Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Jaguar F-Pace: The allure of style and power

Never has a car made a more spectacular entrance: the Jaguar F-Pace was suspended by helicopter above the thousands who had gathered for the annual Simola Hill Climb in Knysna


The sleepy southern Cape town of Knysna is famed for its dramatic and lush forests, juicy oysters and mansions that sneer down at the rest of the town with disdain.

But once a year, it’s distinguished tranquility is disrupted by great plumes of exhaust fumes as a mayhem of V8 engines roar their way up Simola Hill to the cheers of thousands of petrolheads.

The 7th Annual Jaguar Simola Hill Climb was the perfect event to launch a car – by suspending it some 300m above the heads of the eager crowd.
Jaguar F-Pace: The allure of style and power
Ordinarily, the sight of a car levitating above one’s head would cause a stir, but when that car is the F-Pace, Jaguar’s first foray into the SUV segment, you are guaranteed utter pandemonium.

“The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb is the perfect setting for unveiling the anticipated F-Pace. It offers dynamic capabilities and performance synonymous with Jaguar, but also brings a new level of practicality and AWD capability to the brand,” said Lisa Mallett, Marketing Director of Jaguar Land Rover SA and sub-Saharan Africa. “The F-Pace is the kind of car that you could drive across the country to visit Knysna and then take on the high-speed twists and turns of the challenging hillclimb.”

I’m usually quite level-headed upon seeing and testing luxury cars as a Motoring Editor, but I couldn’t resist hopping into one of the many Land Rover Discovery vehicles that served as VIP shuttles to catch a glimpse of the F-Pace when it landed at the Simola Hill hotel. And, dear reader, my pre-pubescent enthusiasm was well warranted…

The appeal of a Jaguar for me has always been the facade of understated sophistication that elegantly masks gnawing power. In this case, the F-pace is undeniably a Jaguar: clean, elegant design lines with a contoured rear inspired by the F-Type and the added addition of brushed aluminium twin exhaust pipes. In the front, it has retained Jaguar’s honeycomb grille and giant air vents that lend it a barely restrained promise of power.

But just because it’s an SUV, doesn’t mean it can’t chase like a Jag. It is equipped with a 3,0-litre super-charged V6 engine, producing 280kW and mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which allowed the F-Pace to pounce from 0-100 km/h in 5,5 seconds. Not too shabby, considering Jaguar’s racehorse, the F-Type, licks the same distance in 3,9 seconds.

The F-Pace goes on sale in July, with pricing starting at R776 800.

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