Hot on the heels of their F-Pace, Jaguar will enter the compact SUV market, too, with the impending release of the E-Pace.
Claiming to bring sports car performance to an AWD crossover, the E-Pace shares much of its underpinnings with the Land Rover Discovery Sport, but where the Sport offers off-road ability typical of the brand, the E-Pace is more road-focussed, with driveline, suspension and packaging designed for tarmac performance and incorporating a Jaguar first in the ‘Active Driveline’ AWD system.
Shorter and lower than the Discovery Sport, the E-Pace is also lighter and faster, but claims to offer impressive occupant room and class-leading luggage space – up to 1,141 litres. Variants will follow a similar spread to the F-Pace, with S, SE and HSE specification and a choice of five powertrains, from a 2WD entry-level model, a spread of AWD variants with differing engine (all Ingenium) and transmission combinations. There’ll also be a special Launch Edition. Pricing is still being confirmed, but is expected to start around the $48,000 mark and stretch up to $85,000, excluding ORCs. Due for release in the UK and Europe before the end of the year, Australian-deliveries of the E-Pace are scheduled for Q2, 2018.
Where the larger F-Pace showed a family connection to Jaguar’s XE and XF sedans, the E-Pace’s styling is clearly influenced by the F-Type sportscar. The influence is clear in the front end, where the sports coupe’s distinctive grille and headlight treatment have transferred well to the bulkier SUV. Large lower grilles and ‘chamfered’ corners visually reduce front and rear overhangs, while the tapered side windows give a semi-fastback look to the roof. At the rear, there’s more similarity to the F-Pace, with a 3-piece rear spoiler, chunky rear haunches and a similar tail light treatment. Below this, the rear valance with large twin exhaust outlets continue the sports car styling theme.
Finishes to elements like the grille, side vents, exterior mirrors and roof vary depend on model grade, as do the wheels, with sizes ranging from 17- up to 21-inch, the latter claimed by Jaguar as a first in this class. Inside, the sports styling and F-Type influence continues, with a leather-trimmed dash fascia with contrast stitching, wraparound cockpit with 12.3-inch TFT driver display instrumentation and satin ‘Noble Chrome’ finishing on elements like the door handles, air vents and gearshift surround. Premium leather is used on the seats, steering wheel and centre console grab rail. The optional R-Dynamic package adds more distinctive, sports-inspired styling touches inside and out.
The first Jaguar model to be available with an all-Ingenium engine lineup, there are five distinct power outputs, comprised of 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesels across most model grades, while the top-grade E-Pace options are powered by twin-turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engines. In the entry-level S, the 2.0 turbodiesel outputs 110kW and 380Nm, matched to a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed auto transmissions and driving the front wheels. This grade can be had in AWD, too. The next step up is 132kW and 430Nm from the same engine, with AWD standard, but manual or auto transmissions optional.
The top-spec diesel is a 177kW and 500Nm version of the same Ingenium 2.0 four, matched to the nine-speed auto and AWD as standard. The petrol-engined range starts with a 183kW, 365Nm version with the nine-speed auto, while the premium performance HSE model dials the twin-turbo inline-4 up to 221kW and 400Nm. Both petrol variants are AWD only, with the highest-spec package sprinting from 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds and capable of 243km/h.
Bespoke Chassis Spec
Jaguar says much of the E-Pace’s chassis hardware was developed specifically for the model, taking elements already proven on the F-Pace, like the integral-link rear suspension, but reconfiguring them to suit. The front suspension design is all new, with a stiffer front subframe and modifications to the steering system delivering a firmer ride in roadgoing applications, and thus making the E-Pace more engaging to drive on tarmac, but obviously compromising off-road ability. However, an All Surface Progress Control Function improves traction in low-grip conditions and works like a low-speed cruise control. The optional Adaptive Dynamics suspension package is said to respond faster to driver input and offer better traction, while also adding a dedicated off-road mode.
As part of the JaguarDrive Control system, suspension settings, along with throttle response, shift times and steering feedback can be adjusted through four selected settings – Normal, Dynamic, ECO and Rain/Ice/Snow. The Active Driveline (available on the 221kW petrol and 177kW diesel) is a Jaguar first and consists of a torque-bias system for the AWD drivetrain that can deliver almost all of the engine torque to the rear axle in milliseconds. Even when front-axle biased, the Active Driveline delivers what Jaguar claims is the feel of a RWD vehicle.
Jaguar are describing the E-Pace as the most connected and intelligent vehicle in its class, with the Touch Pro infotainment system combining a customisable 10-inch touch screen and tactile buttons. A 12.3-inch digital instrument panel is standard on some grades, while a head-up display is an option. The sat-nav features dead reckoning functionality, which can be enhanced by the Route Planner app for trips that combine driving with walking or public transport. There are USB charge points in all five seats, a quartet of 12V sockets, easier music access and the ability for up to eight devices to stream content using the integral 4G Wi-Fi hotspot.
The weatherproof ‘Activity Key’ wristband that featured on the F-Pace will also be available on the E-Pace, allowing keyless locking/unlocking of the vehicle. Active safety tech includes Blind Spot Assist, Forward Traffic Monitor, Park Assist, Adaptive Driving Beam headlights, Dynamic Stability Control, Roll Stability Control, Trailer Stability Assist, Hill Start Assist, ETC, ABS, EBA and Cornering Brake Control.
Further E-Pace details, including pricing, will be announced closer to launch.