If there’s a vehicle that had us conflicted, it was the previous Jaguar F-Pace SVR. Its brutally entertaining supercharged V-8 thrilled, but the interior was…unimpressive. And that’s a real issue in its segment of big-sticker SUVs with jaw-slacking performance, as such models are now in abundance. The F-Pace SVR had the moves but not the refinement. The 2021 Jaguar F-Pace SVR is here, and the stuff that ain’t broken isn’t fixed, but there’s welcome news inside the luxury SUV.
We covered the gist of the massive interior makeover in our First Look at of the non-SVR 2021 F-Pace models—a much more intensive facelift than you’d expect from a typical mid-cycle refresh. Frankly, the Jaguar needed it. It was hard to overlook the cabin’s subpar quality and its baffling ergonomic choices. Who puts window switches way up high on the door lip, near the side-view mirrors? The lackluster design and lack of attention to ergonomic detail were enough to give us significant pause during our 2020 SUV of the Year testing. The SVR‘s performance was undeniable, but it simply fell short as an overall package.
The 2021 SVR’s interior appears to be a cleaner, smarter place to be. A new, stubby gear selector has a better integrated and sporty-looking surround that includes the drive-mode knob and the stop/start system button. The car featured in Jaguar’s promotional images is a European market vehicle with neat optional “slimline” seats with prominent SVR logos. A steering wheel with a smaller hub features prominently against a cleaner, more elegant dash whose vents are blessedly less prominent.
The exterior update is less extensive, but the look is cleaner and more modern. Slimmer headlights adopt the new lineup-wide running light shape, and the air intakes and lower fascia have been subtly remixed. It’s classier but still obviously a high-octane F-Pace. Out back, the more rectilinear taillights’ lenses provide a hint of the semi-circles that the old ones actually carved out of the F-Pace’s rear hatch. Again, the same spirit and basic theme but a cleverer and cleaner execution. The rest is largely similar. Jaguar claims front-end lift is reduced, and drag, too—subtle but meaningful benefits to the equally subtle exterior makeover.
The numbers are worth briefly exploring, but as mentioned earlier, there are no huge changes in the car’s important performance figures. The 5.0-liter, supercharged V-8 carries over with 550 horsepower, but torque is up to 516 lb-ft from 502. With some other tuning and driveline enhancements, the factory-claimed zero-to-60-mph time is reduced by 0.3 second to 3.8 seconds. Top speed is up to 178 mph, a 2 mph bump. For what it’s worth, we actually tested the old F-Pace SVR to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds; if the factory improvement is to be believed, we would be pleasantly surprised to record a 3.4-second romp from the 2021 model.
Perhaps more important, a revised electronic power-steering system is claimed to provide more feedback to the driver—something we’re keen to experience. And the adaptive dampers have been retuned to aid low-speed comfort, also aided by revised chassis bushings. A new brake booster aims to improve pedal feel with a shorter stroke. And the eight-speed automatic transmission now features a torque converter from the fantastic XE SV Project 8, to cope with the increased torque load.