When a maker of thoroughbred, feline performance automobiles builds an AWD fully fledged SUV, you can expect the result to turn heads.
Indeed, it did. The F-Pace is not only stunning on the displays of motor shows and at international presentations, but also on the road. We put the F-Pace through its paces (literally) in the 3 liter V6 Turbodiesel version, coupled to the 8 speed automatic transmission. It lived up to anything we expected from it, just read further…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The F-PACE was inspired by the acclaimed C-X17 concept car, and combines high performance and handling with the practicality of a SUV. The styling of the car strikes a beautiful balance between the typical Jaguar styling elements like the front grille and the iconic rear lights and the aerodynamic, well rounded shape of a full grown SUV. Indeed, the F-PACE looks truly a genuine “Jag” from any angle, and is timelessly proportioned.
Our test car came in “ultimate black”, and as you can judge from the photos, this suits the car very well. Also at night, the F-PACE is clearly recognizable as a Jaguar with its typical rear LED lights we also find on the F-type. But also in daytime the “J-blade” shaped LED daylight running lights underline the family resemblance.
In the cabin one finds the modern day Jaguar atmosphere, with opulent leather, quality textures and materials. The classic round dials for engine revs and speed are now displayed electronically in a large 13,4 inch screen, but even when virtual, they still represent faithfully the classic Jaguar lettering down to the scale division on the dials.
I can tell, as I am the proud owner, as faithful readers know, of a classic MkII Jag.
Modern times are of course omnipresent with a centrally placed “InControl Touch Pro” 10,2 inch touchscreen, which keeps you entertained and fully informed about traffic conditions on your chosen route, and of course, tells you where to go to arrive at destination. In this respect, we truly appreciated the head-up display. It indicates the driven speed, the set cruise control speed, the distance monitor and lane assistant, the speed limits and last but not least displays which way to turn, all clearly in front of you.
Talking about the interior, you can of course choose also your very personal atmosphere with soft led illumination light in not less than ten colors…
All the handles and controls are intuitive to use, and are ideally at hand. Indeed, one doesn’t need a hefty handbook to feel at home in this Jaguar and get acquainted with all its functions. We like also very much the circular selector knob to command the gearbox, a solution which would merit more followers indeed.
Seats are excellent, and a pleasant (high) seating position is soon found, guaranteeing undisturbed visibility all around. In the Portfolio version we drove, the seats were executed in perforated Windsor leather, and were 10-fold electrically adjustable.
Driving is part of the Jaguar magic…
The velvet sound of a big six is all what is Jaguar driving is all about, we find.
We revel at the sound of our classic 3,4 liter straight six, and we were delighted to find the same timbre back when we pushed the start button of this 3 liter V6 . It completely belies it’s a Diesel, judging from its smoothness and velvety character. The power stream this engine puts forward is impressive to say the least, and is smoothly transmitted to the four wheels by the state of the art 8-speed auto box.
Grace and pace, adjectives used in the fifties Jaguar sales brochures, are not empty words when describing the progress of this new Jag. Tradition has its place, and one can only be glad about this. Acceleration is grand with a 0 to 100 km/h time of 6,2 seconds and a top speed of 241 km/h, which is indeed putting this Jaguar properly in the fast car league.
300 HP see to this, with of course a hefty torque of 700 Nm to match. This engine has the double, parallel-sequential pressure feed, a concept pioneered by Land Rover. Engine efficiency and cold starting is improved by a water pump which can be totally disengaged and a dual stage oil pump. This engine is pleasantly responsive, but is also a delight to use at low revs and small throttle openings, spoiling the ears of driver and passengers with a nice, deep, subdued growl.
With all this power, this Jag is therefore a fast, long legged cruiser, with wind and road noise also being very well suppressed indeed. But there is more. This F-Pace is also engineered and built to handle on windy roads, and to be driven with spirit.
First of all there is the 4WD, which is engaged or disengaged under the intelligent control of the Intelligent Driving Dynamics software, exclusively developed by Jaguar. Whenever extra traction is needed, IDD directs the exact amount of power to the front wheels, which takes not more than 165 milliseconds. Need we say more? Well, this F-PACE boasts also all surface progress control, standard on every F-PACE whith automatic transmission.
There is also Torque Vectoring, which brakes the inside front and rear wheel in curves, reducing understeer for instance. There is even dynamic stability control, which reduces engine torque and brakes the relevant wheels to counteract both under- and oversteer. Then there is electronically controlled engine braking, which prevents the rear wheels from locking up on slippery surfaces…
One has also option of the configurable dynamic mode, which lets you set the throttle response, the gearchange behavior of the transmission and the steering wheel sensitivity completely to your liking.
This is just a host of features to keep you in complete control, and drive your Jag with verve.
Fortunately, all this pleasure does not cost you a ton at the pump. We recorded an average consumption of around 7 liters and remained often even slightly below that figure, with the manufacturer quoting CO2 emissions of 159 g/km.
Indeed, one has also the choice, at the push of a button, between dynamic, economic and winter driving modes.
The bodywork of the F-Pace is 80 % aluminum, the aerodynamic shape of the body was developed with computational Fluid Dynamics, which boils down to a cx of merely 0,34 . All this helps to keep consumption down of course.
Practical and entertaining for everyday satisfaction…
This Jaguar wants also to be practical, and it certainly succeeds. Rear seat backrests are of course completely foldable. The result is luggage space extendable from 650 to not less than 1740 liters. The rear cover can be tucked away below the luggage floor, which is also quite handy.
One word of praise earns also the formidable Meridian audio system, which boasts 380 watt power, has not less than 11 speakers including a subwoofer and a 12 channel amplifier. Needless to say that we enjoyed Chopin, Mahler and Dowland in this one, not to forget Miles Davis and Bill Evans…
This is indeed a perfectly styled and executed SUV which breathes the thoroughbred character of Jaguar and embodies the timeless panache of the brand. Good proportions are a source of eternal beauty of all things, Isaac Newton said, and we can only agree.
Engine and chassis truly stand out, making this F-PACE powerful and fast, and a joy to drive with spirit.
Last but not least, practicality abounds, making everyday life pleasurable indeed. Needless to say, we regretted to part with this Jaguar…
Hans Knol ten Bensel