We live in fast changing times and many traditions have fallen by the wayside in the name of progress. Nothing is really sacred anymore, and with every passing day of this 21st century we see more breakthroughs as more barriers get broken.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the automotive industry. Once upon a time, you knew exactly what you were getting when you choose a luxury marque like Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Jaguar. Their model line-ups consisted purely of well-appointed, finely-crafted luxury saloons, occasionally complemented by highly-engineered sports cars to capture the imagination. It’s just the way things were, the natural order of things.
These days however, you can get a Mercedes-Benz or BMW in almost every shape and form imaginable. But while Jaguar hasn’t quite reached that stage of expansion yet, they too simply couldn’t stave off the inevitable; and it was only a matter of time before they broke out of their comfort zone.
The F-Pace marks the first time ever that Jaguar has produced a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), a bold move, but a necessary one to remain relevant in these modern times. The challenge however, is whether this groundbreaking Jaguar can still retain the quintessential British charm and qualities that make a true Jaguar.
Given Jaguar’s close links with Land Rover, it wouldn’t be surprising if the F-Pace took in some of its sister company’s DNA and ends up being a truly capable off-roader in its own right. That much is a given, but a Jaguar has to be so much more than just sheer driving ability. It also has to ooze class, and offer subtle performance, cloaked in a velvet glove of luxury.
And it does. The top-of-the-line 3.0 V6 Supercharged S version blitzes from 0-100km/h in a mere 5.8 seconds, a hugely impressive feat for an SUV that weighs over 1.8 tonnes. With 380 throbbing horses and 450Nm of torque awaiting under the bonnet, the F-Pace offers exhila-rating performance that few can rival. Just a mere tickle of the right pedal and the F-Pace whooshes away at a velocity that can match more than a few sports cars, and then some.
At the same time, there’s very little that gives away the car’s performance potential. Its pow-erful, agile looks and sporting character give the F-Pace a unique road presence, emphasised by the assertive and imposing front end design, sharp crease lines along the flanks, and pro-nounced rear haunches that announces in no uncertain terms that the F-Pace means busi-ness, but does so in a subtle way that doesn’t shout its way through.
It sounds the part too, with the raspy exhaust giving the F-Pace a distinctive character that is not quite as ostentatious as the F-Type, but yet at the same time offers enough aural presence to let you know that it packs some serious heat underneath. It adds another emotional dimension to what is already an experience to behold.
While the F-Pace certainly proves to have the driving performance that one would expect from Jaguar, it also embraces the new world with its technological advances. One particularly novel piece of forward thinking is the Activity Key, a feature designed with the lifestyles of the modern SUV user in mind.
The Activity Key solves the issue of not being able to carry your car keys with you at all times, issues which arises during the partaking of activities such as swimming or cycling. The Activity Key is worn as a wristband, is completely waterproof, and is able to unlock the car simply by scanning it against the boot lid. The car key fob meanwhile can remain in the car, and will be deactivated when the Activity Key is in use, until the car is unlocked.
In many ways, the F-Pace manages to tick off the requisite boxes that makes it a true Jaguar. It boasts no shortage of pace, expressed in gentle but uncompromising grace, and at the same time now offers plenty of space. The F-Pace may not seem like a Jaguar in the traditional sense, but under the skin there’s no simply no hiding for this cat within.
Jaguar F-Pace 3.0 V6 Supercharged S
Engine: 2,995cc, V6, supercharged
Torque: 450Nm @ 4,500rpm
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic
Top Speed: 250km/h
0-100km/h: 5.8 seconds
Fuel Efficiency: 8.9L/100km