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Brawny Jaguar getting hearts racing

Jaguar’s formidable F-Pace SVR won’t win any environmental awards, but commands plenty of attention from high-end SUV buyers.

JAGUAR F PACE SVR Jaguar's fire-breathing F-Pace SVR won't win any low-emissions awards, but will still have fans.
December 27, 2022
By Peter Atkinson
27 December 2022

Some say the secret to success is to zig while everybody is zagging, buying up big while others are selling down.

That might help explain British brand Jaguar’s decision to release a new version of its brawny F-Pace SVR – a charging bull in a field full of sheep – and very definitely an outlier in the modern-day motoring market where emissions are treated like … well … poison.

This car could be seen as a giant “up yours” – a raised middle finger to all those do-gooders driving hybrids and EVs and any machine designed to save the planet.

Or, it could simply be the last hoorah for an era of performance machines that dazzled with their glorious good looks and rare balance of brutal performance and refined opulence.

Jaguar recently announced it will soon build its final internal combustion-powered model … in 2025, to be precise.

The maker was an early adopter of emissions-free motoring. The iPace electric compact SUV, released in Australia in 2019, meant Jaguar was one of the first mainstream brands – other than the likes of Nissan and BMW – to offer an all-electric machine.

The F-Pace SVR (the hotted-up version of this sleek SUV) represents much more familiar territory for Jaguar – a fire-breathing, supercharged, high-output 5-litre V8 with all-wheel-drive is hardly the poster child for the COP26 climate summit.

The model has recently undergone a substantial facelift, getting some exterior tweaks and an all-new, best-in-class interior makeover. All the more reason to lament its imminent demise.

The F-Pace, along with its namesake XF sedan, was one of the models that helped refresh and renew the Jaguar brand in recent years. Its SUV sensibility and unmistakable Jaguar DNA make a powerful combination, and no doubt will continue to be so once this car, and several of its sibling models, go all electric.

Everybody, it seems, is downsizing these days and it’s clear these high-performance variants will feel the burn sooner than most. 

For the moment, though, the Jag’s V8 tested here, remains a formidable thing, delivering 405kW and 700Nm – enough to push this upgraded model to the speed limit in a brisk four seconds.

It also emits a thunderous exhaust note that will have those Tesla drivers wagging their fingers and shaking their head when this big banger drives by.

All well and good, but who’ll be spending upwards of 150 grand on a car that seems set to become a dinosaur.

Clearly Jaguar thinks there are plenty of eager buyers. After all, politicians can’t very well visit homes and tow away such pride and joy vehicles. Even if they’re planning to ban, or seriously restrict cars like this, there will still be plenty (well, a few) F-Pace SVRs around for a decade or two yet.

What is more likely is that governments make it prohibitively expensive to drive one (and feed it at $2.30 a litre) – particularly affecting people who live and/or work in big cities.

In its natural environment – out on a wide, multi-lane freeway with the fabulous audio turned up loud and the cool air wafting through the cabin – the SVR is a glorious piece of kit. Especially if it’s possible to overlook the 272g of carbon being pumped into the air with each passing kilometre.

There’s no escaping that the SVR is a thirsty beast – with an official consumption of 11.7L/100km. It gargles down premium unleaded at a disturbing pace – unless driven with kid gloves, in which case it still gargles down premium unleaded at an alarming pace.

On the positive side, there’s plenty to like. Sporty, for sure, with all that power. And it sounds like it means business,

Handsome, too, with proportions very similar to another much-lauded sports SUV (and key rival), the Maserati Levante.

Practical? Sure, it seats five in optimal comfort – particularly the four who are fortunate enough to occupy one of the glorious racing-style seats.

The cockpit is superb, both in terms of creature comfort and pure style – a lesson in class and restraint. And Jaguar/Land Rover’s PIVI-Pro infotainment system is as good as any on the market – intuitive and beautifully presented. The system instils a good mood right from the start, with a “good morning” message early in the day and “good evening’ on the way home at night.

The quality of the SVR’s cockpit is stunning, to the point where its $140,000 sticker price feels pretty reasonable, particularly in a machine that backs those aesthetics up so strongly with its power, supple ride and overall driving dynamics.

Hard to imagine it disappearing.

More likely, it will be one of the first models “electrified” by Jaguar – to compete against BMW’s formidable IX and Benz’s EQE wagon.

Keep in mind that SUVs are the favourite format for “electrifying” existing models – their body snapes are much better suited to accommodating the many batteries needed to give an EV the required range and performance.

So the F-Pace will be a prime candidate when the time comes.

Until then, there’s no reason not to keep zagging when others plan to zig.


* HOW BIG? Its lithe looks are somewhat disguise the fact it’s a pretty decent piece of metal. It will swallow up five adult passengers with still plenty of cargo room.

* HOW FAST? It will rumble to the speed limit in a touch under four seconds. That’s quick by any standards, let alone a sleek and smooth SUV.

* HOW THIRSTY? Official thirst is 11.7L/100km, although whoever got those numbers presumably wasn’t pushing very hard.

* HOW MUCH? A very reasonable $141,040 – just a grand more than the superseded model (launched in 2018) despite getting a new and beautiful interior.

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