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Driven: F-Pace to accelerate Jaguar in Australia

On the pace: The F-Pace will make up 50 per cent of all of all of Jaguar’s Australian sales, but there will be a wait on some variants.

Jaguar’s F-Pace will be the brand’s top seller with 90 per cent ‘conquest’ sales

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Jaguar logo16 Jul 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

ONE of the most important models in Jaguar’s 94-year history – the F-Pace SUV – has officially gone on sale and is expected to make up 50 per cent of the leaping cat brand’s overall volume in Australia in the coming years.

It is the latest model in the Tata-owned British car-maker’s new-product rollout that started with the F-Type sportscar three years ago and picked up pace last year with the BMW 3 Series-rivalling XE mid-sizer, followed by the larger second-generation XF earlier this year.

The company has high expectations for the high-riding wagon Down Under – given Australia’s love affair with SUVs and the solid sales growth in the premium segment – and is predicting that 90 per cent of F-Pace buyers will be conquested from other brands.

Jaguar Land Rover Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner highlighted how critical the car was to the local market and said it would have a huge impact on the perception of the Jaguar brand.

“In this market, this car makes Jaguar now relevant as a brand,” he told GoAuto at the Australian media launch in northern New South Wales.

“It allows us to take Jaguar to places where it has never been – physically, but also from a market perspective and demographic. Let’s face it Jaguar wasn’ t one of the brands that had a great appeal for female drivers. Now we have got products here that fill that gap.

“Previously the traditional target market of Jaguar over the years was old guys and young guys going ‘that would be cool one day’. That changes completely.” Mr Wiesner said that JLR Australia management had adjusted the forecast up “about three times over last 12 months on this car” because of the intense pre-launch interest in F-Pace.

“We have fought pretty hard for additional production. We will probably have about 1500 or so for this business year and based on demand that we are seeing, it will be a bit of a wait.” He added that it was “hard to tell” how long a wait buyers would have before taking delivery of their F-Pace, adding that it would come down to global demand and the capacity of the factory that also produces the related XE sedan.

While the majority of buyers are expected to come from other brands, Mr Wiesner said there would be some impact on other Jaguar Land Rover products.

“I think we will see some movement within our brands as well and that’s great. I’d rather we see people moving out of a Range Rover Sport because they want to do something different and dive into an F-Pace or from a Land Rover into an F-Pace. It means at least we have got options to give our customers and if they do want to try something different we are not tempting them to leave us.” The man charged with designing the critical new model, Jaguar design director Ian Callum, said his team was afforded the freedom to create the vehicle without the restrictions placed on other brands.

“When you actually start to create something from scratch it is hugely challenging,” he told GoAuto at the launch. “But the big advantage with this car was we didn’t have a set of dimensions given to us. We could decide where we would want to go with this car.

“In terms of how we maximise the opportunities of the interior package, or protecting the exterior package and giving it some exciting dimensions. And it has got some exciting dimensions – the height relative to the length the wheelbase relative to the overhangs. And we could pre-determine these things before we had even started.

“And that is a once in a lifetime thing actually because most cars you work on there is something that is pre-determined such as the size or make-up, a platform or some other given set of competitive dimensions.

“We didn’t pigeonhole it into German dimensions into (Audi) Q5, Q7, (BMW) X5. They are all very similar and we didn’t follow that, which is quite liberating actually.” As previously reported, the F-Pace is offered with the choice of two petrol and two diesel powertrains and each variant gets all-wheel drive as standard.

The range kicks off from $74,340 plus on-road costs for the 20d Prestige followed by the $80,090 R-Sport, which share the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium turbo-diesel that is also used to power some versions of the mechanically related Jaguar XE sedan.

This unit pumps out 132kW at 4000rpm and 430Nm at 1750-2500rpm, ensuring a 0-100km/h dash in 8.7 seconds before hitting a top speed of 208km/h and consumes 5.3 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle while emitting 139g/km of CO2.

A meatier 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine – the 30d – is available in the $84,590 Prestige, $90,350 R-Sport, $91,350 Portfolio, the sporty S from $99,940 and the limited First Edition S30d from $117,164.

It delivers 221kW at 4000rpm and 700Nm at 2000rpm, can race from 0-100km/h in 6.2s on to a top speed of 241km/h, consumes 6.0L/100km and emits 159gkm.

