It’s been a long time since I tested a vehicle, and it’s been an even longer time since I penned a review. But hey, I’m back behind the wheel and back to writing, who knows maybe someday I will end up writing some erotic novel which turns into the next 50 shades of what’s his face.
Now that we are back on the front seat doing the show, our friends at Muscats Motors gave us a call telling us that the mighty Jaguar is back home where it belongs. Wohoo! That’s fantastic news, since it finally gave us access to a top brand which I have been so eager to drive. But wait, there’s a catch, I had to try an SUV. My heart sunk. I hate SUVs. But then, Muscats Motors said, this is no ordinary SUV, this is a 300bhp SUV. Well slap me silly, I have to give it a go.
Following some quick research I discovered that the Jaguar F-Pace was indeed the CX17, a concept SUV which was showcased by the brand at the Frankfurt motor show not so long ago. The dealership decided to give me the top of the range model, the F-Pace S, which sports a V6 Diesel Engine that packs a whopping 700Nm of torque and 300Bhp of crude power. But surely a large and heavy SUV can’t be that fast… can it?
As I sat behind the wheel I realized this ain’t no ordinary SUV, this is THE SUV. I was cocooned in windsor leather seats and surrounded by gadgets, half of which I still have no clue of their purpose. I pushed the start button and bam, a flippin’ jog wheel appears from the abyss. I put it in drive and kicked it.
I must say the ride was comfy as hell and being so high up in such a luxurious car made me feel important… desirable even. I started driving and at low speed and was already feeling the grunt of the engine. It felt like something was lurking beneath the hood, waiting for me to unleash it with a gear drop. I caved. I took the car at an empty stretch of road, parked on the side, put it on sports mode and set the Jaguardrive on Dynamic mode. Then… I just punched it… BOOM 300 horses unleash and 700Nm presented themselves by pushing me deep into my seat. Right there I felt it. The same feeling I had when I first drove a proper fast car. The excitement, the adrenaline, and the gut punching feeling with every gearshift. No longer did I feel I was sitting in luxury, at that moment all I could feel was the heritage of motorsports of this brand.
You can probably sense that I pretty much enjoyed the fast and powerful aspect of the vehicle, but now I have to be all mature and talk about the rest of the stuff.
Well as you could imagine the interior is pretty much top notch. The finest leather on the seats, the finest alcantara on the roof, and some cool looking aluminium and carbon fibre detailing from front to back. The panoramic roof is huge, albeit pretty much useless in Malta due to the fact that the scorching sun will singe any hairs on your head if used during summer. The Jaguardrive system is extremely intuitive and pretty nippy. Style-wise the F-pace range looks stunning, and fits quite well in the Jaguar family.
The engine is phenomenal. Tame in the city but fierce in the wild. The flappy-paddle gearbox is reactive and quick (especially on sports mode), which strikes a perfect balance with the throttle response. The steering has a nice feel to it, however I do believe that I would have rather had a mechanical steering rather than the electric one. The reason is simple. To me a car is something which is alive, something I can bond with and many enthusiasts agree. A mechanic steering gives the real feeling of what’s happening on the road, sharing the force feedback as you drive along. An electric one on the other hand detaches the driver from the wheels, giving him more comfort and ease. I do understand this reasoning, because at the end of the day this is a luxury car, and the people driving this car want to feel comfy. But hey I needed to be honest.
When it comes to cornering, I was happy to experience the torque vectoring system which was adapted from the the F-type (the sexiest god damn jaguar since the e-type). The inner wheels brake automatically according to the speed you enter the curve, this allows for sharper cornering at speed as well as a marginal decrease in under-steer. Match this with the AWD system adapted to this machine, and you have a fast car which is glued to the road. And what does this add up to? Fun times and soiled underwear of course.
Bottom line: Well I have to admit that albeit sceptical, I was rather impressed. The engine is a thing of beauty and the driving experience manages to give you a false sense that you are driving a sports car rather than an SUV. The thing is massive and the weight can be felt at times, but when purchasing this car these details are expected. You are indeed buying an SUV and not a coupe.
The sheer balance between savagery and luxury is borderline insane. I sincerely fell in love with the F-Pace… If only I had the money…
Written by: Matthew Cesareo