It could be argued that, with its 1991-'93 GMC Typhoon, General Motors invented the seemingly oxymoronic category of the hot-rod SUV.
It also can be argued that, in 2019, Jaguar, with its F-Pace SVR, has elevated that contradictory discipline to an art.
The notion of a hot-rod SUV gained traction (in more ways than one) in the final decade of the last century with the debut of the turbocharged Typhoon, with its 280 hp, 360 lb.-ft. of torque, rear-biased all-wheel drive, lowered sport suspension, performance tires and 5.3-second run to 60.
Flash forward to now, and it seems just about everybody offers a hot-rod ute -- Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Mercedes, you name it.
Jaguar's entry is the F-Pace SVR, a product of the gearheads at Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations.
And special it is.
Rather than the supercharged, 3.0-liter six-pack powering other gasoline-fed F-Paces -- 340 or 380 hp, depending on the model, SVR is motivated by a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 that lays down 550 hp and a pavement-rippling 502 lb.-ft. of torque, all channeled to all four wheels via a seamless eight-speed automatic.
Asterisks to that powertrain -- both welcome -- include a driver-selectable manual mode for direct control of the gearbox's shift points and a rear-bias for the all-wheel drive system in order to retain Jaguar's traditional rear-drive ambience.
We greeted 60 mph in a blink over 4 seconds, all the while enjoying the fury of the performance exhaust.
In relaxed motoring, that exhale exhibits a merely purposeful rumble. When provoked, however, it snarls and roars, providing a pulse-pounding audio accompaniment to high-velocity launches. Suddenly jump off the throttle, and that sport exhaust crackles, pops and percolates in the finest hot-rod fashion. (Joked one friend: "You'd think for this kind of dough they could afford to install a muffler!")
What a hoot!
During normal driving, during which we registered 15 mpg in 130 miles around town, this guy is quiet, comfortable, supremely composed and absolutely civil in its demeanor -- a demeanor that can be tailored via driver-selectable Eco, Comfort and Dynamic chassis modes. But even in the Comfort setting, SVR, with its performance-tuned suspension dampers, low-profile Pirelli Scorpion high-performance rubber and, in our case, towering 22-inch wheels (21s are standard) -- well, if you're looking for a soft ride you'll get your heart broken.
Regarding appearance, F-Pace was already among the best-dressed luxury crossovers on offer, so SVR sticks mainly with the dress code. However, bigger front-fascia air intakes, unique wheel-arch trim, functional hood nostrils, big red brake calipers peeping through the SVO wheels, and quad chrome tailpipes, two bundled at each side, hint that there's more going on under the hood than meets the eye.
Inside are quilted-leather and hugely bolstered sport buckets that are designed to accept a five-point racing harness and, in our SVR, the optional Aluminum Weave Carbon Fiber trim, which is simultaneously sporty and elegant.
Standard cabin equipment includes a 10-inch touchscreen, navigation and 380-watt Meridian audio. We optioned up to the 825-watt surround-sound version.
Room in this five-passenger rocket is excellent front and rear, even under the standard panoramic sunroof. The InControl infotainment interface demands a learning curve, but the screen is wide enough for Cinemascope and, in a welcome old-school touch, it provides a knob for audio volume.
Well-heeled shoppers seeking a visceral driving experience that also boasts the practical aspects of five-passenger seating and a big cargo bay -- all wrapped in a gorgeous body -- will find the Jaguar F-Pace SVT has few peers.
The conflicted Typhoon can now feel vindicated.