► Ben Miller visits Jaguar
► Jaguar's crossover venture
► They explain the F-Pace
A Jaguar to drive
‘You’ll recognise the XF in the way the F-Pace drives – you won’t need a DNA test to know it’s a Jaguar,’ says design director Ian Callum. ‘It’s great to drive and the ride quality is good even on the 22-inch forged wheels, helped by the relatively generous sidewalls of the 265/40 R22 tyres.’
‘The F-Pace’s wheelbase [2874mm] and track dimensions are unique, and that’s down to the difference between a platform and an architecture. Ours is a chassis architecture, conceived with F-Pace in mind, so there’s no compromise,’ explains Kevin Stride. ‘Front suspension is double wishbone and the rear is integral multi-link, a development of XF’s multi-link.’
Space – Jaguar’s new frontier
‘This car was a challenge,’ admits Callum. ‘In some ways an SUV goes against Jaguar’s natural state of long, low and sleek. It came together when we referenced some F-type design cues, and when we focused on designing a Jaguar SUV, and not trying to push an SUV into a traditional Jaguar shape.
‘In size it sits between Audi’s Q5 and Q7. It doesn’t feel as big as Q7 to drive. That was important because for many this will be an urban car. Inside there’s a remarkable amount of space – room for five and a 650-litre boot. We discussed a seven-seater but discounted it quickly. Visually they tend to be heavy at the tail end, and you’d have to grow the wheelbase; not very Jaguar.’
Lord and master
‘There’s a real sense of light and space to the interior, with great visibility,’ says Callum. ‘We’ve retained the chicane element to the doors from C-X17 concept, with strong door-pulls, and there are lots of clever, integrated storage compartments. Touches, like the parcel shelf you can fold and stow beneath the boot floor, matter on a car like this.’
Standard infotainment system is InControl Touch, with its 8-inch touchscreen, with InControl Touch Pro and its 10.2-inch screen an option. Multi-function 12.3-inch TFT virtual instruments can replace the standard twin analogue dial set-up.
Power or parsimony
With first deliveries in April, the F-Pace range will be offered in four trims; Prestige (from £34,170), R-Sport (from £36,670), Portfolio (from £39,170) and range-topping S (from £51,450). The engine line-up consists of an Ingenium 2.0-litre diesel (178bhp), a 3.0-litre V6 diesel (296bhp) and a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 (375bhp, 0-62mph in 5.5sec). The V6s drive all four wheels via an eight-speed ZF auto transmission. The 2.0-litre diesel can be had in AWD form, manual or auto, or as a rear-wheel-drive manual with 129g/km of CO2 and 57.7mpg.
The miracle of the pretty SUV
‘The front end is pure Jaguar,’ continues Callum. ‘That in itself is interesting – we didn’t have a distinctive face five years ago. Now it’s established. The rear lights are essentially F-type, while the fuselage itself is relatively clean, broken up only by the swage line running back from the air vent and a strong light-catching element below it. The short overhangs and sweeping glasshouse are key, as is the roof spoiler, which helps give the shape a sense of speed, and the curvature of the rear haunch, which is an F-type cue. I’m proud of the surfacing at the haunches. We pushed manufacturing hard here. Each side is a single sheet of aluminium – the biggest we now produce – and there’s a lot going on at the back of the car. Fortunately we now know the material better than most.’