2021 Jaguar F-Pace P400 Advances with Inline-Six Power

We were always fans of the sound and performance of Jaguar’s compellingly strange supercharged V-6—the one that basically dropped a pair of three-cylinder heads atop what had originally been an eight-cylinder block—but we were less keen on the extra mass this over-large powerplant had to carry around. The Jaguar F-Pace was the last car using that rowdy V-6, and a substantial facelift for 2022 brings a range-topping straight-six that seems like a much more obvious fit for a Jaguar.

The entry level 246-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine will continue as before, but there is now a 3.0-liter six-cylinder above it. Employing both an electric supercharger and a twin-scroll turbocharger, the six will be available in 335- and 395-hp outputs, and we drove the more powerful of these—badged P400—in the United Kingdom.

The F-Pace was always a fine-looking ute, and Jaguar tightened up the design without doing anything to radically transform it. (Most of the work was done under the direction of former design boss Ian Callum before he left the company in 2019.) The F-Pace gets a slightly larger and reshaped grille and a tidier new hood, with slimmed-down headlights that incorporate twin curved daytime running lights on both sides. There is a new bumper at the back with trapezoidal exhaust finishers in place of the older car’s conventional tailpipes and also new taillights inspired by those of the Jaguar I-Pace.

Changes in the cabin are more substantial and have had more effect—the F-Pace’s interior was feeling old after nearly five years on the market. Now it gets a redesigned dashboard and center console, shaped to accommodate a substantial 11.4-inch curved glass touchscreen that sits in the center of the car. Other touch points have been upgraded, too, with a new steering wheel that includes haptic touch-sensitive switches and the arrival of classy Range Rover-style rotary heating and ventilation controls in place of the old car’s black plastic buttons. Jaguar also replaced the original pop-up rotary shift knob with a more conventional selector. An eight-speed automatic is now the only transmission choice, not that the United States ever got the rarely ordered manual. Driving modes are now chosen by a smaller rotary knob that cycles between Dynamic, Comfort, Eco, and a low-traction setting dubbed Rain, Ice, Snow.

The arrival of Jaguar Land Rover’s smart new Pivi Pro infotainment system is the most welcome interior upgrade. Besides looking much more contemporary than the old InControl Pro system, it is also simpler and far more intuitive to use, while supporting over-the-air updates. The cabin’s materials feel noticeably plusher than before, and the uncluttered design makes it feel more spacious; accommodation is roomy in the front and acceptable in the rear. Heated seats and a 14-speaker sound system will be standard, and the cabin’s air-ionization system (able to catch particulates down to just 2.5 microns in size) and active noise-cancellation system further work to isolate the F-Pace interior from the messy world outside. Jaguar claims the noise-reduction system can reduce overall interior sound levels by up to 4 decibels.

On the move, the contribution made by the noise-cancellation system can’t be detected—which is kind of the point—but the F-Pace’s cabin did seem impressively well-insulated over frequently low-quality U.K. asphalt. Only a hint of wind whistle from the mirrors and doors at higher cruising speeds disturbed the tranquility of the cabin. Ride quality is good, and the chassis feels well damped over the roughest roads, despite our test car riding on vast 22-inch wheels. As before, the steering yields linear, accurate reactions, and the chassis generates impressive grip at both ends, although fast progress does come at the expense of noticeable body lean. The F-Pace was originally benchmarked against the Porsche Macan, and it shares something of its German rival’s exceptionally well-rounded, dynamic personality. It might lack the ultimate athleticism of the equivalent Macan S, but the Jaguar combines pliancy and precision as well as anything else in the segment.

The new engine suits the car well, but the transmission tends to hamper the repowered Jaguar’s reactions. The F-Pace is happy to deliver full-throttle launches without drama, and Jaguar’s claim of a 5.1-second zero-to-60-mph time felt believable. Throttle response is good and there is very little lag, but sudden requests for acceleration while cruising in Drive seemed to confuse the powertrain, with a distinct pause as the transmission worked out its kickdown strategy and then delivered the chosen gear. Choosing Sport mode improved responses but led to the car holding onto lower gears for much longer than necessary. The system’s brain should have more faith in the engine’s peak 406 pound-feet of torque, which is present all the way from 2000 rpm to 5000 rpm. Manual gear selection is always an option, of course—and Jaguar deserves credit for the pleasing size and weighty action of the paddles behind the steering wheel.

Although hugely clever, the new engine lacks some of the character that offset its predecessor’s relative lack of sophistication. The electric supercharger functions invisibly, as does the 48-volt hybrid system that uses a belt-driven generator to charge the small lithium-ion battery beneath the rear seats. The Ingenium six is happy to work hard, going all the way to its 6750-rpm limiter under manual gear selection. It sounds muscular when it does so, but it lacks the top-end snarl that made hard progress so much fun in the old car.

Understandably, Jaguar hasn’t made radical changes to its bestselling model, but the revisions have collectively brought the F-Pace up to date. The new engine has more power and improved fuel economy, equipment levels are better, and the cabin has metamorphosed from an also-ran to a genuine front-runner. Pricing starts at $51,345 for the four-cylinder P250 and will top out at $66,550 for the R-Dynamic S.

Specifications

Specifications

2021 Jaguar F-Pace P400 R-Dynamic S

VEHICLE TYPE

front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

BASE PRICE

$66,550

ENGINE TYPE

supercharged, turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement

183 in3, 2996 cm3
Power

395 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque

406 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm

TRANSMISSION

8-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 113.1 in

Length: 186.9 in

Width: 76.2 in

Height: 65.5 in

Passenger volume: 97 ft3

Cargo volume: 27 ft3

Curb weight (C/D est): 4600 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)

60 mph: 5.0 sec

100 mph: 12.7 sec

1/4 mile: 13.5 sec

Top speed: 155 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/city/highway: 22/20/26 mpg

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