We found 0.88 g of grip on the skidpad, improving on the 0.81 and 0.84 numbers posted by the previously listed competitors and matching the Macan GTS; however, only the First Edition models are endowed with the sticky Pirelli P Zero summer tires, so we expect that results for lesser F-Paces will suffer. The prevailing handling characteristic was mild understeer, but the variable-rate electrically assisted power steering does little to telegraph any breaking news regarding the front tires’ contact patches. If we felt let down by one objective measurement, it was the mediocre 16-mpg fuel-economy figure we recorded in mixed driving. We’d hoped at least to hit the EPA city fuel-economy rating of 18 mpg.
These modes are entertaining to monkey with, but most of the time we just left everything in Dynamic mode. Only super-rough pavement or particularly sensitive passengers necessitated dulling the responses by switching to the Normal setting. Similarly, we usually let the eight-speed automatic call its own shifts rather than using the paddles.
The F-Pace’s chassis is adept at multitasking. Credit the Adaptive Dynamics package (called ADP), which includes electronically adjustable Bilstein dampers, fitted to all First Editions. Buyers of Prestige and R-Sport models can add the ADP for $1000, and they should consider doing so—we found the setup deftly kept harsh impacts at bay when traversing broken pavement. In addition to the dampers, the ADP option allows the driver to select Dynamic or Normal modes individually for throttle mapping, the transmission shift strategy, and steering effort.
Although our initial exposure to the F-Pace left us feeling pretty good about its blend of performance and comfort, we now have objective data about how it stacks up to the competitive set. The zero-to-60-mph romp consumed 5.3 seconds, matching the number set by the 2015 BMW X3 xDrive35i we tested and putting a 0.6-second smackdown on the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300. We expect the upcoming 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 to present more of a challenge. The Porsche Macan, however, fries the bacon of all three crossovers, with our test of a 2017 Macan GTS clocking the measure in 4.4 seconds. Quarter-mile times fit in a similar hierarchy, with the F-Pace S’s 13.9-second time matching the BMW X3’s, while the GLC300 trails at 14.7 seconds and the Macan GTS again leads with a speedy 13.1-second run. The Jaguar’s V-6, at least, sounds nearly as wonderful in the F-Pace as it does in the F-type sports car.
Although our F-Pace S First Edition represents peak pricing for the range, its key elements—the 380-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, eight-speed automatic, and Adaptive Dynamics package—can be had for significantly less in the F-Pace S AWD. Getting the Porsche Macan GTS’s performance edge would ding the budget about $10,000 deeper; the German starts at $68,250, the GTS we tested stickered at more than $77,000, and Porsche tells us the first batch of orders averaged $88,000 with options. For those who won’t miss the F-Pace S model’s extra power, a base model with a V-6 starts at less than $44,000. And the diesel model, the 20d, hits showrooms this fall wearing a reasonable $41,985 starting price. With 318 lb-ft of torque at 1750 rpm from its compression-ignition inline-four, it should perform well enough while returning better fuel-economy numbers.
As for us, the cantankerous sorts with dubious regard for the luxury/performance-crossover segment? Well, that battle is over. Bloodied but somewhat unbowed, our sneers have been largely redirected toward the so-called “crossover coupe” segment. For now.
It’s a Jaguar—and a Relative Bargain
As we pointed out in our first drive of the 2017 F-Pace, Jaguar is one of the last manufacturers to get in on this popular segment, arriving a full 13 years after the BMW X3 (and 17 after the X5) began prowling the well-heeled burbs. Our first impressions of the F-Pace were of a well-rounded vehicle—the Jaguar crossover displaying an impressive amalgam of comfort, styling, and interior space—for a surprisingly restrained base price of $43,385 for the 35t with a 340-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V-6.
A decade or so ago, walking into the C/D offices and casually asking the staff how we felt about the emerging luxury- and/or performance-crossover segment would have elicited a collective sigh. For enthusiasts who grew up in an era when BMWs, Porsches, and—to the point here—Jaguars occupied rarefied space in the automotive landscape, the risk of tainting a storied bloodline by mixing with one-size-fits-most crossovers seemed a real possibility.
The price for bypassing the order sheet and going straight for the VIP section: $71,095. Mathematically inclined readers will note that that’s $13,400 more than the $57,695 base price of the non–First Edition F-Pace S model. But adding all of the items in the previous paragraph individually to a 380-hp S model would consume time better spent actually driving the F-Pace. One factor that tilts the price wheel in favor of the First Edition is its exclusivity: Jaguar says only 275 F-Pace S First Editions will be sold in the United States.
But with more than a decade of booming sales now behind us, history has proved that the buying public shared little of our disdain. Given consumers’ willingness to lay down premium cash for crossovers wearing premium labels, the arrival of the Jaguar F-Pace was inevitable. What’s remarkable is how Jaguar managed to leave more than a smattering of the brand’s essence intact.
Shut Up and Drive
2017 JAGUAR F-PACE S FIRST
Given our concern that the brake pedal felt soft and ambiguous during our first drive, we were mildly surprised to find that the F-Pace S, at 160 feet and aided by its grippy Pirelli P Zero summer tires, is right up there with the best-stopping vehicles in its class, outbraking all but the Macan GTS in our 70-to-zero-mph test. And even the Porsche just barely bettered it with a 157-foot result. The Jaguar’s pedal action is still about as predictable as Gary Busey, but now we have proof that it’s actually doing the job well.
The F-Pace model at the tippy top of the lineup is the one tested here, a 2017 Jaguar F-Pace S First Edition. Selecting the F-Pace S First Edition achieves two objectives in one fell swoop: It bumps the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6’s output by 40 ponies to a hearty 380 horsepower, and it equips the F-Pace with essentially every luxury and performance option in the F-Pace arsenal. The hit parade starts with a set of 22-inch double-helix 15-spoke aluminum wheels shod with Pirelli P Zero tires, and it doesn’t let up from there. Head-up display? Yep. Automatic parking, adaptive cruise, leather seating, Wi-Fi hotspot, heated rear seats, rear A/C, and auto liftgate? All included. Rhodium Silver Metallic paint? The only color available. (Two things that First Edition status does not grant you, however, are a full-size spare tire and a trailer hitch, so you’ll have to select a lesser F-Pace if the objective is to tow that Coleman pop-up camper to Watkins Glen.) The only option available on the First Edition, which was on our test vehicle, is the $400 Activity Key—a Fitbit-like wristband that can be used to lock and unlock the vehicle.
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