There is one petrol unit – the 35t 3.0-litre supercharged V6 found in the spicy F-Type sportscar – offered in two different states of tune, depending on the variant.

It is available in the 35t Prestige from $84,030, the $89,790 R-Sport and $90,800 Portfolio with 250kW at 6500rpm and 450Nm at 4500rpm, helping it reach 100km/h in 5.8s with a 250km/h top speed and fuel use and CO2 emission figures of 8.9L/100km and 209g/km respectively.

The flagship petrol powertrain is offered in the F-Pace S from $103,420 and the First Edition 25t priced at $120,700 and has the same 280kW at 6500rpm and 450Nm at 4500rpm output as found under the bonnet of the F-Type S. It offers the best 0-100km/h time of the range – 5.5s – but has the same fuel use and CO2 output as the 250kW 35t.

All variants use a ZF 8HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission, except the 20d, which uses a ZF 8HP45 eight-speeder.

The F-Pace’s dimensions – 4731mm long, 2175mm wide, 1667mm high and a 2874mm wheelbase – place it between mid-size SUVs such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3/X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC and their larger Q7, X5 and GLE siblings.

It has ground clearance of 213mm, weighs between 1775-1884kg and offers 508 litres of cargo volume with all seats in place.

The F-Pace is underpinned by Jaguar’s Lightweight Aluminium Architecture that forms the basis of the XE mid-size sedan and the XF large sedan, both of which are already on sale in Australia and the SUV’s body structure is 80 per cent aluminium.

Suspension wise it uses a double-wishbone arrangement up front and ‘integral link’ configuration at the rear – the same setup as the XE – and is fitted with a torque-vectoring system and electric-assisted power steering and while entry-level variants get monotube dampers as standard, higher-end models feature ‘adaptive dynamics’ which makes for optimum damping forces in all conditions, according to Jag.

A ‘configurable dynamics’ system borrowed from the F-Type allows for individual settings for the throttle, transmission, steering and ‘adaptive dynamics’ for more enthusiastic driving.

As part of the torque on demand all-wheel-drive system, the F-Pace has ‘intelligent driveline dynamics’ that can transfer torque to the front wheels if required.

It also features an ‘adaptive surface response’ system that provides electronic assistance in sticky situations, while ‘all-surface progress control’ helps the driver pull away on slippery surfaces such as snow, ice and wet grass.

Standard safety gear in entry Prestige guise includes front and rear parking assistance, a reversing camera, tyre pressure monitoring, lane-departure warning and autonomous emergency braking.

This is on top of the LED daytime running lights with auto levelling, bi-Xenon headlights a powered tail-gate, with, leather seats, 10x10-way electric front seats with memory, 40/20/40 split-fold rear seats, analogue dials with 5.0-inch full colour TFT display, 11-speaker Meridian sound system, InControl Touch navigation with 8.0-inch touchscreen, keyless start and 19-inch silver alloy wheels.

On top of this, the R-Sport adds special R-Sport-themed front and rear bumpers, metal tread plate, door claddings, side power vents, a wrapped instrument panel with stitching, perforated leather seats with contrasting stitching, gloss black window surrounds, a multi-function steering wheel, the ‘configurable dynamics’ system and different 19-inch wheels.

Those opting for Portfolio variants gain Windsor leather door and seat trim, interior mood lighting, gloss ebony veneer, embossed front headrests and different again 19-inch alloy wheels.

The sporty S grabs S exterior styling flourishes, red brake callipers, ‘adaptive dynamics’, unique leather and suede-cloth seats, satin chrome gearshift paddles, suede-cloth headliner and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Keen Jag fans can nab a First Edition – only available in the first year of F-Pace production – which adds panoramic roof, roof rails, electrically reclining seats, special carpet mats, illuminated tread plates storage rails in the cargo area, InControl Touch Pro with a 10-inch capacitive touchscreen and 60GB solid state hard drive, a 12.3-inch high-definition virtual instrument display and 22-inch alloys.

2016 Jaguar F-Pace pricing*
20d Prestige (a) $74,340
20d R-Sport (a) $80,090
35t Prestige (a) $84,030
30d Prestige (a) $84,590
35t R-Sport (a) $89,790
30d R-Sport (a) $90,350
35t Portfolio (a) $90,800
30d Portfolio (a) $91,350
S diesel (a) $99,940
S petrol (a) $103,420
First Edition diesel (a) $117,210
First Edition petrol (a) $120,700
*Excludes on-road costs

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