Grace, Space and Pace

BY Burnpavement

Can any automobile deliver all three attributes? Jaguar claims it can with the all new F-Pace

Expectations of Jaguar’s first foray into the luxury crossover segment are high, especially in light of their recent progress with the F-Type sports car and XE saloon. The F-Pace will be unveiled at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, promising to combine the brand’s traditional values of a refined ride and superb handling, along with the practicality and ruggedness that buyers in this segment expect.

To ensure the former two are achieved, engineers have endowed the F-Pace with technologies first developed in its sportier brethren. The chassis benefits from Jaguar’s all-aluminium architecture, yielding a strong and light structure. This sets it apart from conventional steel-bodied crossovers and provides a stout platform for the suspension to work with. The aforementioned suspension also offers more sophistication than other crossovers, comprising a double wishbone design up front and an “integral link” multi-link setup in the rear. With a similar setup, the XE saloon was lauded for class-leading ride and handling, so it should not be a surprise if the F-Pace follows suit.

Handling is enhanced by newly-developed EPS (Electric Power Steering) and an All-Wheel-Drive system capable of torque vectoring. One can be cynical about the typical vagueness of typical EPS systems, but Jaguar assures that lessons learnt from the F-Type sports car offer up a system that feels both responsive and connected. This, combined with an All-Wheel-Drive system that can apportion power to where it’s needed should make the F-Pace confidence-inspiring and nimble.

However all this will be for naught if the F-Pace fares poorly as a crossover. To that end, Jaguar engineers have put the vehicle through one of their most demanding test cycles, enduring temperatures ranging from -40 degrees Celsius in Sweden to a searing +50 degrees Celsius in Dubai. This is a litmus test of reliability, ensuring all systems from engine cooling, climate control and electronics function as intended, regardless of conditions. For the first time for a Jaguar, off-road competence is also tested, with the F-Pace being subjected to graveled mountain passes, inclines and split-fraction straights. Along with stability control, all-wheel-drive and all-new “surface progress control” being calibrated on purpose-built handling tracks, the F-Pace will bring owners peace of mind should they encounter less-than-ideal roads. To round off the crossover package, Jaguar also promises class leading interior space.

If Jaguar can deliver what they promise, the F-Pace will be one to watch, not just because it’s unchartered territory for Jaguar, but also because of its breadth of ability. Being a vehicle that can comfortably ferry the family from place to place, offer up peace of mind in inclement conditions and deliver a rewarding driving dynamic will no doubt appeal to many a luxury crossover buyer.