2023 Jaguar F-PACE SVR (car review)

There are still some cars bucking the trend of the automotive industry’s sustainability focus. The 2023 Jaguar F-PACE SVR is one of these outliers. Headlined by a 5.0-litre supercharged V8, it’s one vehicle that’s arguably living on borrowed time.

As Jaguar’s performance-oriented SUV option, the F-PACE SVR is a niche alternative to BMW’s M-badged X3/4 models, Audi SQ5, Mercedes-AMG GLC63 and the Porsche Macan GTS.

With the F-PACE serving as a stylish base, the SVR treatment is subtle but edgy, with only a few tell-tale signs that it’s more than an entry level car. A louvered bonnet, badge on the grille, and a subtle tailgate badge are all nods to what lurks beneath.

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Styling differences to the bumpers and door claddings, noticeably upgraded brakes, and an exhaust package that you can tell is designed to growl all feature. The interior is just as luxurious as you’d expect.

Usually, this writer is not the biggest fan of light leather interiors, but Jaguar’s ‘Light Oyster’ took us by surprise. It’s not a colour you’d expect to love, but it stands out, in a good way.

2023 Jaguar F-PACE SVR
2023 Jaguar F-PACE SVR

The $2,288 extra for the performance seats is a worthy consideration given how comfortable and supportive they are – even for a larger driver. The geometric pattern motifs throughout the cabin are a continual reminder that it is a modern machine.

It doesn’t have the hangover of heritage, given the F-PACE was a new addition to the range in 2015, but there is a level of sophistication to it, without being a cliché. That’s one of the appeals of the F-PACE SVR.

It’s also one of only two in its class to have eight pots under the bonnet. And this difference is one of the things that definitely sets it apart from the rest. Pushing the stop/start button and hearing it comes to life is a smile inducing moment.

That experience is bettered by the transition to Dynamic mode, which sees the premium cabin lighting transition from the user determined colour for Comfort or Eco mode to red, and the bi-modal exhaust drops down an octave.

It’s in this mode the engine note turns from rumble to burble too. As a performance car, the F-PACE SVR is undeniable. Despite the 2,133kg mass, the stonking, no, bewildering 405kW and 700Nm makes it capable of 0-100km/h in an unbelievable 4.0 seconds.

dash
Inside the 2023 Jaguar F-PACE SVR

The handling is another defining factor. When pushed, it will do everything you ask from it. The all-wheel drive distributes the power effectively – aided by the 22-inch Pirelli rubber. Even in the wet, you have to stab the throttle hard to unsettle the big Jaguar.

That’s a testament to dynamic stability control and torque vectoring by braking. In Comfort mode, and Eco mode for that matter, the SVR is relatively tame. It cruises along using its torque and eight speed transmission to full effect, while staying within a modest rev range.

It all contributes to a combined fuel consumption claim of 11.7-litres/100km. Over the course of just 1000km of testing, we managed to record 12.7-litres with a true mix of urban, highway, metro and spirited driving.

A year ago the idea of a double-digit guzzling petrol sports car would have usually seen a recommendation to look to a diesel alternative, however with the inverse of the logical fuel prices at the moment, the F-PACE’s pain at the bowser is surprisingly palatable.

What isn’t however, is the firm ride. A glaring oversight into turning the SVR into an all rounder is the omission of adaptive suspension. Everything else can be dialled back – the noise, the engine mapping – but there is only the single firm setting for suspension.

rear seats
Inside the 2023 Jaguar F-PACE SVR

As a result, it turns the SVR from a compelling consideration into an overly luxurious track day car. With little change from $150K before on roads and options (and at $170,392 as tested, with a list of additions that are hard to look past) – it’s a tall order.

And that’s before you then factor in a new bed and chiropractic bills from feeling every bump. It’s a shame. There is so much to like about the F-PACE SVR, and the few minor design offences are completely forgivable because of the positives.

The steering wheel commits the same mistake as the majority of wheels today – too many buttons, and the dash screen isn’t the most intuitive to navigate around. But then there are the pure joys it has in store.

A seamless Apple CarPlay experience. A modern interface to the infotainment system on its 11.4-inch touchscreen, incredible sound quality courtesy of the Meridian sound system. It’s easy to love all those things.

With a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and backing of 5-year roadside assistance, it’s in line with rivals, including BMW, which announced its move to a 5-year warranty at the time of publishing.

2023 Jaguar F-PACE SVR
2023 Jaguar F-PACE SVR

Ultimately, the 2023 Jaguar F-PACE SVR is a compelling prospect – but for it to be truly in the same league as its competitors, the addition of adaptive suspension is an absolute requirement.

You can build your own on the Jaguar Australia website. If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.

Our test vehicle was provided by Jaguar Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Jaguar F-PACE SVR, talk to your local Jaguar dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
7
Exterior styling
8.75
Interior look and feel
9
Technology and connectivity
8
Family friendliness
7
Value for money
6

SUMMARY

Pros – incredible engine note and the power and torque to match; subtle yet edgy styling,
Cons – firm ride;  fuel economy (let’s face it, you’re not buying it to save fuel); overly complex steering wheel buttons.
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The News Desk is the hub of Exhaust Notes Australia. It's from here that our team of writers journalists and photographers bring you the latest happenings from the world of motoring.

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<strong>Pros –</strong> incredible engine note and the power and torque to match; subtle yet edgy styling,<br> <strong>Cons –</strong> firm ride;  fuel economy (let’s face it, you’re not buying it to save fuel); overly complex steering wheel buttons.2023 Jaguar F-PACE SVR (car review)