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With the launch of the F-Pace back in 2016, Jaguar proved that SUVs, along with being big and loaded with luxury, can also be fast and somewhat agile. It was dubbed a ‘Performance SUV’ but not before some bullying from the big boys that rule this part of the automobile industry. Taking on the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Audi wasn’t child’s play for Jaguar’s engineers. Well, it did take them close to two years to respond to Porsche’s Macan, an SUV that quite literally could live up to the ‘Performance SUV’ tag. Could it rival the Macan Turbo or the GTS variant? Not even close. The Jaguar engineers however, managed to wrench up one hell of a cat. ‘Fun’ was the word. But a practical sports car? We already said it isn’t. With the spec sheet now boasting a turbo petrol motor, has the F-Pace got its jazz back?
Jaguar initially introduced the F-Pace with a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel motor that made 296bhp and an earth-twisting 700Nm of torque, all low down. All these numbers along with AWD made it a very quick family hauler. Yes, 6.2 seconds to sprint to 100kmph is a big deal. Jaguar axed this motor before it made any numbers. To the rescue came a diesel sipping, 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder ‘Ingenium’ motor which was also an option. But despite producing 430Nm of torque, it was nowhere as impressive as the V6 Diesel and again did not seem to excite the target audience. All the low down torque was fun, but the lack of revs made it a lazy cat. The motor was able to pull the Jag to a ton in 9 seconds flat. The D7a all-aluminium architecture borrowed from the XE and tweaked for the F-Pace provided high torsional stiffness. The stiff chassis, along with the double wishbone front suspension and sophisticated rear suspension enhanced its ability to perform like a sportscar. Adding a new 2.0-litre turbo petrol motor which was powerful and also quite efficient, does it make sense to choose the petrol over the diesel F-Pace?
Coming down to the powertrain, the Jaguar F-Pace now gets a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol ‘Ingenium’ motor. Jaguar has mated this motor to a beautifully set-up ZF 8-speed automatic transmission that strikes a balance between delivering performance and efficiency. The turbo petrol motor produces 246bhp and 365Nm of twist. The turbo petrol spools up quite easily and delivers its max torque from 1500rpm. The motor has a very good low-down grunt and can rev all the way to 6800rpm in Sports mode. Launching the F-Pace from a standstill is quite easy too. Simply put the gearbox in Sport mode and change the vehicle setting to Dynamic to sharpen throttle response and tighten up the steering. Even with the traction control turned off, there was barely any wheelspin from either ends, but the sprint to 100kmph came in 7 seconds flat, almost 2 seconds quicker than the diesel. The 8-speed gearbox made sure that the revs were kept as low as possible when the throttle was feathered, returning an average mileage of 10kmpl.
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The suspension is still on the stiffer side, although it doesn’t hurt your back. And this makes the F-Pace very agile in the corners. Jaguar has set up the chassis really well with the suspension, giving the SUV its sportscar-like handling. On the straights it manages to surge past pretty much everything. Jaguar claims the F-Pace is capable of a top whack of 217kmph. But we were sure it could pull a few more numbers than that. The SUV feels very light when put through winding roads. The steering feel along with the increased roll stiffness instils a lot of confidence on the bends, which is so unlike an SUV. Don’t expect much drama here as the torque vectoring makes sure that the F-Pace gathers grip in every situation.
Luxurious as can be, the interiors are plush with generous use of leather all around. The centre dash, with its 10-inch touch PRO infotainment system, can handle all your needs right from navigation to the music which is handled by a brilliant 380W Meridian sound system. It also features four-zone climate control and an air quality sensor. The plastics used could have been better on the centre dash especially the black mirror finish around the drive selector.
Today, where the demand for petrol vehicles has risen to match the demand for diesels, manufacturers have been putting out more petrol powered motors. There is no real argument here either, as the F-Pace 25t – turbo petrol AWD gets a price tag of Rs 63.17 lakh (ex-showroom, India). It is almost Rs 40,000 cheaper than the AWD diesel prestige variant which is priced at Rs 63.57 lakh (ex-showroom, India).