Jaguar’s new F-Pace SVR was worth the wait

Despite arriving one year later than its initial launch date, we were wowed by the British carmaker’s new SUV on the French Riviera

Who knows what the letter ‘F’ stands for in Jaguar’s F-Pace? Any guesses? Nobody? Not to worry — because it was a trick question anyway, and the ‘F’ doesn’t actually stand for anything.

In fact, it’s purely sequential. Yet, after we took the British carmaker’s latest SUV for a sun-soaked spin along the French Riviera, we can think of more than a couple of options for that errant ‘F’.

Jaguar’s new F-Pace SVR was worth the wait

It could stand, simply, for ‘fast’. With a 5.0 litre V8 burbling away under the bonnet, Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations department have created their first SUV that could genuinely throw down the supercharged gauntlet to Porsche’s much-admired Macan Turbo.

It could stand for ‘form-hugging’ — a term Jaguar themselves use to describe the new ‘Performance seats’ that typify the car’s sports-chic interior. Cocooning you into the cabin, these purpose-built seats have been created using premium perforated Windsor leather and decorated with a soft, lozenge pattern for added comfort.

Or that ‘F’ could stand for ‘familiar’. For, despite the F-Pace SVR bringing a new variety of thrilling performance, exceptional luxury and cutting-edge technology to the roads around Nice, we found that Jaguar have still managed to roll out a car that is stunningly on-brand.

Tearing along Southern France’s Route Napoleon, the F-Pace’s F-Type inspired Variable Value Active Exhaust System roared out Jaguar’s customary soundtrack, pouring its power onto the coastal roads through highly polished quad aluminium tailpipes.

Pushing on past St Tropez, even more recognisably ‘Jaguar’ features presented themselves. The SportShift Selector, a 21st Century take on the gear stick, proved a simple, intuitive way to make manual changes around the tight, winding bends — and offered the same level of perceptive driving we’ve enjoyed in the carmaker’s new XE.

The forged alloy wheels, too, are visually striking with either a Diamond Turned or Gloss Black finish — and show us that Jaguar are still committed to delivering British automotive beauty.

Even the newly added bonnet vents, optimally positioned for improved airflow and cooling, don’t feel like a misstep from the heritage carmaker. Usually, we’d expect these go-faster additions (the SVR also features bulkier wheel arches and shapely sills) to tarnish the polish and pedigree of such a seasoned brand.

But, under a Mediterranean sun, Jaguar subverted our expectations splendidly — proving that they could introduce such enhancements without losing any of the class and sophistication we’ve come to expect from the 96-year old company.

In fact, the extra cooling intakes only serve to indicate how serious the carmaker has taken the engineering enhancements under the bonnet.

And that, in an all-wheel drive, aluminium-adorned, supercharged nutshell, is what makes Jaguar’s latest SUV great. It may have steered in a sportier direction, but backs up this design shift with meticulous engineering and an impressive eye for practical luxury.

So, to add another ‘F’ word to the roster of possibilities, we’d suggest ‘faultless’.

Jaguar’s new F-Pace SVR was worth the wait

Jaguar F-Pace SVR

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