Porsche 911 GTS 2017 review
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Calm reserve. Understated civility. Self-effacing deference. Admirable, classically British traits, usually typified by the automotive standard bearer for 'grace, space and pace' – Jaguar.
But recently, the leaping cat has been dialling up its wild side, with a series of limited 'Collector's Edition' models, including the dramatic, F-Type-based Project 7, and a just-released XE sedan evolution, the (441kW!) Project 8.
In fact, the whole thing was formalised in 2015 with the creation of Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), now run out of a weapons-grade skunkworks near Coventry, in the heart of the British Midlands.
The updated '2018 Model Year' F-Type brings a range of aesthetic, technical, and equipment upgrades, and a fast blast in the SVR Coupe seemed like a jolly good way to get to grips with them. Chocks away, Algie!
|Jaguar F-Type 2017: SVR AWD|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
Since its launch in 2013, the F-Type has fulfilled its intended purpose of reinvigorating the Jaguar brand, and sitting halo-like above the rest of a rapidly evolving range.
Largely credited to head of exterior design, Matthew Beaven (working with Jaguar's overall design maestro, Ian Callum), the strictly two-seat sports car is a masterwork of proportion and exquisite detail.
The SVR pushes the needle firmly towards the macho end of the dial, with an aggressive aero package comprising a revised front bumper with larger vents (also pushing further out to help mask the front wheels), a more pronounced splitter, flat underfloor, carbon-fibre (active) rear wing, and a whopping diffuser under the rear.
Rims are 20-inch forged alloys, with the optional ($20,860) 'Carbon Ceramic Matrix' brakes fitted to our test car peeking through, complete with flash yellow calipers front and rear. A ferocious shade of 'Firesand Orange' rounds out an arresting, eyeball-searing picture.
Inside, unique 'SVR Performance' seats feature a 'Lozenge Quilt' trim pattern (apparently they make you feel better if you've got a sore throat), the instrument binnacle and centre console are covered in luxurious suedecloth, and anodised aluminium paddle shifters sit behind the SVR sports steering wheel. There are also dark brushed alloy elements on the console, and cool black surrounds on the vents.
The final result is an imposing stance, and super-slick interior, screaming high performance without upsetting the F-Type Coupe's precise purity.
You get the feeling that, if Jaguar had its way, the F-Type would be a single-seater. Officially described as a '1+1', this car is all about the driver, and the driving experience. Practicality sits w-a-y further down the priority list.
Make sure you're warmed up before making your first attempt to slip behind the wheel; it's an exercise in mid-level contortion. And egress is closer to an awkward scramble than a graceful exit.
That said, once inside, there's ample headroom (for this 183cm tester), as well as two covered cupholders in the centre console, a modest glove box, plus a covered storage box between the seats, housing a 12-volt outlet (there's another in the console), two USB ports and an auxiliary line-in socket.
That's enough to swallow the smallest (35-litre) and largest (105-litre) of our hard suitcases together, or amazingly, the CarsGuide pram; although, admittedly that's irrelevant because there's nowhere to (legally) seat a small child in the car.
The spare is an (alloy) space saver, located under the boot floor.
So, at the same time as putting dynamic and design runs on the board, the SVR Coupe had better be keeping the standard equipment score ticking over.
To that end, it features all the cost-of-entry luxury features like climate control air con, 8.0-inch 'InControl Touch Pro' colour multimedia touchscreen (no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, though), cruise control, keyless entry and start, sat nav, quilted 'Jet Black' leather trim, rear parking sensors, new LED headlights, LED DRLs and tail-lights, the big 20-inch alloys, plus an SVR leather-wrapped and heated sports steering wheel.
Then, it adds a 5.0-inch TFT instrument display, (configurable) ambient interior lighting, performance seats with 12-way electric adjustment (with memory), electrically adjustable steering column (with memory), power fold heated door mirrors (yup, with memory), rain-sensing wipers, and 380W Meridian audio.
There are even more black dots against standard feature line items in the spec guide, but the highlights alone help underpin the SVR Coupe's premium positioning. One thing we expected to be in the standard equipment column however, is a reversing camera. It's optional at a hefty $1035.
The 5.0-litre, quad-cam, 32-valve V8 sitting under the F-Type SVR's bonnet has essentially been lifted from the limited-run Project 7 projectile.
Thanks in no small part to a twin-intercooled Eaton (roots-type) twin-helix supercharger nestled in its vee, direct-injection, and dual independent variable cam timing (DIVCT), the all-alloy unit pumps out a stonking 423kW (567hp) at 6500rpm, with peak torque of no less than 700Nm spread across a flat band from 3500-5000rpm.
Drive goes through a specifically calibrated version of the 'Quickshift' eight-speed automatic transmission to an all-wheel-drive system managed by Jaguar's 'Intelligent Driveline Dynamics' (IDD) tech.
IDD works in concert with the powertrain, rear differential (electronically active with torque vectoring), the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system, and finally, an electronically controlled centre coupling.
Under 'normal' circumstances, 100 per cent of the engine's torque is sent to the rear wheels, but if the system (cycling every 200 milliseconds) senses the rear wheels are on the cusp of losing grip an appropriate amount of drive will be sent to the front axle.
Jaguar claims the F-Type SVR consumes 11.3L/100km on the combined (urban, extra-urban) fuel-economy cycle, emitting 269g/km of CO2 in the process.
Over roughly 300km of city, suburban and freeway running (including scientific investigation of the car's performance and handling dynamics) we recorded 11.9L/100km, courtesy of the on-board trip computer.
