New Jaguar F-Pace SVR vs Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
With a mighty V8 engine, the Jaguar F-Pace SVR has the firepower to take on Alfa Romeo’s award-winning Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Let’s see who makes the best posh sports SUV...
Down on power compared with the F-Pace, but the Stelvio is an absolute riot to drive.
Jaguar F-Pace SVR 5.0 V8 550
- List price - £75,335
- Target Price - £74,178
Hottest version of the F-Pace packs a 542bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine.
If there’s one thing that connects Alfa Romeo and Jaguar, it’s racing. The former currently competes in Formula 1, while the latter has gone the electric route with Formula E. Look back farther and you’ll find that, apart from the odd quiet patch, both companies have battled on track since not long after their creation.
So, with more than 150 years’ experience of going exceedingly fast between them, you’d hope that a sports SUV from either brand would be jolly good fun. In Jaguar’s case, it has opted to shoehorn the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 from the F-Type sports car into its largest SUV to create the F-Pace SVR. However, Alfa is one step ahead, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio having already vanquished its Mercedes-AMG rival, the GLC 63. Time to see if the F-Pace has what it takes to beat our super-SUV champion.
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
On paper, the F-Pace appears to have brought heavy artillery to a gunfight, with its big V8 pumping out 542bhp, compared with the 503bhp produced by the Stelvio’s twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6.
However, there’s something more important than raw power to consider, and that’s weight. The F-Pace is more than 200kg heavier, and that probably explains why the Stelvio gets from 0-60mph and – more usefully on the road – 30-70mph a good half a second quicker. Even so, the F-Pace’s 4.2sec 0-60mph time embarrasses many sports cars’.
At full chat, the Stelvio’s six-cylinder baritone certainly sounds the business, especially in Race mode. However, in normal use it sounds more like a three-cylinder hatchback than a 503bhp monster. As for the F-Pace, its V8 burble is always present, getting more aggressive the harder you push it. Add some cheeky supercharger whine and it gets our vote for the best soundtrack here.
Given that both of these cars are so fast that you can rarely use all of their performance on the road, how they go around corners is arguably even more important. The F-Pace initially impresses with reassuringly weighty steering that allows you to place it easily on the road. In contrast, the Stelvio has light, ultra-quick steering that makes it feel a bit nervous at first.
The F-Pace also proves happy to send lots of power to the rear wheels should you want to aim it via your right foot instead of the steering wheel. But the faster you go, the more ragged it becomes –the opposite of the Stelvio. Blast down your favourite B-road and you’ll be amazed at how well the Stelvio hides its weight, whereas in the F-Pace you’re always aware of its mass, especially in fast corners and under heavy braking.
Once you’ve acclimatised to the Stelvio’s hyper-alert front end, you realise that it’s more precise than the F-Pace through corners and leans a lot less. The Stelvio’s extra traction also means it can fire out of bends with more verve. It’s fast, fun and very addictive.
After you’ve finished giving your passengers white knuckles, you’ll find that the F-Pace is, for the most part, a more comfortable companion. However, while the Stelvio has firmer suspension, it actually deals with potholes and sharp bumps in a more controlled manner. That might be down to our test F-Pace’s optional 22in wheels (£840), though; 21in wheels are standard. The only wheel size available on the Stelvio is 20in.
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