The Jaguar F-Pace is an all-rounder that can plunder lap times at racetracks or cruise on highways – all with the simple push of a button, finds Alvin Thomas.
Quick! Can you name some of the quickest SUVs that grace the roads of Oman today? Chances are you’ve named the Porsche Macan Turbo, Range Rover Sport SVR, Mercedes-Benz GLE63 S and even the BMW X5M.
However, there’s a surprise new addition to that list – a Jaguar.
That’s right. For the first time in almost a century of existence, the British marque has opted for an SUV, and a super sporty one at that.
Going by the name – F-Pace – the aggressive- looking SUV looks nothing like any other car on the road except maybe the F-Type, which it is based on.
Yes, folks. The F-Pace is essentially a four-door, five-seater family version of the much-loved Jaguar F-Type sportscar, the fastest road car Jaguar currently makes.
The F-Pace snips the F-type’s gorgeous guise from almost every angle, too.
However, the F-Pace embodies Jaguar’s corporate demeanor. The headlights resemble those of the company’s very own XE sedan, while the thin-strip LED rearlight is clearly from an F-Type.
But, unlike most “inspired” SUVs ([cough] Porsche Cayenne [cough]), the F-Pace actually pulls off its amplified dimensions. I think this is the prettiest SUV I have ever seen.
The “R-Sport” variant I received also came in Italian racing red with the “Black Pack S” kit, complete with a blacked-out grille, side vents and window surrounds.
The insides get typical “Jaaag” treatment too, with Jet Red Perforated Taurus Leather seats, a responsive 20cm touchscreen, a full-sized panoramic moonroof, an outstanding 380W Meridian sound system, interior mood lighting, excellent AC and a well-rounded leather-covered interior.
But, getting behind the wheel of the F-Pace makes you realise how much none of those aforementioned features really matter because between you and the road lies an astoundingly well-tuned 3.0-litre supercharged V6 (soul, as I called it), pumping out 335 meaty ponies and 450 Nm of torque.
The F-Pace is like a ballerina wearing a breakdancer’s outfit. I say that because there’s no other SUV in the market today that changes direction with as much urgency as the F-Pace does. And this being a vehicle that weighs almost 1.8 tonnes makes that all the more surprising.
Chucking the vehicle into corners revealed no real drama except for a bit of oversteer in corners (because most of the power is sent to the rear wheels under normal circumstances), which proved to be great fun.
The throttle response in “Dynamic” mode is phenomenal, too. Keep the revs near the redline (4500 rpm) and the supercharger will chuck in almost all of its torque instantly, shoving you to the back of your seat like you’re driving a two-door sports car.
Transferring power to all four-wheels is an eight-speed ZF gearbox. It isn’t the fastest of gearboxes, but it is almost in sync with Porsche’s PDK gearbox. Mind you, it still isn’t as dimwitted as that of many other SUVs out there.
However, if you’re looking for the added oomph, it’s wise to engage “Dynamic” mode and take control of the gearshifts. It certainly spruces things up, holding gears until you decide to shift up with the paddle shifters.
But shift up, I did not.
Holding gears revealed a loud wail from the V6 engine. Plant your foot down further and you’ll hear loud “crackles” and “pops” from the exhaust – a feature that came in handy to woo audiences at Shatti Beach in Qurum.
Nevertheless, if you change gears like a normal person, you’ll find yourself sprinting from 0-100kph in about six seconds – an impressive feat considering the size of the vehicle.
However, if I were to nitpick, the steering wheel is a tad too small for my liking and the brakes feel a bit mushy during spirited driving, although that could just be due to some wear in the brake pads, courtesy of other lead-footed motoring journalists who probably pushed this F-Pace to its limits.
Apart from that, the entire glove compartment is a storage unit for the fire extinguisher, and the boot space is on the smaller side because the dealer throws in a full-size 50cm spare alloy wheel.
But, none of that really matters when you’re in the vehicle because the F-Pace does what it does best – making you feel special. I can see this car setting the trend for future offerings from the company. It really is the ideal practical sportscar.