Words: Sirish Chandran
“We dial it up to 11”, says Mark Stanton, director of Special Vehicle Operations, Jaguar Land Rover’s in-house tuning arm that works in much the same way as Mercedes-AMG and BMW M, but without any active motorsport involvement. SVO takes regular Jaguar’s and Range Rover’s and turns up the wick: in the case of the SVR’s adding fire and brimstone to the supercharged motors; in the case of the SVA’s even more leathers and woods while knocking off a few doors. SVO’s are not cars you buy with your head – a two-door Range Rover! Really! – but these are cars that you want. Really want!
It starts with the noise; the wall of noise. How can a road-legal SUV make so much noise is beyond my understanding but it does pass all those tests while making the most awesome noise in a road car, even better than the Jaguar F-Type SVR. Wait for the traffic to clear up, floor it, and it’s like a low-flying squadron of bombers thundering into formation. This is easily top 10 in the all-time list of politically incorrect cars; where the whole world is talking about going green with zero noise and emissions this ridiculously orange SVR gulps petrol with an appetite that can only be described as legendary and then, for good measure, lets un-burnt fuel explode in the exhaust when you get off the gas.
Our pre-drive briefing includes a stern warning to take it easy through the villages on our drive route. My driving partner has other ideas. Through every one of those idyllic English villages preparing for Sunday Mass, he drops three gears, gives the throttle hell and empties an entire AK-47 magazine on the overrun. Let them know we are here for our Kohinoor is his justification. The SVR makes gangstas out of scrawny five footers!
The view too is bad ass. The last carbon-bonneted car I drove had an exploding wastegate, a big ol’ wing filling up my rear view mirror and the letters GT-R tacked on to the boot. Carbon bonnets are the preserve of rice rockets and tuner-cars, ostensibly to save weight though, if you ask me, more an advertisement for the go-faster kit under the hood. A Range Rover with a carbon bonnet? Now that’s ridiculous, but then again dialing-it-up-to-ridonkulous is what JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations is all about.
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