Once upon a time Jaguar lagged behind other luxury automobile manufacturers by not offering a sports utility vehicle. The likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi and Lexus all boasted a prestige SUV. Even fellow Brit, Bentley recently got into the SUV scene, albeit at a hefty price.
Now the advent of the Jaguar F-Pace has put the British marque into the thick of one of the most crowded markets in the industry.
Jaguar thinks enough about Australia to have allowed its design chief Ian Callum to travel Down Under to go through the finer points of the 2017 F-Pace with the media. The peripatetic automotive guru landed mid-week and returned to the UK in time for the Monday morning management meeting at HQ.
Of his flying visit, Callum noted it was possible his boss would not have even noticed he had been away from his desk. We salute you, Ian. Your F-Pace earns a big tick of approval too.
With range of ten variants coming to market from $74,340 for a four-cylinder turbo-diesel model, a V6 turbocharged diesel for $99,894 and V6 supercharged petrol at $103,135, with a thick catalogue of options, there is something for everybody.
All take advantage of an eight-speed automatic transmission, which adapts power delivery and gearshifts to suit driving conditions via the vehicles’ all-wheel drive system.
It’s a handsome vehicle, calling on the success of previous Jaguars, even the F-Type sportscar, for its good looks. It also harks back to the iconic E-Type sports car with its rear light set-up.
Based on the C-X17 concept car, according to Callum, it takes Jaguar’s legendary performance character and adds space and practicality. With a clean sheet, it was a chance in a lifetime to come up with something unique, says Callum.
“I encouraged designers and engineers to work together to take liberties with the traditional SUV appearance,” he says. “The result is a well-proportioned vehicle with short front overhangs, familiar bonnet bulge and exaggerated lines in profile. The rear has a great look too with its haunched aspect and LED F-Type tail-lights, while up to 22-inch wheels add to the F-Pace’s prodigious road presence.
“In keeping with present automotive trends, cutting-edge connectivity is vital and much attention has been paid to state-of-the-art electronics and entertainment systems,” Callum adds.
However, there’s more than meets the eye to Jaguar F-Pace architecture. It’s no secret that Jaguar has been a champion of aluminium car construction for more than a decade and it is this that provides the foundation for the F-Pace in its flanks, bonnet and front guards.
The result is a stiff, strong and lightweight architect offering outstanding protection for occupants and, with near perfect 50:50 weight distribution, optimum handling and braking.
Jaguar says that combined urban / highway fuel consumption can be as low as 5.3 litres per hundred kilometres with the 2.0-litre diesel engine.
And so to powerplants. Taking it from the top, the F-Pace halo model features a 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine producing peak power of 280 kW and torque of 450 Nm.
With its eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, that’s enough to fire the car to 100 km/h from rest in 5.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 250 km/h – that’s sports car territory. The 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo diesel is not far behind with a 6.2-second sprint time.
The transmission was designed to give quick shifting, especially when overtaking, smooth operation and the ability to adapt to different driving styles. JaguarDrive comes up with even quicker gear shifts and sporty kickdown in Dynamic mode, earlier upshifts in Eco Mode to better efficiency, the Rain Ice Snow Mode optimises vehicle behaviour in low-grip conditions.
Steering wheel-mounted shift paddles offer a de facto manual mode.
Chassis and suspension engineering provide a good balance in ride and handling. A stiff body structure and lightweight sound damping materials create quiet cabin surroundings expected of a luxury vehicle. The F-Pace finds its roots in the refined end of the off-road spectrum rather than in the agricultural ‘paddock’.
The interior has the latest in contemporary design. Controls are close at hand, a high centre console and Sports Command driving position giving the driver a sense of security and total control.
Slim roof pillars and an extensive windscreen offer excellent all-round visibility, while adding the optional panoramic glass roof opens up the passenger cabin to a flood of natural light.
Front sports seats offer ample support during spirited driving, while three rear seat occupants enjoy 945 mm leg and 65 mm of knee room, while cargo space is a class-leading 650 litres. With the 40:20:40 rear seat backs folded, this is increased to 1740 litres.
