2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR AWD Convertible Review

The madness of King George, now with windblown hair


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Power is utterly intoxicating, one of the best exhaust notes in autodom, rail-like handling, quick transmission and steering, oodles of real carbon fiber, quick deploying top, head-turning looks.
Negatives: Serious fuel consumption, scrapes its chin on the smallest incline, some cheap interior bits, adjustable spoiler is functional but garish.
Bottom Line: If a Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet seems to run-of-the-mill for you, the Jaguar F-Type SVR Convertible is a logical alternative that's actually rarer and comes across as more exotic, despite the fact that it's $50K less. The sound, the looks, the power, and the comfort are intoxicating. It's a sports car that's truly exotic in just about every way and worth a look for affluent enthusiasts who want to be both seen and heard.
 View Our 2017 Jaguar F-TYPE Overview
Even the prestige brands find that top trim versions of their sports cars are not enough, so they build specialized versions. Jaguar is agreeing because they've built a top-trim F-Type that makes a statement that the already rapid F-Type R with 550 horses just doesn't seem like enough firepower. Their Special Vehicle Operations has unleashed the droptop version of their F-Type SVR Coupe. We drove it for a week to see if $20K more than the F-Type R gets you more than just an additional 25 horses. Read on for our full review.
 

Driving Experience

9.8

 

The standard F-Type is a great driver's car, but the SVR is much more so thanks to torque vectoring, stability control and all-wheel-drive systems that send power to the wheels that need them. The whole car has the right amount of system intrustion, which is to say, not much.

Ride Quality: Firm but not jarring. The big wheels and taut suspension thankfully don't lead to unlivability. Frankly, it's pretty compliant for the performance it delivers.

Acceleration: This is pull your face off fast. 3.5 seconds to 60 mph is seriously quick, and the transmission fires off changes rapidly in Dynamic mode, especially with the paddle shifters.

Braking: The brakes are seriously strong and progressive. No issues scrubbing speed quickly and qith accuracy.

Steering: The stock F-Type has great steering, but the SVR Convertible's is immediate and telepathic. Great feedback, too. You feel connected to the vehicle remarkably well.

Handling: The car corners flat, and body roll is imperceptible.

Technology

7.7

 

Though Jaguar/Land Rover have improved their infotainment system, it still lags behind BMW, Porsche, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. It's a few notches up from their last system but still feels tough to navigate menus.

Infotainment System: Much improved but still frustrating when it comes to menus and responsiveness.

Controls: Infotainment buttons, system toggle switches, and climate controls all work well but could feel more substantial at this price.

Bluetooth Pairing: No issues with pairing, but we did encounter some audio streaming hiccups intermittently.

Voice Call Quality: Calls were clear. Just don't attempt to conduct calls the top down and the gas pedal pushed to the floor.

Styling

9.5

 

The lines of the coupe are better (pretty much a perfect 10), but the SVR Convertible is still damned sexy. It's a head turner no matter the color or whether the top is up or down. Red paint isn't our first choice, but who are we to complain?

Front: The carbon fiber splitter and big twin air intakes provide additional aggressiveness. It's a tasty and menacing fascia that's distinct.

Rear: The huge carbon fiber splitter and big quad pipes are beautiful, but the massive carbon fiber wing, though functional, is a bit inelegant. It's the single demerit in the SVR Convertible's looks.

Profile: The F-Type is well-sculpted and not overstyled. The huge, dark chrome wheels, fill the wells beautifully.

Cabin: Alcantara, quilted sport seats and plenty of carbon fiber make it sophisticated and sinister. That being said, there are some cheap bits inside.

Comfort

9

 

For a two-seater, the Jag is remarkably comfortable thanks to superb seats and a great riding position.

Front Seats: These well-bolstered seats have great support and lateral hold. They're wide enough for long drives but properly hugging when the driving gets more spirited. Plus, they look fantastic.

Rear Seats: Not applicable.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Sound insulation is good with the top up, and the cabin is free of vibration. The exhaust note is beautiful, and you want to hear it whenever you can, despite its volume.

Visibility: Rear visibility sucks with the top up because the convertible rear window is small. Front visibility is very good.

Climate: Climate controls work well, and the system is good. The best ventilation, however, is with the top down.

Safety

5

 

The F-Type in any trim has never been tested by either the IIHS or the NHTSA due to its niche segment.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The SVR comes with a limited set of standard safety features, only providing a rearview camera and a blind spot monitor.

Optional Tech: None.

Storage/Cargo

6

 

For a high-powered roadster, the F-Type SVR Convertible actually isn't terrible, as long as you keep hauling expectations low.

Storage Space: There's a small cubby in front of the shifter, but the cupholder and armrest compartment do a good job of holding small gear items. The glovebox located between the seats can hold slightly larger items.

Cargo Room: The F-Type Coupe actually has 14.4 cubic feet, but the Convertible cuts that almost in half at only 7.3. That being said, we were able to hold a couple of grocery bags in the back. The top down doesn't diminish space, which is a very good thing.

Fuel Economy

7

 

No one buys this car for fuel economy, so the fact that it can get 23 highway without cylinder deactivation is pretty damned good. 15 city assumes owners drive tamely, which is very much not the case

Observed: 12.3 mpg

Distance Driven: 212 miles

Driving Factors: We pretty much drove this beast in Dyanmic mode all the time. Half the time, we drove it on highways, while the rest of the time, we were on local suburban roads.

Audio

9.2

 

The 770-Watt Meridian sound system is excellent. It sounds fantastic with the top up or down with great bass and clarity. We rarely listened to it, though, opting to hear the mellifluous engine and exhuast at full bore.



Final Thoughts

The F-Type SVR Convertible is over the top in just about every way. Looks, power, and handling are the cream of the crop, and it's a car that gets attention whether it's parked or barrelling down the freeway. Even guys in Corvettes and Porsches gawk at it with envy, and the commensurate sound draws even more attention. We're guessing the reliability sucks because the brand isn't exactly known for it, but the entry price means those who can afford it don't care much. What you sacrifice in terms of reliability gets made up for in spades when it comes to performance and the outright spotlight it garners. Jaguar has made a truly exotic convertible that's everyday usable.

Check out our 1-Minute Video Review:

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