Last week during the New York International Auto Show, we profiled the Jaguar XK120 which debuted as a production vehicle at the event 68 years ago and became the first postwar car that arguably could be called a supercar. Jaguar hasn’t had a production supercar to go head-to-head with the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Porsche since the ’90s-era XJ220, but that all changed last week when the company brought its F-Type SVR to New York for its American debut. And compared to that big cat, with its half-million dollar price tag in the ’90s, the SVR is a relative bargain.
This new Jag won’t exactly run with the Bugatti Chiron or Koenigsegg Regera, but with 575 horsepower on tap and a top speed of 200 miles per hour, it should be more than enough to keep Mercedes-AMG GT S and Porsche 911 Turbo owners up at night – and at around $130K, for thousands less. Power comes from Jaguar’s tried-and-true 5.0 liter supercharged V8, and zero to 60 comes in around 3.5 seconds. The XJ220 may still be the fastest production Jag ever, but the SVR comes in at a close second, and that’s just fine with us.
The SVR is the company’s first production model to benefit from Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations, the mad geniuses behind last year’s 550 horsepower Range Rover Sport SVR. The division first tried its hand with the F-Type last year, when it created the ultra-limited Project 7 track car. While that was a brute, Jaguar only built 250 of them; it expects to sell a whole lot more SVRs.
It helps that SVR had such a good starting point. The SVR is less of a standalone supercar and more the ultimate go-fast edition – think M6 to the F-Type’s 6 Series coupe. It’s based on the $105K F-Type R, a car we drove last September. Based on that, our Collin Woodard said: “If Jaguar is looking for a new tagline, I highly recommend, “The 2016 Jaguar F-Type R Convertible: Filling children’s lives with joy, even the ones who are supposed to be grown up.'”
For the $25K premium over the standard R, you get an additional 25 horsepower, 14 pound feet of torque (516 over 502), faster shifting, and revised aero, including front fascia that helps get air to the SVR’s exclusive twin intercoolers. With all that, it’s still 55 pounds lighter than the standard car (convertibles are 110 pounds lighter). Our experience in the “common” R led us to believe that it’s just civilized enough to live with everyday, not just corner-carving on weekends. If you’re a bit of a madman, you could probably drive the SVR to work everyday, and stay pretty comfortable even if you hit traffic – a test most 200 mile per hour-plus cars would fail.
But at the end of the day, the incredible speed and the gorgeous looks would be nothing without the Jag’s gorgeous cacophony of sound. The R rips, pops, and snorts with the beauty of a vintage Cobra, and astonishingly, SVO found a way to make the Jaguar sound even better. For its North American debut, JLR rented a tunnel under Park Avenue on the eve of the New York show to show off the new cat’s growl. And that’s how it made its North American debut: Wailing away under Manhattan at night, its bark escaping from underground, echoing off quiet skyscrapers. The SVR won’t just make for a quick escape, it makes for a hell of an entrance too.