NEW YORK –– Imagine a Jaguar Land Rover exec walking into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, asking the city to close down the Park Avenue tunnel so they could run a couple of 575-hp 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR beasts at speed to make some noise.
It didn’t exactly happen that way, of course, though Jaguar Land Rover North America indicated that some high-level talks had to happen. Surely, the city’s film commission was involved — it was that sort of operation.
This was not an acceleration run. The drive was pretty much all about sound, about enjoying the rorty bark of the 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 inside the tunnel, which Jaguar had fitted with a sound-activated light system that served as a sort of external redline – it glowed red in sections of the tunnel at the sound of 5,000-plus rpm. Flat-footing the throttle pedal would surely have broke tires loose, even with standard all-wheel drive, given the car’s 516 lb-ft of torque and the bumpy old surface of the tunnel road. For optimum sound effect, both Jaguar F-Type SVR vehicles used in the exercise were convertibles.
First, I took a run down through the tunnel in the shotgun seat, with a professional driver behind the wheel. Our car was left-hand drive; the other was built for Great Britain, Japan, and other foreign outposts. The pro smoothly accelerated, reaching 60 mph at the bottom of the tunnel, where he lifted so that back pressure as the engine braking kicked in let itself be heard. Then he was on the throttle again until a bit more than halfway up the up-ramp portion, where he lifted and firmly, but smoothly, braked well before getting too close to a cluster of tech support.
Though Jaguar says the F-Type SVR, which made its debut at this year’s Geneva show, is capable of 3.5-second 0-60 mph runs, and a 195 mph top speed — 200 mph for the coupe — the road surface of the tunnel is deteriorated enough to unsettle the stiffly sprung Jag. This was all about the soundtrack and not the speed.
Once we got the car facing the opposite direction back through the tunnel, I repeated his procedure. The pro took his run with the eight-speed Quickshift transmission in automatic mode, and so did I. All that torque, evenly applied, gives a great, wind-in-your-hair rush, even in a tunnel. The rear deck spoiler deploys automatically at 60 mph (70 mph in the coupe, and in both cases, always deployed when the car is in dynamic mode), but I was too busy concentrating on the road and support staff ahead to notice.
A few more facts about the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR:
*The coupe and the convertible both weigh about 55 pounds less than the F-Type R.
*Large, square-ish air intakes replace foglamps in the lower front fascia. Hood louvers exclusive to the SVR function as hot air exhausts.
*There are front and rear splitters, a front wheel arch aperture to reduce front-end lift, a front valance and engine undertray to cut drag and lift and other pieces all added to reduce drag while aiding downforce. “I do not have a problem with the wind tunnel telling us how the car should be shaped,” says design chief Ian Callum.
*For the SVR coupe an optional carbon-fiber top sheds another 110 pounds from the F-Type R.
*The front bumper has been moved outward, to smooth airflow over the front wheels.
*The lightweight, four-pipe exhaust is made of titanium and Inconel, for a higher thermal capacity. The quad pipes have twin rear silencers for reduced back pressure. The valves are tuned to open a bit earlier than in the F-Type R.
*Tires are 265/30R-20s front; 305/30R-20s rear, on forged aluminum wheels that are 31 pounds lighter than the R’s.
*Carbon-ceramic brake rotors, 16-inch front and 15-inch rear, are standard.
*A cast-aluminum rear suspension knuckle is new. Camber stiffness is up 37 percent, and toe stiffness is up 41 percent. The front rollbar is 5 percent softer and the rear is 5 percent stiffer for more rear bias.
*Jaguar says the AWD F-Type SVR is “a car you can drift,” with the dynamic stability control in track mode or deactivated completely.
*The 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR goes on sale in the U.S. this summer. Base price is $126,945 for the coupe and $129,795 for the convertible.