Jaguar Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) could be using in-line six-cylinder engines come 2017, eventually dropping its V8 and V6 powertrains.
According to Jaguar global public relations chief Richard Agnew, it’s only a matter of time before smaller forced-induction engines – and possibly electric powertrains – are in the mix, according to automobile.com
Both the F-Type SVR and the Range Rover Sport SVR are known for their powerful 5.0-litre supercharged V-8 engines, but SVR cars down the line may not always stick to the same formula.
“We can’t possibly say that SVO has to be V-8, with the way the world is changing and also the way engine technology is changing,” Agnew said in an interview with CarAdvice. In Agnew’s view, any powertrain is worthy of the SVR badge as long as it “go[es] well and sound[s] great,” and offers enough of a performance gain over the variant below it.”
At the moment the 2017 F-Type SVR has 25 bhp more than the next-best F-Type R, and it is 55lb lighter. With carbon-ceramic brakes and a carbon-fibre roof, that diet is doubled to 110lb. On top of its improved power-to-weight ratio is a reworked suspension that’s both lighter and stiffer, a reprogrammed torque-vectoring system, newly tuned adaptive dampers, upgraded aerodynamics, and much better cooling.
Agnew pointed to BMW as an example of switching to smaller, turbocharged engines for its M cars. On the other hand, Mercedes-AMG has shown it can continue to offer performance cars with a twin-turbo V-8 while still keep emissions relatively low. And emissions are really the kicker here, as taxes globally continue to climb on offending powertrains. Jaguar Land Rover’s supercharged 5.0-litre V-8 and smaller supercharged V-6 aren’t exactly spring chickens at this point, but there is sure to be a lot more opportunity for more performance out of the new generation of Ingenium direct-injection inline-six engines, due in late 2017.
One solution that Jaguar and SVO is not ruling out is electrification. We’ve heard numerous rumors of upcoming EVs or hybrids in the product pipeline for Jaguar Land Rover, so it’s no shock to see that SVO is toying with the performance potential there.
“One thing about electric cars is that their performance is, dare I say ‘electric,’ and I think they are some of the game changers in terms of torque delivery and power delivery,” Agnew told CarAdvice. “In the future, when we have electric cars, what will an SVR version of it be? It will be bloody quick, but it’s too early to say [more].”
Vee-form engines have never offered real advantages over in-line power units of the same displacement, other than their shorter length, allowing either a correspondingly shorter bonnet (hood) or less intrusion into the vehicle interior space.
A vee is invariably heavier and history has shown V6s and V8s to be initially more troublesome, subject for example to crankshaft weaknesses, requiring subsequent design upgrades.
Some supposed purists also argue that a vee can never run as smoothly as an in-line six.
It is significant that heavy-duty vee diesels in trucks were comparatively commonplace up until 20 or so years ago. Detroit Diesel with its two-strokes, Magirus-Deutz with its air-cooled units and the many engines produced under the joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and MAN were notable examples.
But they are all gone now, replaced by 'conventional' four-stroke, water-cooled in-line sixes.
An exception that proves the rule is Scania's flagship V8 diesel which, as initially a 14 litre which suffered its share of early problems, was later enlarged to 16 litres and enjoys a reputation for reliability and up-to 730hp performance.
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