Story by Jonathan Lim
Amongst the premium car manufacturers, Jaguar was one of the last to join the SUV fray, first in the mid-size, and now in the compact class too. Still, better late than never, and Jaguar has arrived in some style.
As its name suggests, the E-Pace is the smaller brother to the handsome F-Pace, pitched to do battle against rivals like the BMW X1 and new X2, Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40. Unlike many other brands, the ‘E’ in its name does not refer to electric power; in Singapore, the E-Pace is petrol-powered only.
The E-Pace will be available in three versions: S, First Edition, and SE R-Dynamic, priced at $193,999, $225,999 and $232,999, all with Certificate of Entitlement.
Depending on trim, the E-Pace is powered by one of two variants of the same 2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium engine: the S and First Edition get the P250 spec engine with 249hp and 365Nm, while the R-Dynamic gets the P300 spec with 300hp and 400Nm. All come with all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and 0-100km/h acceleration figures are 7.0 and 6.4 seconds respectively.
Standard equipment across all trim levels include: lane departure warning with lane keep assist, cruise control, 360-degree parking sensors, automated park assist, LED headlights, hands-free tailgate, and a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation.
Step up to SE R-Dynamic, and you get a more aggressive bodykit, 19-inch wheels and sports seats in addition to blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, 14-way powered front seats and 11-speaker Meridian sound system. If you splash out for the First Edition (available for the first year of sales only), you also get a heads-up display, a panoramic roof, a waterproof Activity Key wristband (so you can lock your main key inside during outdoor activities), and 20-inch wheels.
As the smallest vehicle in the range, Jaguar makes some bold claims about the E-Pace, packing the design and performance of a sports car. We won’t know about the latter till we’ve driven it, but on the design front those claims are warranted. A number of design cues have made their way over from the F-Type sports car, including the “teardrop” shape of the side windows, the tapering of the roofline towards the rear and the shape and positioning of the headlights.
For most of the company’s history, Jaguar has been known as a purveyor of fine-handling cars, and despite having a high ride height, the E-Pace should continue that tradition, having spent some development time at the Nurburgring and at the high-speed Nardo test track in Italy.
It also features a system called Active Driveline AWD, which is able to actively distribute torque between the axles, with two clutches in the rear axle allowing up to 100 percent of torque to be apportioned to either wheel. During cornering, the software analyses yaw rate, throttle position, steering angle and lateral acceleration, and will pre-emptively distribute torque to the outside wheels for a more neutral handling balance. On low friction surfaces, Active Driveline even allows for power-on oversteer and controlled drifts.
The E-Pace is a handsome-looking proposition, and on paper at least seems to have its competitors licked on speed, but in price-sensitive Singapore, is hampered by the lack of a low-cost, low-powered engine option. Only time will tell if its combination of style and performance will be able to overcome this disadvantage.