The just-launched Jaguar F-Pace medium-large SUV has put the prestigious British marque into the battle of one of the most crowded markets in the industry. Audi BMW, Lexus, Mercedes and Porsche all have a range of SUVs in their lineup. Even the very British Bentley is in there, albeit at a premium price.
We recently reported on a four-cylinder F-Pace, now we have spent a great week in the high-performance Jaguar F-Pace S and spent a lot of time smiling while behind the wheel.
Jaguar has been a champion of aluminium car construction for many years and this lightweight material is used in the doors, bonnet and front guards. This keeps F-Pace’s weight down to as little as 1775 kg, depending on model.
This British SUV is a genuine people carrier, with a cargo volume that is a class-leading 650 litres. With the 40/20/40 rear seat backs folded, this increases to 1740 litres. The luggage floor cover is reversible with either carpet or easy-clean rubberised surface. The parcel shelf can be stored under the floor, keeping it neatly out of the way. An electric tailgate is standard.
Jaguar thinks a lot of its Australian arm and brought design chief, Scotsman Ian Callum, downunder to present the F-Pace when it was launched here in September.
“With a clean sheet, it was a chance in a lifetime to come up with really new”, said Callum. “The F-Pace is based on the C-X17 concept car and adds the space and practicality that SUV owners demand.”
It’s a handsome vehicle, calling on the success of previous Jaguars, even the new F-Type sports models, for its looks. It even harks back to the iconic E-Type Jaguar with its rear light set-up.
The interior has the latest in contemporary design, but has a touch of the old-fashioned very-Jaguar luxury mixed into the contemporary sports SUV shapes. We like that.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Jaguar F-Pace features a 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine producing peak power of 280 kW and torque of 450 Nm. The all-aluminium engine is shared with the Jaguar F-Type sportscar.
The 90-degree cylinder bank angle has the rootes-type supercharger neatly packaged in the vee. Is has direct fuel injection and variable intake and exhaust valve timing. The supercharger enables the engine to generate a high torque output throughout the rev range, with virtually immediate hard acceleration at all times.
Because of their high power and torque the V6 engines (supercharged petrol and turbo-diesel) are paired with a ZF 8HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission, while the lower powered four-cylinder versions have a lighter, more compact 8HP45.
Mated with all-wheel drive the F-Pace S gets from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.5 seconds, then onto a top speed of 250 km/h where conditions permit. Keep in mind this is a large SUV not a full-on sportscar and the 5.5 time is even more impressive.
The transmission was designed to give quick shifting, especially when overtaking, smooth operation and the ability to adapt to different driving styles.
Infotainment and connectivity technology is very advanced in all late-model Jags. The premium InControl Touch Pro system on our test car is based around a 10.2-inch touchscreen. It uses a powerful quad-core processor and solid-state drive, and runs on ultra-fast Ethernet. The user interface is intuitive, the graphics sharp and nicely responsive.
The navigation system can learn your regular commute route and can even advise others of your arrival time. Navigation can also be shown full-screen in 3D in the 12.3-inch HD virtual instrument cluster.
Jaguar F-Pace safety systems including adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, park assist and surround camera. The adaptive LED headlamps, at night give an outlook almost as good as daylight.
A very clever feature is Jaguar’s Activity Key that is worn like a smart watch. The waterproof band is used to lock and unlock the vehicle with the normal key left, preferably hidden, inside the cabin. The Activity Key locks and unlocks the F-Pace when you touch it on the letter ‘J’ in Jaguar on the tailgate. Love it.
Front sports seats offer good support during hard driving. Three rear seat occupants have good leg and kneeroom though, as is the case with most vehicles, two adults are more comfortable than three across the back.
Controls are close at hand and the driver really does feel in contact with the F-Pace at all times. Slim roof pillars and a large windscreen offer good all-round visibility. The panoramic glass roof allows the entry of natural light.
The power and torque from the big supercharged V6 makes not only for simple overtaking with a minimum of time on the wrong side of the road, but also the sort of thrust that’s guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of all who love driving.
Steering-wheel mounted shift paddles offer a de facto manual mode, though to be honest the computer programming used in the big Jag’s engine and transmission meant it was almost invariably in the transmission ratio I would have chosen myself.
Chassis and suspension engineering provide a good balance in ride and handling. A stiff body structure and lightweight sound damping materials create the quiet cabin surroundings expected by owners of any luxury vehicle.
Okay, it’s hard to avoid the much-loved Jaguar slogan, “Grace, Pace and Space” when summing up the new F-Pace, particularly when the hot supercharged engine is sitting up front – so we won’t … it has the lot.
AT A GLANCE
Prestige 20d: $74,340
R-Sport 20d: $80,044
Prestige 30d: $84,544
R-Sport 30d: $90,304
Portfolio 30d: $91,304
S 30d: $99,894
First Edition S 30d: $117,164
Prestige 35t: $83,745
R-Sport 35t: $88,505
Portfolio 35t: $90,515
S 35t: $103,135
First Edition S 35t: $120,415
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Jaguar dealer for driveaway prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Jaguar F-Pace S 3.0-litre supercharged petrol five-door wagon)
Capacity: 2.995 litres
Maximum Power: 280 kW @ 6500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 450 Nm @ 4500 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 98ROM
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.9 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 209 g/km
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4731 mm
Wheelbase: 2874 mm
Width: 1936 mm
Height: 1667 mm
Turning Circle: Not supplied
Kerb Mass: from 1861 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 63 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Three years / 100,000 km