How Jaguar and Range Rover put the grunt back into their SUVs

There's nothing like a bit of old school V8 fun in your fast car, something Land Rover and its sister brand Jaguar have embraced wholeheartedly with their latest wild creations.

Each SUVs sharing plenty of componentry beneath their puffed-up metal, the Range Rover Sport SVR and Jaguar F-Pace SVR get a grunty supercharged V8 engine.

Measuring 5.0 litres in capacity, the engine is a rare hit of raw and wild excitement in a market increasingly turning to turbos for grunt. 

Start me up

You hear and feel that as soon as you start it up.

In the Range Rover Sport there's deep burble that signals its intent. It's matched by potent acceleration that really shouldn't be possible in a 2.3-tonne SUV.

There's a full 423kW of power and 700Nm of torque, the latter providing that effortless surge that makes it so unassuming – and engaging.

It's the fastest Land Rover ever created, able to top 100km/h in 4.5 seconds.

Look smart

It also looks suitably aggressive courtesy of the vents in the bonnet.

Our car was painted burnt orange but had an optional carbon fibre bonnet (at a cool $14,690), which blended beautifully with the black highlights elsewhere, including the 22-inch alloy wheels.

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Quad exhausts and unique bumpers complete the look that maintains just enough of the Range Rover functionality with lashings of lairy.

Inside

Inside there's no shortage of tech, with twin screens taking care of infotainment and major functions such as ventilation and various seat settings.

Race-inspired seats also keep you well contained through corners, although taller drivers may find the head rest digs into the base of your neck.

There's also some tricky tech in the Sport SVR. The full length sunblind covering the sunroof has gesture control, so swipe your hand at the right place and it'll open.

It also closes automatically when the car is parked and re-opens when you start up, helping to keep the cabin that little bit cooler.

Powering up

It's on the road where the biggest surprises are.

The Sport SVR leaps with intent, blasting away with the sort of noise and drama that swivels heads.

The best sound is when you blast off with full throttle and get it to slide into second gear with the throttle floored; the brapping sound on the upchange is intoxicating.

Down and dirty

That a car like this can also tackle some serious off-road tracks speaks to its immense breadth. Plenty of rival luxury brands make fast SUVs, but very few bother making the car tackle anything other than speed humps.

While the enormous low-profile tyres won't be up to the punishment of more realistic off-road rubber, the rest of the car is equipped for a rocky challenge.

There's a dual-range transfer case that allows for low-speed crawling through sand or up or down steep hills.

Land Rover's Terrain Response system tailors electronics and other parameters to off-roading; you can switch from the race track-focused sports mode to something better suited to other tracks and trails.

A big big thirst

Where the SVR comes undone is with fuel use.

The claimed is 12.8 litres per 100km, well up on the 7.8L/100km of the diesel-powered Sports that flesh out the range.

And it's easy to use plenty more than that; we saw 16-17L/100km in mostly around-town driving.

Power to weight

Peak outputs are down slightly compared with the Range Rover – the Jaguar makes 405kW and 680Nm – but it lacks nothing in terms of performance.

That's because it's about 300kg lighter, so has a better power-to-weight ratio. With more power shifting each kilogram it makes for a brisker machine.

The 0-100km/h dash takes just 4.3 seconds and the SVR has a top speed of 283km/h. 

Noise works

The Jaguar also manages to sound even louder and more outrageous than the Rangie, the sound emanating from four exhausts at the rear.

Blip the throttle when it's stationary and there are wild cracks and plenty of V8 roar.

It's a sensational noise and one that maintains its loveable rage on the road.

Sporty flavour

The F-Pace SVR's smaller body makes it more agile in the corners and there's loads of grip from the 21-inch Pirelli P Zero tyres (the rears are wider than fronts).

The added SUV ride height means it doesn't have that compliance and control of a Jaguar sports sedan, but it's terrific by SUV standards.

Push on and the F-Pace rewards with its confidence.

Get your dollar's worth

For our money, it's a win to the Jaguar, in part because we can't imagine too many bothering with the off-road ability of the Rangie, which is clearly more about the performance and the sound.

The Jaguar is also faster and does a more convincing job of the high-performance SUV thing, even if the Land Rover ventures far further from the ethos of the adventurous brand.

The price cements that. The Range Rover Sport SVR starts at $237,828 while the Jaguar F-Pace SVR is a comparative bargain at $140,252.

In either, though, you're getting a loud, brash SUV with old school character German rivals can't match.