Jaguar F-Pace in Frankfurt (Photograph: Ben Samuelson)
The wraps have finally come off the Jaguar F-Pace at Frankfurt after months of pre-launch build-up – and the Audi Q5/BMW X3 rival looks set to make quite a splash if its good looks and warm media reaction to its kissing cousin, the XE, are anything to go by.
The F-Pace is the latest new model from the Jaguar stable in a busy year, following the launches of the XE and XF. Designed, engineered and manufactured in Britain, these new models are the result of a £1.5bn investment that has accelerated Jaguar Land Rover’s world leadership in lightweight technology.
It’s built alongside the Jaguar XE at Solihull, which is more closely associated with Land Rover. An investment of £120m has seen the factory has been expanded in order to make room for the vital new model. However, the question is whether Jaguar’s latest off-roader will step on the toes of its sisters, the Evoque and the Discovery Sport – although this more road-focused offering is likely to attract new buyers to Jaguar, rather than Land Rover fans. Well, that’s the plan, anyway.
More relevantly, does the F-Pace’s arrival take the pressure off Jaguar Land Rover to launch the XE Sportbrake at the earliest opportunity? It’s undoubtedly going to be Jaguar’s biggest-selling car globally, as the growth of the SUV market has been unparalleled in recent years – especially in growing markets, such as China and India.
It’s close in size to the BMW X3 at 4731mm in length, and the entry-level 178bhp version comes with a six-speed manual gearbox driving the rear wheels. The F-Pace will be available from £34,170, and follows the Jaguar XE, Range Rover Evoque, Discovery Sport and Jaguar XF in adopting the award-winning Ingenium engine. Manufactured at the company’s £500m Engine Manufacturing Centre, near Wolverhampton, which celebrates its first anniversary next month, the four-cylinder diesel engine in the F-Pace achieves 57.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 129g/km.
This would make the F-Pace the most economical car in its class – and usefully quick with a 0-60mph time of 8.5sec and a 130mph top speed. It will be interesting to see how many buyers pay extra to have the F-Pace with four-wheel drive. From launch, Jaguar will offer one petrol and two diesel engines, rear and all-wheel drive and five trim levels, and will largely mirror the XE, albeit at a higher price point.
Speaking at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Jaguar Land Rover’s CEO, Dr. Ralf Speth, said: ‘We are pushing the boundaries in design, engineering and manufacturing to deliver outstanding cars. Our investment in the development of the F-Pace; its industry leading architecture and the UK plants which support its manufacture provides a clear signal that Jaguar Land Rover is committed to Britain and advancing the skills and capability of the industry.’
The Jaguar F-Pace will go on sale worldwide in early 2016.