony will be on repeat for a very long time.