Nine things you should know about the Jaguar F-Pace
By: Jack Rix
Published by: BBC’s Top Gear
Jag’s SUV is here. It’s very good. Here are nine things you need to know.
1. Shoddy Jag infotainment is a thing of the past.
“If you own a Jaguar, […] you’ll have noticed that it’s blighted by an unresponsive touchscreen and Fisher Price graphics. But no longer do you have to suffer such atrocities – the F-Pace has a new-generation infotainment system called InControl Touch. Actually the top-spec InControl Touch Pro is the one to go for with its 10.2-inch widescreen, erm, screen that features crystal clear graphics and does without buttons altogether.
The instrument cluster is now a 12.3-inch digital screen, too, that can be configured in a variety of different themes. Our favourite is full-width sat-nav mode that put the maps right there in front of your knuckles. And the wizardry doesn’t stop there – the car can share your destination, current location and ETA with others via e-mail or text – so your other half will know where you are at all times. On second thoughts, that’s a terrible idea.
2. It’s rear-wheel drive (most of the time).
This is a Jaguar, not a Land Rover, which is why the focus is very much on on-road handling, not ploughing through mud. Still, on all but the entry-level 20d model that features full-time rear-wheel drive, the F-Pace comes with a part-time all-wheel drive system. In normal situations power is sent to the rear axle, but when it senses slip up to 50 per cent of that can be shuffled to the front. It means it can handle a muddy lane, just about, but the main purpose is extra grip on the road when the weather turns grim.
3. It’s the perfect car for professional windsurfers.
What do you mean professional windsurfers are a niche market? The F-Pace proudly introduces the Activity Key – a waterproof, shockproof wristband with “an integrated transponder” that allows the keyfob to be locked in the car on the one day a year you head off to do wet, outdoorsy things. We say, forget all that marketing mumbo-jumbo – if you’re the type of person who regularly locks the keys in the car when you’ve got armfuls of shopping and babies, this is a must.
4. It’s big enough for adults and their things.
It’s not a small car, the F-Pace. In fact it resides in an unusual space somewhere between the Porsche Macan and Cayenne, the BMW X5 and X3 and Audi Q5 and Q7 – in other words it’s big enough for real life. So, three adults in the back should be easy, and the 650-litre boot with the rear seats (up or 1740-litres with them forward) is plenty to swallow all their bags, too.
5. It’s wider than a Lamborghini.
No really, it is. The Huracan to be precise, and it’s girthier than the Merc GLS too – that’s the big one formerly known as the GL. Put that into actual numbers and at 4731mm long it sits somewhere between the XE and XF saloons, as does its 2874mm wheelbase, but at 1936mm and 1652mm respectively it’s significantly wider and taller than both. Whichever way you measure it, it’s bigger than the Porsche Macan, but thanks to an 80 per cent aluminium structure the 3.0 supercharged V6 model we drove weighs 1861kg – 80kg less than the equivalent Macan.
6. Electronics are your friend.
It’s an unavoidable truth that modern cars are laden with electronic nannies – that’s especially true for family-friendly SUVs. Not all the F-Pace’s electronics are intent in sapping the fun and keeping you out of the barriers, though, like the torque vectoring system that tweaks the inside rear brakes to help sharpen up initial turn in. There there’s the variable ratio-electromechanical steering that increases its ratio the more lock you apply, the two-stage adaptive dampers and a Dynamic button that brings sharper throttle response, more weight to the steering, firmer two-stage dampers and more aggressive mapping for the eight-speed auto. Make sure you press it.
7. It has F-TYPE power.
Yep, you can have your big friendly SUV with a 375bhp 3.0 supercharged V6 pinched from the F-Type (and the rest of the range to be fair) that propels it from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds. Let’s be honest though, most sane customers will plump for a diesel, in which case there’s a choice of two: the 296bhp torquey 3.0-litre V6 will show the F-Pace in its best light, although the 178bhp four-cylinder diesel, emitting just 129g/km of CO2 in its manual, rear-wheel drive guise, will appeal to the majority.
8. You wouldn’t kick it out of bed.
SUVs don’t tend to be pretty. Purposeful, occasionally, but rarely pretty. The F-Pace is different because it bodywork flows beautifully, its proportions are spot on and it really will turn heads. Ian Callum is on a roll with the F-Type, XE and XF, but this is perhaps his greatest achievement – making a car from a genre associated with bluff workhorses a thing of real elegance.
9. It rolls on 22s.
And Callum will be delighted with the choice of wheels. All designers sketch their cars with enormous rims to bring out the sporty proportions and this time they’ve made it past the board. You can order an F-Pace with alloys ranging from 18 to 22 inches in size. We wouldn’t recommend off-roading on the latter, but the good news is that with so much more suspension travel to play with the ride isn’t half as crashy as those 22s look.”
Original publication date: April 10, 2016
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