Jaguar Unveils F-TYPE SVR, 'The Muscle Car With A PhD'

Making its North American debut at the New York Auto Show today, Jaguar’s fastest production car, the 2017 F-TYPE SVR, shows the brand is getting serious about growing in the U.S.

“The F-type has been called ‘the muscle car with a college degree,’" John Edwards, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division, told reporters at the car’s unveiling on Wednesday. “If that’s so, the SVR is the muscle car with a PhD.”

The 575-horsepower F-TYPE SVR reaches 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds and hits top speeds of 200 m.p.h. The 5-liter V8 sports car, which arrives in June, is the first Jaguar to wear the automaker’s high-performance SVR badge that the Range Rover Sport already carries.

The F-Type sports car, which launched in 2013, has been a bright spot for Jaguar. F-type sales rose 12.6% last year as Jaguar car sales overall fell 8.3%. This spring, the Tata Motors-owned marque seeks to make strides in the U.S. with the arrivals of two new models – an XE compact sports sedan and an F-PACE SUV – that will round out the brand’s thin lineup.

“This is the first time in Jaguar’s 80-year history that we’ve had five core models,” said David Larsen, manager of product planning. “It’s going to make the brand more relevant.”

The F-Type SVR two-seater coupe is designed as a daily driver that can be used to pick up groceries or spin around the track. About 40% of sales are expected to come from the convertible version, Larsen said.

“The Jaguar family is near completion,” Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum told reporters at the show. Of the F-PACE, Jaguar’s first-ever SUV, Callum said, “I think that this will be the best-selling Jaguar ever.”

The upgrades to the F-Type are part of a trend that has German and Japanese luxury brands striving to differentiate themselves with high-performance badges – such as Mercedes-Benz AMG, BMW M and Lexus F brands – meant to appeal to drivers with more money to spend.

The F-Type “has been the emotional fulcrum for the brand,” said Kim McCullough, vice president of marketing for Jaguar Land Rover North America. “Upping the ante with the SVR badge is the next logical step for us to do.”

The F-Type SVR coupe starts at $126,000, with the convertible version fetching a couple thousand north of that. Jaguar plans to sell 558 F-type SVR units in the U.S. this year. In comparison, the brand sold 4,629 F-Types last year.