Jaguar has taken the wraps off the 2018 E-PACE, it’s latest SUV, but despite what the name would seem to imply this isn’t the company’s hotly-anticipated electric crossover. Instead, the E-PACE is the automaker’s new compact SUV, a smaller option alongside the F-PACE. If you want full electric, you’ll have to wait for the I-PACE EV that’s due in 2018.
Instead, the E-PACE will be offered with petrol engines only in Mzansi. Two versions will be available, each based on the company’s 2.0-liter turbocharged Ingenium petrol engine. The entry-level car will have 183kW at 5,500 rpm, and 365Nm. of torque from 1,200 rpm. It’ll do 0-100 kmh in 6.6 seconds, and have a top speed of 230 kmh.
The E-PACE R-DYNAMIC, meanwhile, while coax 200kW and 400Nm. of torque from the engine. That’ll be good for a 0-100 kmh time of 5.9 seconds, with a top speed slightly increased to 240 kmh. Both have a ZF 9-speed automatic transmission and are all-wheel drive as standard.
Whatever the powertrain, it’s an eminently sensible model for Jaguar to launch. The crossover and SUV space is the main point of growth in the auto industry right now, far more popular than the sedan and relative niche coupe and convertible spaces that Jaguar traditionally played in. The F-PACE SUV has been a rising star in the automaker’s line-up, meanwhile, seeing a warm reception alongside its Land Rover and Range Rover siblings.
The design calls heavily on the F-PACE, with short overhangs and a distinctive side profile. Big creases in the fenders and oversized rear haunches borrow from the F-TYPE coupe, as do the LED headlamps. S-model and above trims get J-blade daytime running lights, while the rear lamps are LED as standard.
Eleven exterior colors are offered, with the roof body-colored by default. Alternatively, Jaguar will offer a black roof or a fixed panoramic glass roof. 21-inch wheels will be optional, and there’ll be either polished or satin chrome side fender vents, depending on whether you go for E-PACE or E-PACE R-Dynamic trims. Jaguar says the tailpipes – sprouting from within the rear valance – are inspired by jet engines, while the bold front grille is 3D-chamfered.
Inside, Jaguar’s wraparound dashboard splits the front space between driver and passenger. There’s more satin chrome and leather, Jaguar eschewing the wood it might traditionally have opted for, while contrast stitching lifts the leather on the seats, steering wheel, and gear shifter. The dashboard gets a 10-inch touchscreen and Jaguar’s Touch Pro infotainment system, while the E-PACE can optionally be outfitted with a 12.3-inch digital display for the driver’s instrumentation, along with a color head-up display. 4G LTE with a WiFi hotspot for up to eight devices is standard on the S, SE, and HSE cars.
First out the gate will be the E-PACE First Edition. That’ll have the 246 HP engine along with a choice of three colors – including, exclusively at first, Caldera Red – and 20-inch satin grey wheels. Windsor leather in ebony with red contrast stitching indoors will be joined with a panoramic glass roof and LED ambient lighting.
Whichever model you opt for, there’s Integral Link rear suspension and a special hollow-cast aluminum front suspension design to keep weight down. Jaguar claims the overall feel is the driving experience of a sedan but with an SUV driving position. Optional is the Configurable Dynamics package, which offers settings for throttle and steering response, transmission shift speed, and, if fitted, the Adaptive Dynamics suspension. The latter has continuously variable dampers that adjust every 10 milliseconds.
As for the AWD, the regular system can push almost full power to the front or the rear depending on grip conditions. An Active Driveline system on the more powerful version does the same, but can also send power solely to the front wheels during steady cruising. At the rear, two independent electronically-controlled wet-plate crutches can send up to 100-percent of the torque to either of the wheels in 100 milliseconds. That accompanies brake-based torque vectoring.
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