When you fire up the new Jaguar F-Type SVR, it’s an epic event.
Engine: 5.0L supercharged V8 (SVR)/3.0L supercharged V6 (400 Sport)
Output: 575 hp, 516 lb-ft of torque (SVR)/400 hp, 339 lb-ft (400 Sport)
Transmission: 8-speed auto
0-60 MPH: 3.5 seconds (SVR)/4.8 seconds (400 Sport)
US Combined Fuel Economy (MPG): 18 (SVR)/22 (400 Sport)
CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km): TBD
US Price: SVR Coupe Starts at $122,895/400 Sport Coupe Starts at $90,495
CAN Price: SVR Coupe Starts at $139,500/400 Sports Coupe Starts at $97,500
It’s a noise that could be thrown into movie trailers that feature those deep, bellowing war horns. It’s a noise that invokes gasps from unsuspecting people around the car, and it’s a noise that will bring a smile to your face. And that’s all before you even start moving the thing.
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Without a roof, the noise is even more accessible, as are the sensations of speed. This special, scary-sounding super-Jaguar is the top-of-the-line for droptop F-Types, making 575 horsepower from a supercharged V8 engine. We drove this iteration of Jaguar’s pretty convertible alongside a new limited edition 400 Sport model and came away pretty impressed by both cars and how they represent a truly unique side of the sports car game.
From the (Drop) Top
Starting with the previously mentioned SVR convertible, this is the most capable version of the car — it can hit 195 miles per hour and manage the sprint to highway speeds in 3.5 seconds. It feels even faster than that, thanks to the grip provided by a clever all-wheel-drive system and various other high-tech features like an electronic differential and brake vectoring that help utilize every last piece of rubber wrapped around the 20-inch wheels.
The car looks superb and is easily one of the most attractive coupes on the market today. This car is pretty no matter who you are and how you look at it and the subtle carbon fiber trim makes it even more special. Its perfect proportions make it so appealing to the eyes, but the F-Type SVR is also a treat to your other senses too.
The fantastic sound is achieved by an exhaust setup that is unique to the SVR. While all F-Types sound great, this one is even more interesting to listen to thanks to the use of lighter materials in its pipes that are also tuned for more impressive sound. There’s also an active exhaust setting so you can amplify the sound effects from the internal combustion warzone happening under the hood.
Speed isn’t an issue with the SVR, and the grip is better thanks to its all-wheel-drive system. Like other F-Types, handling isn’t class-leading, but it still quite good. Its electric power steering isn’t very engaging and doesn’t feel as good as something you can get with a Porsche 911, but it’s well-weighted throughout the various drive modes and still responds appropriately. The transmission isn’t going to blow you away with its speed and shift logic, but the manual modes are appreciated.
The F-Type SVR does a good job of satisfying the sense of touch through its interior. While other F-Types have modestly appointed but well-designed interiors, the SVR holds nothing back with swanky materials like quilted stitching on the upholstery and soft suede in other parts of the cabin. There are also subtle carbon fiber accents found inside the car. The seats are aggressively bolstered and look like racing buckets that hold you in place while blasting through curvy roads.
At $125,000, the F-Type SVR Convertible is a class above many other cars at this price point. It’s also more affordable than, say, the Mercedes-AMG GT R. If you want the SVR performance but don’t like convertibles, the coupe is also less expensive.
With its stunning design and amazing performance, the SVR model is hard to classify. Is it a supercar, a grand tourer, or something in between? I’m leaning towards the latter after driving it. The Jaguar has supercar performance with drop-dead gorgeous styling yet also offers comfortable cruising when you want it. The complaints are few and are consistent through the F-Type range, so we’ll save the rants after the quick look at the newest model in the F-Type Range, the 400 Sport.
The Mid-Range Marvel
Like the SVR, the 400 Sport is available as either a coupe or convertible, however, this model is available with rear or all-wheel drive. It’s also considerably cheaper, as a rear-wheel-drive coupe will cost just $89,500. It sits right in the sweet spot of F-Types with 400 horsepower, which is the third and highest output variation of Jaguars six-cylinder models — it’s a 20-hp boost over the R-Dynamic model and 60 hp more than the normal V6 F-Type. It goes without saying that the 400 Sport is a far cry from the 550-hp F-Type R and 575-hp SVR.
It’s still a handful of power, though, and is enough for the coupe to hit highway speeds in under 5 seconds. The 400 Sport does a number of things perfectly for its price point, and that’s before even considering its svelte styling. It’s worth mentioning that the six-cylinder still sounds good, although not quite as loud or attention-grabbing as the SVR.
It’s in the Details
The attention-grabbing is done by exterior and interior accents instead. It’s hard to miss the big splitter with the bright yellow 400 Sport badging or bright yellow text on the dark brake calipers. The 400 Sport is only available in shades that contrast nicely with the yellow accents. The car also boasts stealthy grey 20-inch wheels. Inside, the yellow theme continues with contrast stitching, 400 Sport badging, and other elements that help bridge the gap between a base F-Type and the SVR we also drove.
But the 400 Sport seemed to be the best compromise of performance and price. The way it drives is similar to the more expensive SVR, although with less power. It’s not the fastest or most engaging, but what makes the F-Sport so interesting in this class is that it’s a lot more fun and playful than comparable Porsche models and is more refined than, say, a Corvette (which could be had at this price point). The F-Type feels like a toy, in both SVR and 400 Sport iterations, and it’ll easily plaster a smile on your face every time you drive it.
The hiccups happen when you want to treat the F-Type as anything but a toy. For example, space is at a premium, the seats aren’t the most comfortable, and the suspension can sometimes be on the harsh side.
The Verdict: 2018 Jaguar F-Type SVR and 400 Sport Review
The 2018 Jaguar F-Type models are an evolution of what made them stand out when they debuted a few years ago. Jaguar bolstered the entry level of the lineup with a new four-cylinder model that we can’t wait to drive, while also adding a well-balanced model in the middle of the range, as well as an awe-inspiring, smile-inducing, speed machine at the top of the range. It’s a complete lineup if you’re in the market for a new plaything.
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