This supercharged V8, weirdly enough, would function extremely well as a family car. You know, fetch the kids, do the shopping, terrify the local hooligans at the intersection. It does it all. But there is a cost. And that cost is nearly R2 million, before you factor in the monthly petrol cost. The F-Pace SVR is thirsty but it's so much fun to drive.
Petrol cars are going away, they tell us. Most brands have plans to phase out fossil fuel guzzlers by 2030 (or somewhere in the vicinity). The new Jaguar F-Pace SVR, a supercharged 5.0l V8, makes it clear just how much of a pity that will be.
Not because of the environment (though lithium mining is having its own effects on the planet). Instead, it’s the sheer joy of stomping on an accelerator and having a petrol engine leap forward like it’s about to consume the car in front of it. Whether, as in the F-Pace SVR’s case, it’s worth paying nearly R2 million to do that is up to the individual driver but this is certainly one of the most entertaining cars Stuff has been behind the wheel of.
Jag’s F-Pace SVR looks like one of the brand’s F-Types that has been hitting protein shakes and gym particularly hard. There’s a bulk to the design that doesn’t actually have to be there but you’ll be kind of glad it is. When encased in the cockpit, you’ll be aware of solidity in every direction. It’s that impression that brings the engine’s performance under mental control — but more on that in a second.
The outer skin is impeccably designed. Lines slope into the occasional angle, offering just enough aggression to live up to the Jaguar brand name. For all that, though, this strikes us more as a family car than something you’d use to terrify traffic. If you’re the sort of person to drop R2 mil on a family SUV, you’ll certainly have the raddest vehicle in the school pickup line. The rumbliest, too.
That’s just Super
It’s not often that we sit behind the wheel of an expensive car and wish that it was harder to drive but the F-Pace SVR manages that feat. The 5.0-litre supercharged V8 under the hood is just begging for a gear lever and a clutch to… well, actually, we’d probably get ourselves killed trying to reign in that power manually but what a way to go. As it happens, this Jag is all about that automatic gearbox. While it serves, we still sit and sigh about what could have been.
There are several driving modes available, each of which deactivates more and more power as you step down. At its lowest setting (Eco), the F-Pace is a slightly more shouty commuter vehicle. It’s noisy enough to scare intersection vendors and pedestrians. Click it up to the full-throated Dynamic setting and you’ve got that V8 power plant at your command. It’s not the same flying takeoff you’ll experience in Jag’s I-Pace but it’s somehow more satisfying.
It bloody better be, considering how thirsty the V8 is. Our fuel consumption, the dashboard helpfully informed us, varied from just over 17l/100km to somewhere over 19 litres per 100km. If you can afford the R1.92 million price tag (the cost of our specific model — they start at R1.83 million), you can probably afford to stop for gas once a week. Honestly, the driving experience is so glorious that the fuel will seem like a small price to pay.
The outside is decent. On-road performance is excellent. Inside the cabin, the Jag F-Pace SVR is almost as good. It’s just overshadowed by the urge to put foot to floor and go roaring through traffic until the fuel gauge demands a top-up. A load of interior features ensures that you can do just that.
Like your average camera, it’s entirely possible to operate everything manually. But why go to all that effort when you can set the lights and wipers to automatically do their thing when conditions demand it? That frees you up to fiddle with the 11.4in touchscreen panel (which you shouldn’t do while driving — there’s too much power at the wheels) or experiment with the various driving modes.
Android Auto and Apple Carplay support are present and very insistent you set them up as soon as possible. If you eschew either in favour of Jag’s own OS (which we always do), you’ll find that the car’s settings are easy to navigate. As with all operating systems, some of the settings are tucked away where you can’t do any harm with them.
Our only gripe? Jag’s heads-up display, which throws driving mode, speed, and turn-by-turn directions onto the windshield, isn’t present here. At nigh-on R2 million, a little HUD action is the least we’d expect. But then the V8 makes another inviting growl and we’re quite happy to forget about it.
Jaguar F-Pace SVR 5.0l V8 verdict
The Jaguar F-Pace SVR supercharged 5.o-litre V8 isn’t an affordable car by any stretch of the imagination. You’ll pay almost two million for one. Throw in insurance and that fuel bill and you’re looking at an executive-level monthly cost. The sort of cost where even government ministers might go, “Hang on, that’s a bit pricy.” Maybe. But if you can swing the cash needed to keep this thing on the road, you won’t regret a moment of it. The only thing you’ll regret is that Jaguar doesn’t actually make a manual transmission of this muscle car stand-in. That’s a serious pity. The things we would have done with an honest clutch.