When scoring an ‘F’ is a good thing

Russell Anderson, managing director of Asia Pacific Importers, Jaguar Land Rover Singapore, at the launch of the F-Pace in Singapore. — Picture courtesy of Jaguar/TODAYRussell Anderson, managing director of Asia Pacific Importers, Jaguar Land Rover Singapore, at the launch of the F-Pace in Singapore. — Picture courtesy of Jaguar/TODAYSINGAPORE, July 16 — If the design gurus at Jaguar decided to put their collective minds into designing something as innocuous as say, an ironing board, it would probably be the sexiest ironing board on the planet.

It would ooze so much “Jaguarness” and you would stare so longingly at it that your significant other would become insanely jealous. Or incredibly creeped out.

Thankfully for petrolheads the world over and their significant others, Jaguar’s design department has decided to continue unleashing Jaguarness on cars instead of the more mundane things in life. And one of the latest results of their handiwork was launched here on Thursday, the F-Pace Sport Utility Vehicle.

Riding high

Jaguar has seen its share of ups and downs over the years but is currently riding the crest of a wave that is being propelled by the likes of the F-Type coupe and convertible, a new lineup of sedans, and of course, the F-Pace. SUVs aren’t supposed to look this sporty and feline, but the F-Pace does, and looks far better in the metal than in pictures.

Carmakers can ill-afford to make any mistakes when launching a new model, but for Jaguar, the stakes were slightly higher.

Late entrants to the SUV game, it had to take on a slew of established competitors from the likes of rivals such as BMW.

“You can’t come into a segment like that and be another ‘me-too’ product. You have to be very distinct,” said Russell Anderson, managing director of Asia Pacific Importers, Jaguar Land Rover Singapore.

The F-Pace not only expanded the base of Jaguar’s offerings, Anderson said it expanded its customer base as well. “It brings new people, it brings families to the brand who perhaps wouldn’t have considered us.

“And in terms of demographics, it’s a much younger buyer than we traditionally would have assumed for the Jaguar brand.”

A different slice of the pie

While the F-Pace offers strong potential to boost Jaguar’s balance sheets and order books, what about the potential effect on the other half of the group, sister-brand Land Rover?

For now at least, it only sells off-road vehicles, but could this product strategy eventually lead to a civil war of Captain America-esque proportions? No, said Anderson.

While the F-Type is equipped with all-wheel drive and is a capable off-roader, it is aimed at a different slice of the pie.

“Land Rover and Jaguar share a lot of commonality, but they stand for very different things. The F-Pace, as an SUV, is a fundamentally different proposition to anything that Land Rover offers in the marketplace.

“Land Rover are the custodians, if you will, of that much more traditional off-road capability-driven focus.”

“For all the fact that it is an SUV in form, it is fundamentally true to being a Jaguar. It is absolutely a driver’s car, it is absolutely a performance car,” he added.

Power to pounce

Performance is definitely the name of the game with the F-Pace, especially in petrol-powered guise. At launch, the F-Pace will be available here with three engine options: A 2-litre, four-cylinder diesel producing 176hp and 430Nm of torque; a 3-litre V6 producing 335hp and 450Nm of torque, and a 3-litre V6 producing 375hp and 450Nm of torque.

Jaguar says the petrol-powered F-Pace variants share the same 3-litre engines with the F-Type two-seater sportscar, and the result is decidedly un-SUV-like levels of performance: The F-Pace 3.0 V6 Supercharged S variant, for instance, completes the 0-100kmh sprint in 5.5s.

Launch prices range from S$250,999 (RM734,450) for the 2.0D Prestige model to S$344,999 for the 3.0 V6 Supercharged S variant. — TODAY