(Bloomberg) -- On Tuesday, March 27, prior to the first official press day of the New York Auto Show, Jaguar debuted a hyped-up version of its best-selling compact SUV.
The new Jaguar F-Pace SVR is faster, more powerful, and a crucial play for consumers of small luxury SUVs. Next year, the hyper-competitive segment is expected to grow by double digits in the U.S. alone, according to analytics firm IHS Markit. A supercharged 5.0-liter, V8 engine gets 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque—that’s 170 more horsepower than Jag’s F-Pace S—with a top speed of 176 miles per hour and a 4.1 second sprint time.
The news comes on the heels of Jaguar’s having committed to a 20,000-strong fleet of self-driving I-Pace SUVs in partnership with Waymo LLC, a ride-hailing taxi service spun off from Google Inc. The I-Pace was introduced during the Geneva Motor Show recently and, as the company’s first electric SUV, received plenty of attention. But as one end of the driving spectrum at Jaguar goes autonomous, it seems that the other, more human end has gotten more extreme.
The $42,065 F-Pace holds the power at Jaguar as its most popular vehicle, and the $79,990 SVR version is the sexiest of its kind.
Hand-built at special headquarters in Warwickshire, England, this SVR version isn’t a mere aesthetic upgrade. It has an aerodynamic package with unique front and rear bumpers, lower body sides, and a rear spoiler, which enhance cooling, reduce lift, and aid stability at high speeds. The larger air intakes on the front and side fender vents reduce lift; the rear spoiler and exclusive SVR hood vent add to the effect.
It will also ride in sportier fashion than the regular versions of the F-Pace, thanks to larger brakes and upgraded, 30 percent-stiffer shocks. Optional 21- or 22-inch forged rims on wheels, staggered front to rear, will also help enhance traction control. The F-Pace SVR comes with eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive.
Inside, a new quick-shift gear selector is what caught most my attention, replacing the rotary dial that selects “Drive” in many of the other models at Jaguar. No doubt it will enhance the feeling of sportiness inside this SUV.
The F-Pace SVR will also sound more aggressive behind the wheel, with a new, variable-valve active exhaust system that weighs 14 pounds less—and sounds multiple times louder—than the standard-issue F-Pace. Little will change elsewhere in the interior, apart from with special SVR logos throughout and four new specialized color themes (variations on red, tan, and black).
The F-Pace SVR will go on sale this summer.
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