Jaguar wants to keep pace with the fast-changing global luxury market, and that means it will debut its first crossover-utility vehicle, the F-Pace, at this week’s North American International Auto Show.
The new model is part of a broad array of changes planned for the luxury maker and its British sibling, Land Rover, both of which will also launch a new generation of high-mileage clean diesel options across their product lines.
The F-Pace, which will join the Jaguar family next year, is the production version of the C-X17 concept vehicle first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2013. It marks a dramatic shift in strategy at a brand that long debated even adding a station wagon to its line-up.
But the move also reflects changing market conditions, said Andy Goss, head of Jaguar Land Rover’s group sales operations. The F-Pace, he stressed, “is squarely aimed at the North American market,” where small crossovers are one of the fastest growing segments.
(Click Here for a quick guide to the most significant new products planned for the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.)
For the moment, Jaguar isn’t offering many more details about the crossover-utility vehicle, but it shares a number of basics with the upcoming XE sedan, starting with their new compact architecture. In fact, the British maker unveiled the C-X17 before showing the production XE, a move apparently meant to test public reaction to the controversial expansion of its line-up.
That also helped to underscore the flexibility of the maker’s new compact aluminum-intensive platform, which company insiders have told TheDetroitBureau.com could be used for still more new product variants.
Both the F-Pace and the XE will be powered by the new Ingenium powertrain family, which will be produced at a new plant in the U.K., and it will be shared by both Jaguar and its sibling brand Land Rover. The turbocharged engines will be modular in design, allowing a wide flexibility of offerings off the same architecture. Significantly, the Ingenium engines will be used in both in-line and transverse vehicle configurations, and in both rear- and all-wheel-drive models.
“Being configurable and flexible are the two key strands of Ingenium’s DNA because we have future-proofed our new engines from the outset,” Ron Lee, the company’s director of Powertrain Engineering, said just before the official debut of the XE sedan.
The F-Pace, meanwhile will become the first vehicle on the Jaguar side that will be offered will be offered with a diesel option, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder version of the Ingenium.
(For more on the new Jaguar Land Rover diesel program, Click Here.)
Meanwhile, like the XE, the new F-Pace will use an Integral Link rear suspension to improve stiffness, response and handling without, the maker says, sacrificing ride comfort. The front double-wishbone suspension, it adds, has been modeled after the design in use on the F-Type.The maker also claims that a new Electric Power Assisted Steering, or EPAS, system will deliver “benefits (which) include excellent steering feel, variable steering damping, ease of low-speed maneuvering and the ability to adapt to Jaguar Drive Control settings. EPAS also enables a range of Driver Aid features.”
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Jaguar’s decision to add a crossover may very well shock brand traditionalists. The marque, best known for its elegant saloon models and sensuous sports cars, debated for decades simply adding a station wagon to its product portfolio.
But crossovers have gained tremendous momentum in the luxury market in recent years, and compact CUVs make up one of the fastest-growing product segments.
The challenge has been to come up with an offering that didn’t cannibalize demand for sibling brand Land Rover’s more classic sport-utility vehicles.
The design of the F-Pace will make it clear the crossover is a very different animal. And though its all-wheel-drive system will give it the ability to handle some mild off-road situations, it will be better attuned to snowy streets than dusty trails.
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