Jaguar, for the first time, has built a performance crossover SUV. Using the influence of its other-half, Land Rover, the Jaguar F-Pace was created to deliver all-road driving as well as future-tech and comfort.
To make an impact Jaguar revealed the F-Pace breaking a Guinness World Record by performing a loop-the-loop on a 19.1m high construct at Niederrad Racecourse, ahead of its more casual Frankfurt Auto Show showing. There's a tenuous link there: the F-Pace has an Activity Key, also a world first, which is a rubber band worn on the wrist to double-up as a key.
But is the F-Pace a good thing for Jaguar? From a manufacturing perspective it's a logical move, as the company needs an SUV to compete with the likes of the BMW X3 or Porsche Macan (notably Porsche's best selling model).
Jaguar clearly knows how to make an entrance, but what else does the F-Pace offer and does that make it appealing?
Design and build
Jaguar is well known for creating good-looking, well-made machines, and it certainly hasn't deviated from that position with the F-Pace. The lights have a hint of the F-Type in there, while the side lines rise up to the compact rear reminding us of the Range Rover Evoque. But the F-Pace still manages to look original, a different beast to its German-made competitors.
Despite not looking American-car-big on the outside this compact SUV manages to offer plenty of room inside for comfort, plus a glass panoramic roof adds to the feeling of space. The car offers 65mm knee space and 944mm leg room in the rear seats, plus the widest rear space in its class, claims Jaguar. The result, having sat in it (and we're six feet tall), is a comfy and spacious car that should offer a great ride - not that we've been able to take it off the Frankfurt show's stand and get it on the road just yet.
The F-Pace has plenty of controls for all passengers too: a four-zone climate system, four 12V sockets and four USB ports, plus electric recline rear seats ensure even the backseats aren't a demotion. That said the front seats are 14-way adjustable so maybe calling shotgun is still a win.
There's a hefty luggage capacity of 650-litres, making it identical to the large BMW X5. But the space can grow even more: it's possible to clear out up to 1,825mm floor length with the seats folded down, meaning a total 1,740-litre capacity.
Power and drive
Jaguar has constructed the frame of the F-Pace out of 80 per cent aluminium, making it the only aluminium monocoque in the segment. This technique costs more but results in a lighter, stiffer and more efficient frame. Not that it's super-light: starting at 1,665kg in its two-wheel drive format and increasing to 1,790kg in its all-wheel drive format. The Jaguar does, however, manage to come in lighter on the scales than equivalent BMW X5 setups.
Under the hood are engine options ranging from a 2.0-litre diesel manual with 180PS, through to a supercharged V6 petrol automatic at 380PS that delivers 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds. Weight has been a real focus with the difference between automatic and manual options now just 8kg different.
Steering should be responsive thanks to a double wishbone Integral Link suspension, torque vectoring and electric-power assisted steering. This steering system, Jaguar says, actually reduces fuel consumption by three per cent.
Jaguar has crammed tonnes of smart systems into the F-Pace, the goal being to make driving in any situation easy while offering the best performance. Get your acronym hats on, as there are plenty to wrap your brain around.
Jaguar drive control is the second evolution of the system, delivering three levels of adaptive terrain response. Low mode for ice, medium for snow or wet, and high drag for sand or very deep snow. There's an Adaptive Surface Response (ASR) button in the car that will switch between modes to deliver optimum traction.
The all-wheel drive system, developed for the F-Type, uses Intelligent Driveline Dynamics which should favour the rear wheels slightly to give best performance while maintaining traction.
All-Surface Progress Control (ASPC) is like a low-speed cruise control. This rates each wheel and delivers relevant torque for smooth progress on all gradients and surfaces. Ideal for off-road performance without slips when combined with Low Friction Launch (LFL) which gives a softer throttle response for a smooth pull-away regardless of road conditions.
The F-Pace features 12 active safety systems with input from a front-facing stereo camera. That means reverse traffic detection, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, intelligent speed limited, sign recognition and more are available. The camera system, called AEB, can also spot pedestrians and either alert the driver or even stop the car when not travelling too fast.
Infotainment and beyond
The F-Pace offers the most advanced in-car tech offered by Jaguar. Partnerships with Intel to provide quad-core processing and HERE for maps make the InControl system, Jag says, as computationally powerful as some commercial planes.
A 12.3-inch TFT cluster display is situated behind the wheel, similar to the Audi TT's virtual cockpit. This offers four configurable themes for the display, including putting the satnav map in front of the driver. The navigation system can show a 360-degree view of a location so you can check what to look for, plus it will allow the driver to send an ETA directly from the car.
A heads-up display is projected onto the windscreen, offering bright and colourful images of those all-important details such as current speed limit signs.
With advancing technology the F-Pace ensures everything moves at, um, pace. There's a 100GB SSD on board to store video, maps and music; while a 1Gb/s Ethernet bus means data can be pushed about the car quickly.
The entire car offers a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices to connect at once. But this isn't just to download data, these connections can plug into the car too via the InControl app (for smartphones and the Apple Watch). Use the app to check fuel status, location, as well as locking/unlocking or even starting the car to pre-heat or cool it early. The companion app can be used by others to show where they are, so the driver can find them for easy pickup.
Just Drive offers a voice-controlled in-car user experience for things like social media and music, including Twitter and Spotify. The system was introduced in 2014, but at the moment there are only 20 apps developed for the system.
If you're not into voice control then InControl Touch Pro, a touchscreen variant of the system with a 10.2-inch screen hub, supports Wi-Fi, HDMI video and USB 3.0 capable for four video streams at once. Pinch, zoom and slide controls makes interaction simple and intuitive - much like using a tablet. Multi-tasking is possible with a virtual side screen option for checking news, weather and the like, while the main screen still shows music playing or navigation.
The Meridian sound system on board is an 825W, 17-speaker surround offering. It's possible to control this via the app, meaning even those sat in the back can plug into Spotify. Or plug in a phone or tablet to access stored video files on the main screen at the front.
F-Pace Activity Key
Here's something you won't have seen before: a key wrist band. Simply tap the RFID band against the Jaguar symbol on the car to lock and unlock.
The idea of the Activity Key is to offer a key that can be worn even when playing sports, without fear of loss or damage. As it's made from rubber it can withstand submersion in up to 20 metres of water.
That way you can leave normal keys locked away and use the band to gain access. But should you leave the main key inside the F-Pace it becomes deactivated, making the Activity Key the active key. You can have more than one Activity Key so multiple users can wear one too.
Jaguar has entered the SUV crossover sector with a big hit. The F-Pace offers everything the competition does and often more thanks to its tech-heavy approach.
The car offers plenty of room and comfort for driver and passengers alike, including smart driving aids to add to the on-the-road experience. Although with the F-Pace fixed to its stand at the Frankfurt show we'll have to wait to get behind the wheel for a proper road test.
Then there's the design: the F-Pace looks good on this larger scale. Sure, some people may still opt for the Range Rover Evoque, while the German makers offer compelling alternatives, but it's the Jaguar that offers serious originality.
Prices start at £34,170 making the Jaguar F-Pace a very tempting prospect indeed.
Oh, and it did this: