We're not far away from the wraps coming off Jaguar's first production SUV, and we've now seen the new Jaguar F-Pace in all its glory supporting Team Sky at the Tour De France. Although the disguise is nearly all off, the F-Pace is set to be revealed in full at the Frankfurt Motor Show and go on sale at the start of 2016.
The British-built SUV is expected to kick off from around £30,000, which puts it right in the firing line of premium rivals such as the Porsche Macan, Audi Q5 and BMW X3, and right up against Jaguar-Land Rover siblings such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque.
Jaguar describes the F-Pace as more of a "performance crossover" rathen than a traditional SUV. The name purposely aligns it with the F-Type sports car and distance it from those more rugged products offered by sister company Land Rover. Despite the performance bias, we're expecting a range of four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines to sit alongside a hot supercharged V8 variant.
The 2013 Jaguar C-X17 concept happily left little to the imagination, and further spy shots show the production front end design and sleek profile. Our exclusive images are based on that concept and use information gleaned from these snap shots and the teaser pic to give the best idea yet of how the 2016 production model will look.
“We received such an overwhelmingly positive response to the C-X17 concept car last year that we just had to make it a reality,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Director of Design. “The Jaguar F-PACE, inspired by the F-TYPE, represents a perfectly judged balance of style, performance and practicality. It offers a unique combination of Jaguar sports car inspired exterior design, fused beautifully with a thoroughly practical and spacious luxury interior. The F-PACE is our family sports car.”
We’re still yet to see a production version of the upcoming Jaguar F-Pace SUV, but that won’t stop Team Sky running one as a support car on Stage One of the Tour de France cycling race.
The barely disguised crossover was seen in public for the first time on Saturday 4 July – covered in Team Sky’s famous black and blue livery. It gave us our best idea yet of how the upcoming SUV will look, ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Like we’ve seen in previous spy shots, the Team Sky F-Pace gets a familiar Jaguar grille, slim headlights and raised suspension. The black roof rails and large alloy wheels are likely to feature on the production version, too.
Full technical details for the Jaguar F-Pace won’t be released until later this year, but certain specifications have been confirmed. It will be available with a five-seater layout only, and assuming it sticks closely to the concept’s 4,718mm length, will be a few centimetres bigger than its main rivals - the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. For that reason, Jaguar claims it will have class-leading interior space as well as a “beautiful design, precise handling, a supple ride, luxurious interior finishes and cutting-edge technology.”
The F-Pace will be based on the same aluminium-intensive iq[AL] platform as the new XE saloon and built in the same revamped Solihull plant in Birmingham. The similarities between the SUV and saloon will extend to the suspension geometry (the XE uses advanced double wishbones at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear), the interior switchgear and InControl infotainment system and the engine line-up. The four-wheel drive system will be governed by Jag’s All-Surface Progress Control technology to maximise grip in all road conditions.
Expect 2.0-litre turbodiesel and 2.0 turbocharged petrol engines - both from the advanced new Ingenium engine family - to be offered in various states of tune, along with a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 at the top of the range. A more-powerful supercharged V8 model could come later in the lifecycle to power an F-Pace R performance model. Prices are likely to start from around £30,000.
Jaguar created shockwaves by announcing that the name of its forthcoming SUV would be F-Pace. In a candid interview with Auto Express at the Detroit Motor Show, Jaguar’s design director, Ian Callum, explained his role in the choosing of the F-Pace name, the challenges he has faced in creating Jaguar’s first ever SUV and how the daring crossover was nearly called X-Type.
“Creatively speaking, I had little role in the choice of the F-Pace name, but I was clear on saying it needed to have a reference to sportiness,” he told us. “Both Ralf [Speth – Jaguar Land Rover CEO] and I agreed it needed character. Alphanumeric was not an option and we toyed with many names. We played with the letter X a lot – XQ was one option but we felt Q is too much of an Audi thing, and of course Aston Martin uses Q.
Callum explained around eight names were in the running before being dwindled down to three, with F-Pace being one of them. “I picked F-Pace,” he said. “I like it because I think it’s got a bit of texture and character to it and I think after time people will get used to it.”
The Scot was more than aware of the pressure on his and his team’s shoulders in creating a type of car Jaguar had never built before – and admits it has been a demanding process.
“It has been difficult because it goes against every muscle of your body in some ways,” he says. “Once I realised that a crossover makes good business sense and that for a lot of young people, they don’t know anything else other than crossovers, I said to our team we’ve got to embrace this car.
"It has to be sexy; it has to have voluptuousness to it. If it means compromising some of the packaging then we’ll do it – that’s what Jaguars do and we will push back on this obsession of getting the biggest volume inside, the biggest capacity and the largest tailgate opening. I wasn’t going to buy into that. I am very pleased with the end result. We have done a good job - I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.”
The Jaguar C-X17 4x4 concept was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2013 before taking centre stage at the 2014 Brussels Motor Show.
At the time, Jaguar design director Ian Callum hinted at how close to the production car the C-X17 was, saying: “We were caught out with the C-XF concept and underdelivered; we now need to show things we know we can deliver.”
The C-X17 is 4,718mm long, 1,959mm wide and 1,649mm high, with a wheelbase of 2,905mm (30mm longer than Jag’s new XE 3 Series rival). So it’s clearly targeting the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, even though it’s slightly longer, wider and lower.
Jaguar's sister company Land Rover has, of course, a longer heritage and greater brand awareness as a maker of 4x4 cars than Jaguar, so where will the new C-X17 fit in the JLR range?
New Range Rover: Aimed at buyers wanting the ultimate rugged luxury car, whatever the price.
Range Rover dimensions: Length: 4,999mm, width 2,073mm, height 1,835mm.
Range Rover Sport: Aimed at those who demand luxury, off-road ability and a sportier drive.
Range Rover Sport dimensions: Length: 4,850mm, width 2,073mm, height 1,780mm.
Jaguar F-Pace: Aimed at younger buyers who focus on style and sportiness above all.
Jaguar C-X17 dimensions: Length: 4,718mm, width 1,959mm, height 1,649mm.
Price: £35,000 (est)
Range Rover Evoque: Aimed at drivers with a smaller budget but wanting a Range Rover badge.
Range Rover Evoque dimensions: 4,355mm, width 1,965mm, height 1,635mm.
Land Rover Discovery Sport: Advanced tech and genuine off-road ability.
Range Rover Evoque dimensions: 4,599mm, width 2,069mm
Do you think the F-Pace SUV will be a hit for Jaguar? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below...