Driven: Jaguar F-Pace
It’s time to believe the hype around Jaguar's new SUV.Steve Chalmers October 12, 2016
In our fast-moving and fickle world where a product can be lost in the social ether within minutes, successfully launching a new car is a Herculean task.
There have been numerous new models – predominantly from German manufacturers – that have hit showrooms with the pomp and ceremony of a small soufflé imploding. Not so, the launch of the Jaguar F-Pace.
Ever since the first ‘spy shots’ of Jaguar’s SUV appeared last year, the F-Pace has generated that four-letter word that every car maker strives for: buzz.
Despite being camouflaged in black and white swirls to hide the body lines, pre-production models went down a storm with motor enthusiasts and press alike, as images of the premium SUV flooded social media.
Jaguar kept the buzz going when it released the production F-Type ‘First Edition’ images, with its Caesium Blue exterior and 22-inch gunmetal grey alloy wheels.
All of which leads us to Jaguar’s Garhoud showroom, where EDGAR sits, quietly disappointed, that our test car for the weekend will be a black, F-Pace Prestige.
It says a lot about the F-Pace’s hype when you get in a teenage strop over the press-car being the ‘wrong colour’, but a gorgeous, Ian Callum-designed body means nothing if the F-Pace doesn’t live up to its high performance expectations.
- Engine: 3.0 litre V6 Supercharged
- Power: 340bhp @ 6500rpm
- Torque: 450lb.ft @ 4500
- Transmission: 8-speed
- 0-100kmh: 5.8 secs
- Top speed: 250km/h
- Price: From AED 232,200 (Pure) to AED 322,500 (First Edition)
Immediate impressions are that the F-Pace is a genuine SUV with an emphasis on sport. From the driver’s seat, the windscreen is sharply raked; you feel this is more of a man’s car than its unisex competitors. A chunky, small diameter steering wheel adds to the performance feel, and from the moment you open up the 340hp, supercharged 3-litre V6, its intentions are obvious.
The benchmark 0-100 kmh is dispatched in a mere 5.8 seconds (impressive seeing as it weighs at 2,460kgs), with acceleration matched by a fruity exhaust note and, if you drop the windows, the whine of the supercharger. Nipping in and out of Dubai traffic is a no brainer and then, when heading out of town into the twisty bits, the F-Paces suspension comes into its own.
Cornering in the F-Pace shows just how advanced this SUV really is. A Dynamic Stability package mixed with Jaguar’s torque vectoring means you won’t get near its limits on the road. Off road, the F-Pace is just as competent, with the All Surface Progress Control (basically a low speed cruise control) helping you to maintain optimum handling in low traction situations.
The F-Pace is a great all- rounder. Fast but luxurious, spacious but nimble, safe but exciting. This is one SUV that has caught the public’s imagination and for all the right reasons.