Official pictures and details as Jaguar takes the wraps off sexy new E-pace baby SUV
REVEALED F-pace’s baby brother leans heavily on sporty F-type for inspiration and Austrian-built newcomer will see a return to front-wheel drive for firm
YOU wait years for a Jaguar SUV, then three come along in quick succession. It was little over a year ago that the F-pace arrived, winning the 2016 Auto Express Car of the Year Award in the process. Then we saw the stunning I-pace electric SUV concept unveiled at last year’s Los Angeles Show; it’s due to go on sale next year.
But beating it into showrooms will be this, the new E-pace, which sits unsurprisingly below the F-pace in the line-up and arrives in the first few months of 2018 with prices starting at £28,500.
It also heralds a couple of firsts: it’ll be the first Jaguar to be built outside of the UK (at Magna Steyr’s plant in Graz, Austria), and it’s also the first Jaguar to be available with front-wheel drive since the X-type.
Jaguar is keen for the E-pace not to be pigeonholed as a baby F-pace, though, with references to the F-type sports car evident in the SUV’S interior and exterior design. “I wanted the relationship with the F-type to be more obvious,” Jaguar’s design director Ian Callum told us.
That said, internally the E-pace is referred to as the ‘cub’, hinting at the car’s relationship with the F-pace. That’s also cheekily referenced in a small graphic around the edge of the windscreen with a mother Jaguar being followed by her cub; it’s also used in the puddle lighting.
While the E-pace has a bold, large grille like the F-pace, the more upright allled front lights are more like the F-type’s, giving the new SUV a look all its own. “Our challenge was to accept all the facts about practicality that are important in this type of car and wrap it in a beautiful design. We want character in all our cars,” Callum said.
Size-wise, the E-pace is 4.4 metres long – similar to an Audi Q3, but it looks lower due to its faster roof style. “The sweeping-off roofline gets some speed into the shape,” says Callum, “with the cut-in graphics in the doors breaking up the sides. We’ve worked hard on the crisp surfacing, too, while the car had to have haunches.”
Those haunches were apparently tricky to engineer, but they add to the car’s compact, sporty stance. As does the rear treatment, with sharper lines that pull back in around the number plate surround just beneath the rear window. The rear lights feature a smart new chicane graphic rather than the roundels on the current Jaguar range – something we’ll see on future models.
The cabin follows the F-type theme. “It’s very much based on a sports car inside with just enough brightwork to make you feel like you’ve got value,” Callum tells us. There’s a 360-degree passenger’s grab handle on the side of the centre console, just like in the F-type, although the dash is more futuristic.
The driver can specify a 12.3-inch TFT digital instrument panel and a head-up
Petrol, diesel but no electric Model arrives early in 2018
display, while there’s a central 10.2-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system as standard on all models. Sadly, you’ll have to make do with Jaguar’s Incontrol Pro suite of apps and connectivity rather than Apple Carplay or Android Auto connections – they’re coming eventually, Jaguar promises.
Rotary controls for the climate control feature their own LED screens, but rather than use Jaguar’s rising rotary gear selector, there’s a traditional stick shifter instead.
Plenty of attention has been paid not only to the detail quality of the interior, but also the practicality. “Customers want cars that are easy to use,” says Callum. So large door cubbies will hold big water bottles, while the lidded storage between the two front seats can stow a decent-size handbag.
And unlike in many other SUVS, the doors open right to the bottom of the car so you won’t be cleaning dirty sills with the back of your trouser legs when you get in and out.
The boot is a spacious 577 litres with integral link suspension chosen for the rear, as much for its packaging benefits as its ride and handling traits; the boot floor is low and the opening wide. Although the E-pace is similar to the Audi Q3 in length, it offers Q5 space inside, as chief engineer Gordon Wilkins explained: “We worked really hard to get the practicality right. I’m six feet three inches and I’m able to sit in the back with the front seat set for me.”
As well as the storage space inside, there’ll be up to five USB points for charging and a 4G Wifi hotspot that can feed up to eight electronic devices.
The E-pace may be built in Austria (and eventually in China for that market), but it shares much with the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport that are made in Halewood on Merseyside. The new car sits on a modified version of those models’ D8 platform, but with a longer wheelbase stretched to 2,681mm. Wilkins is keen to stress how the E-pace has been given a Jaguar feel; Configurable Dynamics technology lets drivers personalise throttle, steering and transmission settings, while the Active Driveline and torque vectoring are set up to make the car feel like it’s rearwheel drive. The platform’s steering has also been tweaked to Jaguar’s specs.
With engines mounted transversely, the E-pace will also be available with front-wheel drive, with an engine line up from Jaguar Land Rover’s four-cylinder, 2.0-litre Ingenium family featuring manual or nine-speed automatic gearboxes.
You’ve got a choice of 148bhp, 178bhp and 237bhp output diesels, or a pair of turbo petrol engines with 246bhp or 296bhp. The least powerful diesel claims CO2 emissions of 124g/km, while the 296bhp petrol will get the E-pace from 0-60mph in a claimed 5.9 seconds.
There’s no sign of any electrification of the E-pace with hybrid or plug-in models – the I-pace will bring that to Jaguar’s range later in 2018 and be built in the same
“Configurable Dynamics technology lets drivers personalise throttle, steering and transmission settings” “Plenty of attention has been paid not only to the detail quality of the interior, but also the practicality”
IDENTITY Jaguar design director Ian Callum was keen to make the E-pace’s relationship with the F-type obvious in the exterior styling
INTERIOR E-pace features a futuristic, sporty design inside, while the 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen will be fitted as standard
GRAPHICS Within the company the E-pace is referred to as the ‘cub’ and a graphic on the windscreen’ shows a jaguar being followed by her offspring
STYLING E-pace follows the larger F-pace with a bold grille, but Jag’s designers have looked more to the F-type sports car for the new car’s styling inside and out
CABIN The length of the E-pace is similar to the Audi Q3 but the interior packaging makes the space available more like that in the Audi Q5