By Derek Price
You need a crossover for your family. You want an eye-catching luxury car, and you lust for a high-speed track machine.
What do you buy? Something like what I’m driving this week, the Jaguar F-PACE SVR.
While the standard F-PACE is more than competent starting around $51,000, with enough modern style and coddling comfort to justify the Jaguar name, the SVR version is an entirely different beast.
It’s powered by a rip-roaring, 550-horsepower, supercharged V8. It’s the kind of engine that seems completely insane to shoehorn into a practical, family-friendly crossover, but that’s just part of the appeal.
It’s nuts. It’s crazy. It doesn’t make any logical sense.
And I completely love it for that.
Driving a 550-horsepower family car is something everyone should do at least once in their life. It looks relatively sedate, especially to people who don’t know much about cars, with the familiar sleek, soap-bar body shape that countless small SUVs have taken in the past decade.
Stomp the gas pedal, though, and everyone within earshot will understand what you’re driving: an insanely fast machine.
Aficionados will notice the little touches that make the SVR version special. Bigger vents and openings keep the powertrain and brakes cool, while tasteful SVR badges stand out to people who know what that means.
In the F-PACE SVR’s case, it means you can go from a standstill to 60 mph in a supercar-like 3.8 seconds. It has a top speed of 178 mph, fast enough to get your kid to soccer practice in the blink of an eye.
More realistically, it’s built for people who want a car they can enjoy every day and occasionally take to the track. It’s actually downright comfortable as a daily driver, without the harsh ride, ear-splitting engine noise and droning exhaust note that can plague some track-focused cars.
Push it hard, though, and it changes personality completely.
The engine has a delicious, bellowing sound through the tailpipes at full throttle, and the shocks seem to get firmer as you drive more aggressively. It does a great job keeping body roll in check, making the roomy crossover feel more like a nimble sports sedan when you toss it around.
Gigantic two-piece brakes, a tight steering feel and a brilliantly tuned adaptive suspension all work in concert to make the monster power on tap seem balanced, not overkill.
Inside, the F-PACE is thoroughly modern. That may be a disappointment for those of us seasoned enough to appreciate the wood-paneled splendor of an old Jaguar, the kind of car you want to sit inside with your Labrador and smoking jacket.
This Jag, like all its contemporary siblings, is a better fit for a sport coat and Maltipoo. It’s new, fresh, cool and sophisticated inside, all about tech-oriented creature comforts with a relaxing, minimalist look.
Overall, it’s really nicely done.
What does it cost? The F-PACE SVR starts at $84,600 before upgrades. My tester rang up over $96,000 after checking the option boxes, including more than $4,500 for a premium paint finish.
At A Glance
What was tested? 2021 Jaguar F-PACE SVR ($84,600). Options: Hot climate pack ($2,110), SVO ultra-metallic paint ($4,550), 22-inch wheels ($1,200), head-up display ($1,010), Meridian surround sound ($800), gloss black roof rails ($360), rear privacy glass ($200), adaptive surface response ($150), additional power sockets ($99). Price as tested (including $1,150 destination charge): $96,229
Wheelbase: 113.1 in.
Length: 187.5 in.
Width: 85.6 in.
Height: 65.7 in.
Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V8 (550 hp, 516 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 15 city, 22 highway
Why buy it?
It’s a no-compromise family vehicle for people who want speed, style, luxury and practicality.