Frankfurt Auto Show: Jaguar Unveils First SUV

Jaguar F-Pace - H 2015
Courtesy of Jaguar

Jaguar F-Pace - H 2015

With the F-Pace, Jaguar finally joins Porsche, Mercedes, BMW and even Bentley among luxury carmakers embracing SUVs.

Jaguar unveiled its long-awaited F-Pace compact SUV on Monday at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt — and not a moment too soon.

The maker of British sporting cars has been upping its game under design director Ian Callum — the F-type roadster and coupe are among the most arresting sports cars on the road today — but has lagged in introducing an SUV, which every other luxury car maker has embraced thanks to seemingly insatiable demand. Porsche is working through a seven-month backlog of deliveries for its mid-sized Macan SUV, and Tesla Motors has booked more than 20,000 preorders for its Model X SUV, which drops on Sept. 29.

Jaguar has considered building an SUV since 2012 and showed a concept SUV, the C-X17, in 2013, that is very similar to the production F-Pace introduced on Monday. The decision to take the plunge and actually build the SUV was cause for considerable soul-searching within the company.

Callum said at the car's unveiling in Frankfurt that he'd never envisioned himself designing an SUV but in the end the F-Pace "has all the true character of a Jaguar."

Built on the same platform as Jaguar's XE sedan the F-Pace shares the Jaguar fascia, with taillights strongly reminiscent of those on the F type. 

If Porsche's experience with the Macan, with which the F-Pace will directly compete, and the Cayenne, Porsche's first SUV, which doubled the company's market share among women when it was introduced in 2002 and is now Porsche's best-selling vehicle, Jaguar's first SUV could greatly expand the brand's reach. Jaguar hopes the F-Pace will help to triple its sales in North America.  

The F-Pace will start at $40,900 when it goes on sale in North America in 2016.