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Driven: Jaguar F-Pace SVR may be last AJ-V8

Jaguar F-Pace SVR’s ageing V8 said to give way to BMW power in future JLR models

9 Aug 2019

JAGUAR’S F-Pace SVR performance SUV flagship, finally on sale in Australia nearly a year and a half on from its March 2018 global debut, is likely to be one of the final models to adopt Jaguar Land Rover’s ageing AJ-V8 engine, before it reportedly switches to a bent eight thought to be supplied by BMW.


As outlined in UK publication Autocar this week, JLR has been spotted already testing development mules of the next-generation Range Rover due in 2021, and it was thought to be fitted with BMW’s N63 4.4-litre V8 – though whether that family of engine ends up being the one JLR is expected to buy from the Bavarian brand is unknown.


According to the article, the adoption of the latter (or similar) is part of the collaboration announced on June 5 this year that will see JLR and BMW develop electrified powertrains.


The as-yet-unannounced extension would also involve a range of internal-combustion engines (ICE) of undisclosed sizes, configurations and electrification varieties.


The upcoming AJ-126 inline six-cylinder turbo-petrol unit from the latest Ingenium family of engines will also step in for the AJ-V8 on some JLR models.


However, speaking to the Australian media at the launch of the F-Pace SVR in Byron Bay this week, JLR overseas region regional director Martin Limpert revealed that there is still development potential for the AJ-V8 and said that he would like to see it live on in future models if emissions hurdles can be overcome.


“Personally, I hope not,” he said of the expected pending demise of the AJ-V8, adding that any death notices might be premature.


“The emissions standards luckily is a fleet emissions standard, so you always have opportunity to have a hero car with a very specific engine that is not in line with the overall emissions standards and beyond the CO2… and that really depends on the positioning and the trade-off of investment and the return of investment… they have emotion when you hear the V8 engine roaring and I would hope to hear that in the future, as well.”


JLR Australia managing director Mark Cameron was also upbeat about the V8’s future, though he did not elaborate on whether the engine he has in mind would specifically be the AJ-V8 or its replacement.


“There are still many markets like North America, Middle East, here… that like big multi-cylinder engines,” he said. “And that will still be the case for a little while longer.”


Priced from $140,620 plus on-road costs, the SVR is roughly $31,500 more expensive than the F-Pace S powered by a 280kW/460Nm 3.0-litre supercharged V6 but is significantly cheaper than the Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S that is priced from $165,395 and features a 375kW/700Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8.


Visual changes over the regular X761 F-Pace include redesigned bumpers, larger air intakes in the front mudguards, bonnet vents, wheelarch extensions, a body kit, a new rear diffuser, a larger roof spoiler, four exhaust tips and unique alloys.


The Jaguar’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8 delivers 404kW of power at 6500rpm and 680Nm of torque from 2500-5500rpm, and drives all four wheels via a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.


The 0-100km/h sprint takes just 4.3 seconds, ahead of a top speed of 283km/h, while average fuel consumption is rated at a hefty 11.7L/100km, with carbon dioxide emissions coming in at 272g/km. 


To help keep all that performance in check, Jaguar fits uprated dampers, firmer springs and a thicker anti-roll bar, 395mm front/396mm rear two-piece vented discs with four- and one-pot callipers respectively, 21-inch wheels (22s are optional) and a rear-axle mounted electronic active differential mounted.


Plus, the driving modes, power steering and adaptive suspension have been modified for this purpose, while a variable-valve active exhaust that’s 6.6kg lighter than usual with reduced back pressure also features.


Quilted front sports seats, a regular gear lever in place of the old rotary dial, a new steering wheel with paddle-shifters, a 10.0-inch Touch Pro infotainment system and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster complete the SVR mods.


Launched in 1997 as only the fourth in-house engine in Jaguar’s 84-year history, the AJ-V8 replaced the AJ6 inline six-cylinder engine as well as the storied Jaguar V12, going on to see service in several of the then Ford-controlled brands of the early part of this decade, namely Ford itself, Lincoln and Aston Martin.


Production of the AJ-V8 will end at Ford’s Bridgend facility in Wales next year, ahead of that plant’s closure.

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