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Jaguar F-Pace S 3.0 V6 (380PS) First Edition: Fast-paced first for Jaguar

By Ghaith Madadha - Aug 01,2016 - Last updated at Aug 01,2016

Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

Hotly anticipated since its first appearance as the C-X17 concept at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Jaguar F-Pace is set to become one of the British brand’s most important vehicles. Jaguar’s first endeavour in the SUV market, the F-Pace is expected to substantially increase sales, widen the brand’s client base and possibly become the brand’s most popular model.

Driven at global launch on rugged and breathtaking, if imperfectly paved winding mountain routes, fast B-roads and treacherous off-road trails, the F-Pace effectively translates Jaguar’s sporty yet supple driving characteristics for SUV service. Fast, focused, fluent and comfortable, the F-Pace is positioned in the mid-size premium sports SUV segment, competing alongside the Audi Q5, BMW X4 and Porsche Macan.


Familiar and feline face


Seamlessly re-interpreting the Jaguar’s elegantly well-proportioned and flowing uncomplicated yet urgently athletic contemporary design language and corporate face for SUV service, the F-Pace’s body seems to be tautly stretched around its frame. With both assertive demeanour and aerodynamic efficiency, the F-Pace’s long bonnet, short overhangs, fluent lines and gracefully descending roofline lends it a sense of dynamic tension and forward movement even when at standstill.

With wide snouty and broad mesh grille, big lower intakes, slim headlights and sculpted bonnet, the F-Pace has a sporting sensibility, which is also reflected at the rear, where slim horizontal lights with a rounded lower element, working to evoke its F-Type sports car sister’s design similarity. Under its taut skin, the F-Pace is built on the Jaguar’s stiff and lightweight modular aluminium architecture, also underpinning the XF and XE saloons. 

With 80 per cent aluminium keeping centre of gravity and unsprung weight low to aid performance, efficiency, safety and ride and handling, the F-Pace also features near perfect weight distribution. With stylish, deep and fresh Caesium Blue paint and 56cm 15-spoke alloy wheels with contrast inserts, unique to the First Edition spec model driven, such vehicles also feature full-LED headlights, panoramic sliding sunroof, gloss black fender vents and adaptive dynamics dampers.


Keeping pace


Driven in F-Pace S guise with the more powerful of two states of tune for its direct injection 3-litre supercharged V6 engine, power rises to 375BHP at 6500rpm and is underwritten by healthy and responsive torque band peaking at 332lb/ft torque at 4,500rpm. The top-of-the-line model until an expected 5-litre supercharged V8 performance model arrives, the F-Pace S is nevertheless swift and keen, with 0-100km/h dispatched in 5 seconds and an electronically governed 250km/h top speed.

Smooth and refined with a muffled yet evocative snarl, the F-Pace S’ mechanically driven supercharged engine delivers instant boost and responsiveness from idle, unlike most gas-driven turbo engines’ low-end lag or moment of inertia. Characterised by consistently muscular yet urgently progressive delivery eagerly as it climbs to its long-legged rev limit, the F-Pace S features responsive throttle control and clarity as it pounces through switchbacks and climbs through steep winding mountain roads.

An 8-speed automatic gearbox with a closely spaced but broad range of ratios allows for responsive acceleration from low-end, relaxed economic cruising and punchy on-the-move versatility and contribute to the F-Pace’s 8.9l/100km combined cycle fuel efficiency. Swift and smooth shifting, the F-Pace features a snappy paddle-shift manual mode for more driver autonomy and involvement. Individually adjustable for responsiveness, engine, throttle and gearbox modes are accessed through the infotainment screen, as are damper stiffness settings.


Grace, fluency and agility


Riding on sophisticated double wishbone front and integral link rear suspension stiff lateral control yet supple vertical absorption, the F-Pace is comfortable and refined, and agile and focused for a high riding 1861kg SUV. Stable and planted at high speed and settled on sudden vertical rebound the F-pace is ever poised. Meanwhile, adaptive dampers reconcile massive low-profile 265/40R22 tyres with a smooth and forgiving ride quality over lumps, bumps and cracks.

