Jaguar Land Rover’s SVO division will give headaches to BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 1, 2015

Amid the popularity of exclusive cars with special features, Jaguar Land Rover has decided to enter the performance and luxury derivative business. JLR launched the Special Vehicle Operations unit last summer. So far, it has had three vehicles in development. The most recent one is the $111,400 Range Rover Sport SVR, which costs around $30,000 higher than the base supercharged V-8 model.

Shipping costs are included in the price. Orders from around the world have reached about 1,600 to date. Stuart Adlard, senior vehicle engineering manager for SVO, said that SVO was formed because customers were asking JLR to bring their vehicles further in “specific direction." Its rivals include BMW's M and Mercedes-Benz's AMG lines.

Like them, SVO can charge as much as tens of thousands of dollars to customers. Adlard said that JLR has a “great” vehicle lineup, which can be further extended to be “more sporty or more luxurious.” He said that the SVO engineering arm in Warwickshire, England, consists of a core team of around 70 employees while it has 100 more who build the vehicles.

SVO hopes to be as renowned and successful as its German-based competitors. Adlard said that it will take a while to build the image of the new brand externally. Ford Motor, which used to own JLR, had referred to its in-house speed shop as Special Vehicle Operations. This is no coincidence. Adlard explained that they wanted to give it a name that people can recognize.

In addition, SVO wants to stand out by coming up with three types of vehicles. Specifically, he cited those that improve performance, luxury and capability. He added that AMG has one direction in its cars while JLR has three and M is “a little fussier.” SVO will also produce low-volume collectible cars like the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 race car.

Last summer, SVO started to promote itself when it presented the Range Rover Sport SVR, a souped-up version of the SUV that considers the New York City area as its biggest market. The SVR package for the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR package is only available on the five-seat model.

It features a unique chassis with a retuned suspension and continuously variable dampening to keep its ride level but offer sportier handling than the Range Rover Sport. Its cornering is improved with retuned active roll control.

It is powered by a 550hp 5.0-liter V-8 engine that comes from the F-Type R model. For a sportier feel, its steering is weightier. The SUV interior features sport seats with an SVR logo with carbon fiber veneer trim as an option.

With new bumpers, the SUV appears wider and lower than the Range Rover Sport. It is based on the supercharged V-8 Range Rover Sport, which has $80,990 as its base price (including shipping). Earlier in the spring, a luxurious version – the Range Rover SV Autobiography -- made its debut at the New York auto show.

It has a starting price of $200,490 (including shipping). Meanwhile, a base Range Rover has a price tag of $84,490 (including shipping). The Autobiography has trim and interior enhancements such as rear-seat entertainment screen and retractable tables and a champagne cooler with flutes. Deliveries are expected to start this September.

Last year, SVO unveiled and immediately sold out its first car, the F-Type Project 7 based on the F-Type convertible. In the previous year, a concept version was seen at Pebble Beach. This car has a price tag of over $165,000. Only 250 examples of this car will be made. It is a collectible and will not be homologated to be legally driven on the road. Deliveries in the U.S. will kick off this summer.

Topics: jaguar, land rover

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