F-Type SVR pride of big Jaguar litter

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

New York – Jaguar hit the New York auto show with a roar this week as the resurgent brand unveiled its halo supercar F-Type SVR – the pride of its U.S. litter. With five vehicles in the market for the first time, Jaguar is a formidable force in an increasingly crowded market that includes new entries from Alfa Romeo and Genesis.

The 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR.

A product of Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations “skunk works” team outside Coventry, England, the SVR is the ultimate realization of Jaguar’s F-Type sports car. Bristling with carbon fiber, 16-inch front brake rotors, a rear wing and a snarling 575-horsepower V-8, the big cat can hit 200 mph and go zero-60 in just 3.5 seconds.

Equipped with snow-shredding all-wheel drive, Jaguar bills the F-Type as its “200 mph, all-weather supercar.” That is, if owners want to get this $125,000 beauty caked in salt.

The 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR.

“The wind tunnel tells is how this car should be shaped,” says designer Ian Callum, pointing out the car’s added side vents and rear wing for downforce. “This car is about physics.”

It’s also about setting the tone for a luxury lineup that extend the brand’s sporty lineage into sedans and crossovers.

The 2017 Jaguar F-PACE crossover.

The New York Show is as much about the F-Pace — Jaguar’s new crossover — as it is about F-Type. Jaguar’s first-ever crossover joins the F-Type and a full sedan lineup of XE, XF and XJ. Like other sports car manufacturers, Jaguar is following Porsche into the SUV segment and its outsized profit margins — not to mention outside customer demand.

“The world told us we had to do it,” Callum said.

Significantly, though, Jaguar has chosen not to compete against Porsche or Maserati, which ask premium, $70,000-plus stickers for their Cayenne and Lavante “sports car utility vehicles.” Jaguar is determined to take its sporty brand and compete head-to-head against traditional, volume luxury manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes and Audi. So it has priced the F-Pace starting at $40,000, the same as an Audi Q5 and well below a BMW M5. And it has given the F-Pace best-in-class rear legroom, trunk space and width.

Then Callum packaged it all in a shell meant to echo the $125,000 F-Type SVR. “I want a lot of F-Type in it,” says the English designer.

The 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR.

“I think it will be the best-selling Jaguar ever,” he says, just as sales for Porsche Cayenne and Macan SUVs have outstripped any sports car the legendary maker has ever made.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Reach him at hpayne@detroitnews.com. Or Twitter: @HenryEPayne