Deriving its name from Jaguar’s 1960s “space, grace and pace” mantra with a deliberate nod to its contemporary F-Type sports car sister, the F-Pace sets its stall out as sports SUV. A description well-reconciled by its clever suspension set-up and tuning, the F-Pace may not be a corner carver of F-Type calibre, but handles with a discernable in-class fluency and agility. Meanwhile, steering is quick, precise, reassuring and refined, if not superlative in textured road feel and feedback. 

Characterised by its handling fluency and finesse, the F-Pace tucks tidily into corners, through which its adaptive dampers keep it poised and well suppress body roll, especially in its firmer sport damping mode. Controlled with little body lean through corners, the F-Pace’s anti-roll bars are particularly praiseworthy for being ultimately firm in resisting roll, but with progressive bushings that gently feed in weight shift to prevent occupants being suddenly slammed to the side when cornering briskly.


Space and technology


Tidy, balanced and committed through corners, the F-Pace’s good cabin forward visibility, agility and fluency make it feel smaller than its 1,936mm width through narrow mountain hairpins. Operating with 90 per cent power sent to rear wheels for sporty agile handling as a default, the F-Pace’s lightweight chain-driven four-wheel drive however reapportions up to 50 per cent power to front wheels to — aided by long wheel travel — maintains traction, grip and pull it out of wet corners or for off-road driving.

Off-road, the F-Pace availed itself well on rugged, rough, rocky, gravelly and wet trails, with 213mm ground clearance, 525mm water wading and 25.5° approach and 26° departure angles. Leveraging sister brand Land Rover’s unimpeachable off-road expertise, the F-Pace features sophisticated driver assistance systems that utilise various systems to act somewhat like off-road cruise control. On road semi-autonomous safety technologies include pedestrian-sensing autonomous braking, stop/go adaptive cruise control, parking assistance, blind spot and reverse traffic detection and the ability to nudge the electric steering into lane. 


Well-appointed, luxurious, sporty and easily accessible with highly adjustable, supportive and comfortable driving position, the F-Pace features user-friendly layouts and stylish designs include pop-up rotary gear selector and quality leathers, metals and textures. Spacious with 650-litre boot, rear headroom is decent but would be better still without panoramic sunroof, while 40:20:40 split folding/reclining rear bench add versatility. High-tech infotainment and convenience equipment is extensive and includes remote engine and climate control operation, in-car Wi-Fi and advanced smartphone integration allowing online connection with the F-Pace.


Engine: 3-litre, supercharged, in-line V6 cylinders

Bore x stroke: 84.5 x 89mm

Compression ratio: 10.5:1

Valve-train: 24-valve, DOHC, continuously variable valve timing, direct injection

Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel drive

Ratios: 1st 4.714; 2nd 3.143; 3rd 2.106; 4th 1.667; 5th 1.285; 6th 1.0; 7th 0.839; 8th 0.667

Reverse/final drive: 3.317/3.73

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 375 (380) [280] @ 6,500rpm

Specific power: 112BHP/litre

Power -to-weight ratio: 201.5BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 332 (450) @4,500rpm

Specific torque: 150.25Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight ratio: 241.8Nm/tonne

0-100km/h: 5.5 seconds

Top speed: 250km/h

Fuel economy, combined: 8.9 litres/100km

CO2 emissions, combined: 209g/km

Fuel capacity: 63 litres

Length: 4,731mm

Width: 1,936mm

Height: 1,652mm

Wheelbase: 2,874mm

Track, F/R: 1,641/1,654mm

Approach/departure angles: 25.5°/26°

Headroom, F/R: 1007/977mm

Boot capacity: 650 litres

Kerb weight: 1861kg

Suspension, F/R: Double wishbones/integral link

Steering: Variable electric-assisted rack & pinion

Turning circle: 11.87 metres

Brakes: Ventilated discs


Tyres: 265/40R22

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