Jaguar E­Pace re­vealed, plus BMW’s new X3

The hit F Pace has in­spired the smaller, cheaper E Pace. It looks like the car the world is wait­ing for. By

CAR (UK) - - Contents -

YOU’LL BE SEE­ING a lot more of this new SUV, which is gear­ing up to be­come Jaguar’s big­gest seller. The E-Pace is the smaller sib­ling of the hugely suc­cess­ful F-Pace, and looks set to pro­vide some se­ri­ous pre­mium com­pe­ti­tion for the dom­i­nant Ger­mans.

Avail­able with front- or all-wheel drive, with a choice of en­gines and va­ri­ety of trim lev­els, the E-Pace is bang on trend: a rel­a­tively af­ford­able pre­mium SUV when global de­mand for up­wardly mo­bile crossovers seems in­sa­tiable.

While Jaguar’s XF and XE are im­pres­sive ri­vals for BMW’s four-doors, the rapidly chang­ing mar­ket means a sports sa­loon is no longer the make-or-break prod­uct it once was. The SUV is swal­low­ing other bodystyles whole, with buy­ers won over by the com­bi­na­tion of im­age and space. Last year, one in three Jaguars sold glob­ally was an F-Pace – and it didn’t reach show­rooms un­til April. In con­trast to the F-Pace’s 45,793 sales, the equally hyped XE sold 44,095 over a full year, with the XF man­ag­ing 36,544. Once you add E-Pace to the equa­tion, Jaguar will sell more SUVs than it does sa­loons, a re­mark­able change of di­rec­tion in un­der two years – and one that hasn’t been at ex­pense of Jag’s sta­ble­mates Land Rover. At BMW, where sa­loons are equally im­por­tant to the brand’s his­tory, the

trend is head­ing in the same di­rec­tion but on a grander scale. Global BMW sales were up 5.2% in 2016 at more than two mil­lion world­wide. While the 3- and 5-se­ries still dom­i­nate with more than 700,000 sales be­tween them, both were down in 2016. X-branded mod­els are head­ing the other way; X1 was up 76% in 2016 and even the old X3 was up 17%. The X5 is no spring chicken ei­ther but BMW still sold more than 150,000 world­wide. To­gether those three X mod­els achieved half a mil­lion world­wide sales, and the rise shows no sign of abat­ing.

That makes the E-Pace po­ten­tially Jag’s new best-seller. And why wouldn’t it be, judg­ing from these first of­fi­cial images. The styling’s clearly in­spired by the F-Pace in the long bon­net, curved flanks and trun­cated tail, but in the de­tail it’s F-Type that comes through, de­lib­er­ately pitched to­wards younger buy­ers who want a sportier edge. The higher prow of the grille and swept-back head­lights are copy­cat fea­tures from the F-Type, while the ris­ing win­dow­line is more coupe-like than the F-Pace. The E-Pace main­tains Jaguar’s com­mit­ment to alu­minium con­struc­tion: it’s used in the body struc­ture, roof, bon­net and tail­gate, with se­lected ar­eas given high-strength steel. All the en­gines are JLR’s alu­minium In­ge­nium units. There’s a su­per-fru­gal front-wheel-drive ver­sion run­ning a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel; on base-spec 17-inch al­loys it man­ages a com­bined 60.1mpg and 124g/km of CO2. At the other end of the scale the hottest ver­sion at launch kicks out 296bhp from the 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol In­ge­nium, hit­ting 62mph from rest in 6.1 sec­onds. Six-speed man­ual or nine-speed au­to­matic are the gear­box op­tions. At 4395mm the E-Pace is over 300mm shorter than its big brother but cru­cially sits on a wheel­base that’s a scant 13mm shorter, and it’s slightly longer than the XE sa­loon’s, en­sur­ing de­cent space in the rear for pas­sen­gers and a us­able boot at 577 litres. You can opt for the F-Pace’s ac­tiv­ity key and ges­ture-con­trolled tail­gate, techy treats not all ri­vals can of­fer. It’s also the first Jaguar to get an up­dated full colour head-up dis­play sys­tem, a much-needed re­place­ment for the cur­rent out­dated of­fer­ing. Due to JLR’s UK fac­to­ries run­ning at near ca­pac­ity the E-Pace will be built by Magna Steyr in Aus­tria, along­side next year’s pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the I-Pace elec­tric con­cept. Chi­nese-mar­ket E-Paces will be built at the joint Ch­ery JLR fa­cil­ity in Chang­shu.

There’s no mis­tak­ing this for a Land Rover, de­spite shared know-how

R Dy­namic is more about trim than per­for­mance. Hot­ter ver­sion may fol­low

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