The parcel shelf, often in an awkward spot, can be stored under the luggage area floor, which is reversible with either carpet or easy-clean rubberised surface in operation. An electric tailgate is standard, while a gesture version is an option.
As for a technological tour de force, the Land Rover Jaguar lab coats really rolled up their sleeve by offering a taste of semi-autonomous motoring with All Surface Progress Control, a feet-off system that allows the driver to concentrate on steering while a low-speed cruise control helps the F-Pace to cope with low traction conditions.
Standard on all engines with automatic transmission, the driver sets cruise control to between 3.6 km/h and 30 km/h, the vehicle sticks to that speed while delivering optimum traction control, spectacularly offering driving confidence on loose, slippery surfaces, on undulating terrain, or when moving off from rest on inclines, up or down.
The days of burying the car keys on the beach while surfing or hiding them while taking part in some other extreme sport are a thing of the past with Jaguar’s Activity Key on a wristband that can be worn like a watch. The waterproof band can be used to lock and unlock the vehicle with the traditional key fob left inside. Operating off the battery inside the fob, the Activity Key transponder can lock the vehicle by the band touching the letter ‘J’ in Jaguar on the tailgate. The key fob is deactivated for security. On returning, the F-Pace can be unlocked by placing the Activity Key once more close to the ‘J’. Simple.
Driving assistance is obtained through F-Pace’s suite of active safety systems including adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, park assist and surround camera.
Contact is maintained with the outside world via two infotainment systems, the standard inControl Touch or upgraded inControl Touch Pro operating through an 8.0-inch or 10.2-inch dashboard-mounted touchscreens.
The adaptive LED headlamps, at night reproducing light the intensity of a bright summer’s day.
A taste of the F-Pace was served up to the media on an extensive drive through the NSW northern rivers and Gold Coast hinterland. All models on show delivered performance, and ride handling in harmony with their specification and price.
The supercharged petrol version driven offered up immediate access to high levels of power and torque, handy on accelerating and overtaking, accompanied by a fitting background sound.
Jaguar F-Pace comes in four models – luxury versions Prestige and Portfolio, and sports variants R-Sport and S – rolling on 19, 20 or 22-inch alloy wheels. Orders are being taken.
To celebrate the birth of the F-Pace, Jaguar has come up with the First Edition model limited to 2000 vehicles. Available with the 3.0-litre V6 221 kW twin turbo diesel ($117,164) or 3-litre 280 kW supercharged petrol engine ($120,415) the vehicle features two unique colours, 22-inch Double Helix alloy wheels, unique Windsor leather sports seats, gloss black trim and unique carpet mats.
AT A GLANCE
Prestige 20d i4 Turbocharged Diesel AWD 132kW 8Sp Automatic $74,340
Prestige 30d V6 Turbocharged Diesel AWD 221kW 8Sp Automatic $84,544
Prestige 35t V6 Supercharged Petrol AWD 250kW 8Sp Automatic $83,745
R-Sport 20d i4 Turbocharged Diesel AWD 132kW 8Sp Automatic $80,044
R-Sport 30d V6 Turbocharged Diesel AWD 221kW 8Sp Automatic $90,304
R-Sport 35t V6 Supercharged Petrol AWD 250kW 8Sp Automatic $88,505
Portfolio 30d V6 Turbocharged Diesel AWD 221kW 8Sp Automatic $91,304
Portfolio 35t V6 Supercharged Petrol AWD 250kW 8Sp Automatic $90,515
S 30d V6 Turbocharged Diesel AWD 221kW 8Sp Automatic $99,894
S 35t V6 Supercharged Petrol AWD 280kW 8Sp Automatic $103,135
First Edition S 30d V6 Turbocharged Diesel AWD 221kW 8Sp Automatic $117,164
First Edition S 35t V6 Supercharged Petrol AWD 280kW 8Sp Automatic $120,415
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Jaguar dealer for drive-away prices.