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

Auto Express - - Contents - Steve Fowler steve_­fowler@den­nis.co.uk @steve­fowler

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

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