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The Jaguar F-Pace Revealed

By raccars Published

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Jaguar's first SUV is one of the most eagerly awaited new car releases ever. The auto press has been frantic for information ever since a concept was revealed in 2013 as the C-X17 - arguably a better name than the 'F-Pace' moniker which was eventually announced. The anticipation is now building to frenzied levels as the final production version is set to be unveiled this month at the International Motor Show Germany in Frankfurt.

Jaguar has been gleefully responding to the hunger for information with regular teaser shots, the latest of which gives the most complete view yet of the F-Pace. Not only does the F-Pace look like it will be a solid performer commercially, but it will provide work for 1,300 extra employees at JLR's Solihull production facility. It closely resembles the C-X17 concept car, which was received with huge approval.

While the Frankfurt event will be the first occasion for the public to get up close and personal with the F-Pace, a slightly disguised prototype of the final production version has already been seen as a support vehicle, as Team Sky set off on this year's Tour de France - the kind of publicity stunt for which Jaguar is becoming well known.

Jaguar is capitalising on the development of its new XE compact executive saloon, with lightweight aluminium architecture, in the building of the F-Pace. JLR has invested some £1.5 billion into lightweight construction technology over the last few years, to ensure agility, performance and economy, even for its bigger cars. The F-Pace is large, as SUVs tend to be, but its designers followed the lead set by the sporty F-Type, hence the nomenclature. The company is describing the F-Pace as a family sports car or a performance crossover, rather than an SUV, adding space, luxury and practicality to the F-Type's sporty blueprint.

Technical details are scarce at present but Jaguar has confirmed that the F-pace is a five seater and is only centimetres bigger than the Porsche Macan, BMW X3 and Audi Q5 in size, rather than larger SUVs, such as the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and Audi Q7. Its dimensions slightly exceed the Range Rover Evoque, and the F-Pace is more spacious inside than its stablemate. JLR has also put considerable effort into ensuring high class driving dynamics, keen to avoid the body roll which characterises some of the lower budget SUVs.

The F-Pace is expected to be run on the same Ingenium and six cylinder petrol and diesel engines used by the XE, and industry rumour suggests the basic line up could be complemented by an F-Pace SVR high performance variant, with a supercharged V8 under the bonnet. Excellent grip will be provided by Jaguar's All Surface Progress Control four wheel drive technology, and the F-Type's torque vectoring.

Prices are expected to start around £35,000 when the F-Pace hits forecourts early next year, but details have yet to be confirmed. Jaguar purists will struggle to come to terms with the idea of an SUV, or 'performance crossover' from the brand better known for its luxury saloons and sports cars. But any manufacturer wishing to join the mainstream these days really needs to have a foothold in this particular market segment, and so far, even sceptics seem to have been impressed by what they have seen. Ultimately, there are a limited number of luxury saloons and sports cars that Jaguar can produce, so the SUV sector seems to be the obvious opening for expansion to its line-up.

Jaguar's sales grew for the fifth consecutive year in 2014, to 462,678 unit sales, but that's still way behind the premium sector market leaders. Jaguar has serious mainstream ambitions which it believes the F-Pace can help it to achieve. If the level of pre-release excitement is any indication, Jaguar will be knocking on BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi's door within only a few years.

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