Could this be a baby Jaguar SUV?

A Jaguar E-Pace cub for the F-Pace mid-sized SUV, which will debut at the Frankfurt show next month, is believed to be under development at Coventry

Jaguar E-Pace

JAGUAR is believed to be developing another SUV to complement the mid-sized F-Pace, which is headed for a production debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

Dubbed the Jaguar E-Pace, it would be a baby SUV aimed directly at the booming luxury compact crossover class inhabited by the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and GLC, and the Lexus NX.

The speculative rendering above shows a clear similarity with the F-Pace, which surfaced as the C-X17 concept at the 2013 Frankfurt show. Count on seeing a similar teaser strategy from sometime next year – perhaps at the 2016 Paris show.

Otherwise, details remain pretty sketchy, especially as Jaguar will neither confirm nor deny that the E-Pace exists.

Jaguar -F-Pace
 A Jaguar F-Pace SUV in testing. Is a smaller model on the way?

Jaguar’s head of design, Ian Callum, was not willing to speak of such a model when probed by Wheels, even though reportedly he had suggested at the New York motor show that a smaller E-Pace SUV would be more likely than a seven-seat J-Pace.

“I can’t possibly talk about that,” was his blunt response at the recent 2016 Jaguar XF launch. His declining to offer a flat denial will not dampen speculation.

There are conflicting theories about what platform a cub SUV from the Coventry marque would ride on. Some say that it will be a premium product based on Jaguar’s new iQ[Al] rear-drive/all-wheel drive modular architecture that serves the new Jaguar XE (a BMW 3 Series competitor), the second-generation XF (BMW 5 Series sized) and – most tellingly – the F-Pace (a rival for the BMW X5). 

However, other sources reckon that the new Land Rover Discovery Sport’s D8 platform will underpin the E-Pace.

With even the 2016 BMW X1 switching to a front-drive base (BMW’s UKL platform, shared with the F56 Mini and 2 Series Active Tourer), the latter alternative is shaping as the more economically viable for taking on Munich, Ingolstadt, Stuttgart, and Tokyo – for its superior packaging and lower cost.

Wearing the Jaguar badge probably means the baby SUV will wear at least some aluminium body panels, keeping weight down, so that the anticipated engine line-up shouldn’t struggle. The engines would be Jaguar/Land Rover’s all-new Ingenium direct-injection turbo four-pot petrol and diesel units, of about 2.0-litres capacity. Count on six-speed manual and nine-speed automatic transmissions.

Finally – and perhaps most controversially – speculation suggests that Austria rather than the UK will be the E-Pace’s manufacturing base, thanks to an arrangement Jaguar Land Rover has with Magna Steyr. 

Where ever it hails from, expect the pricing to kick off from about $60,000 if sales start in 2018 or 2019 as predicted, topping out at well over $100,000 for the projected supercharged V6 versions.

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Byron Mathioudakis
Damion Smy

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