It's rare to record a 'real world' figure so close to the manufacturer's number, and if we were easier on the right-hand pedal (and used the standard stop-start system) there's little doubt we could have beaten it, which is genuinely remarkable in a car this performance focused.
You'll need 70 litres of premium unleaded to fill the tank, giving a theoretical range of approximately 600km.
Settling into the F-Type SVR's sleek and snug cockpit is a big occasion. But punching the console-mounted start button lifts the experience to special-event status.
From day one, the F-Type's V8 has been outrageously raucous, and the SVR is fitted with a titanium and Inconel (a corrosion-resistant, nickel-chromium alloy) exhaust, that's not only 16kg lighter than the standard stainless system, but sounds 1600 dB louder.
A console switch allows control of the fireworks via valves in the rear silencers, but even on the 'normal' setting you'll be unnerving people three suburbs away. It's brutal.
Jaguar claims the F-Type SVR will storm from 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds.
The seating position is pretty much perfect, and it's worth noting the chairs themselves are now built around a lightweight magnesium superstructure, saving a further 8kg.
Simple instruments, with a supplementary digital speed read-out and central gear indicator (in manual mode) are spot-on, and the driver-focused layout works well from an ergonomic point of view.
Annoyingly, our test car suffered from a small but distracting optical distortion in the windscreen, directly in the driver's straight-ahead view. If it was our car, the JLR warranty department would be on notice.
Jaguar claims the F-Type SVR will storm from 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds, and if you fancy some prison time, it can continue on to a maximum velocity of 322km/h. At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, that's quick, and all those angry kilowatts make this a proper super car.
Response from step-off is fierce, with huge slabs of torque available from low in the rev range. By the time the tacho needle reaches 3500rpm, and all 700Nm have swung into action, thrust is immense.
Changes from the eight-speed auto are satisfyingly rapid on the way up, as well as coming back down, and it's a pleasure to touch actual alloy shifters (a distinct step up from the chintzy plastic paddles in lower-grade F-Types).
Start to press along a favourite backroad and the SVR really begins to blur the scenery.
Suspension is by double wishbones front and rear, with the SVR picking up a revised (adaptive) damper and swaybar package, as well as fat Pirelli P Zero rubber (265/35f-305/30r).
Select 'Dynamic' mode in the 'Adaptive Dynamics' system, and the switch from a surprisingly supple everyday ride to a tighter, more responsive setting is immediate. Start to press along a favourite backroad and the SVR really begins to blur the scenery.
The IDD system might be madly doing its thing under the skin, managing the AWD torque split, but you'd never know it. What is clear from behind the wheel is that the SVR is putting its power down with complete conviction, and that feel and response from the electrically assisted rack and pinion steering are fantastic, and the exhaust sounds like someone throwing lit sticks of TNT out of the boot.
Over 20 grand for a set of brakes is a decent ask, but stopping power from the optional carbon discs is suitably impressive. Huge rotors (398mm-f/380mm-r) clamped by monobloc calipers (six-piston-f/four-piston -r) are ready for the most serious track day session.
At this point it might be worth mentioning that in 'Normal' mode, the F-Type SVR Coupe's active rear wing deploys at 113km/h. And that's great, because Jaguar claims it reduces drag and lift by 2.5 and 15 per cent respectively.
What's not so great is that it provides an obvious signal to those with whirly-gigs on the roof that you may have given the national speed limit a nudge. Then again, you could always argue you'd hit the console button to manually raise it at exactly that moment, because you're a showoff.
3 years / 100,000 km warranty
The F-Type hasn't been assessed by ANCAP or EuroNCAP, but the most significant safety upgrade to arrive in the 2018 model year is AEB, joining a bunch of existing active-safety tech including DSC, Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), ABS, and EBD.
It's also important to note that 'Tyre pressure monitoring' is a $770 option, and 'Blind spot monitor and reverse traffic detection' will set you back $2270.
On the passive side, the SVR Coupe is fitted with six airbags (driver and passenger head, side, and curtain), and 'Pedestrian Contact Sensing' (active bonnet).
All new Jaguars are covered by a three year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, with 'Paint Surface Warranty' protection provided on the same terms. A 'Corrosion Protection Warranty' runs for six years/unlimited km, and Jaguar provides 12 months 'Roadside Assistance and Accident Assist' free-of-charge.
Service is recommended every two years/25,000km, and F-Type buyers receive three years/100,000 km free scheduled service (wear and tear items not included).
The SVR takes Jaguar's F-Type to a new level in terms of performance and supercar swagger. Not as exotic as a McLaren, yet less common than a 911, it's a super sports car sitting outside the mainstream, but not far enough to offend. And that's just how Jaguar people like it. Splendid, Jeeves!
|2.0 (221kW)||2.0L, PULP, 8 SP SEQ AUTO||$85,030 – 97,790||2017 JAGUAR F-TYPE 2017 2.0 (221kW) Pricing and Specs|
|2.0 R-DYNAMIC (221kW)||2.0L, PULP, 8 SP SEQ AUTO||$84,990 – 110,000||2017 JAGUAR F-TYPE 2017 2.0 R-DYNAMIC (221kW) Pricing and Specs|
|R||5.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$160,820 – 184,910||2017 JAGUAR F-TYPE 2017 R Pricing and Specs|
|R AWD||5.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$171,160 – 196,680||2017 JAGUAR F-TYPE 2017 R AWD Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||9|