Jaguar introduced its newly expanded 2018 model year lineup for North America last week, with the British automaker adding the subcompact E-Pace SUV, XF Sportbrake wagon, and XJR575 flagship sedan to its roster. With these new models, Jaguar hopes to continue the sales momentum that made it the fastest-growing automotive brand in the US market in 2016.
The 2016 model-year addition of the F-Pace SUV and XE sedan led to a doubling of the brandâ€™s annual sales, and its best showing since 2004. For the coming year, Jaguar aims to cover more bases and lure in the buyers it missed.The first new model, the stunning XF Sportbrake, marks the Jaguar brandâ€™s return to the premium station wagon segment in the United States. The last Jag wagon available in the U.S. was the decidedly less attractive X-Type Estate. On sale in late 2017, the XF Sportbrake offers generous interior space and a near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution for buyers who demand such balanced handling from a wagon.
Initially, the XF Sportbrake will draw its power from a 380-horsepower V6 and will be limited to the S trim level. Pricing for the XF Sportbrake S starts from $70,450 before delivery. Yes, it will have all-wheel drive â€” so now’s the time for all the auto enthusiasts to put their money where their mouth is. The last time Jaguar sold a wagon, U.S. buyers only took home 1,600 of them over a four-year run. Donâ€™t disappoint Ian Callum again.
Next up is the latest version of Jaguarâ€™s venerable XJ sedan, the XJR575. A full-size super sedan, the 2018 XJR575 continues a heritage of luxurious refinement and interior comfort. With a top speed of 186 mph, this range-topper boasts more power than any previous XJ. The model features a specially tuned 5.0-liter supercharged V8 generating, you guessed it, 575 horsepower. Pricing for the 2018 XJR575 starts from $122,400.
The final, but most notable, addition to the North American Jaguar lineup is the E-Pace SUV. The 2018 Jaguar E-Pace is a five-seat subcompact performance SUV that supposedly packs typical Jaguar design and performance into a more practical bodystyle. Competitors include the Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1. The E-Pace joins a growing Jaguar SUV family that includes the all-electric (and confusingly named) I-Pace Concept and the F-Pace. Smaller than the hot-selling F-Pace, the E-Pace is an important vehicle targeting a growing segment.
According to Jaguar design director Ian Callum, â€œThe Jaguar E-Pace offers the perfect balance between performance, luxury and playfulness, bringing a unique sense of expression to the compact SUV market.â€�
While the E-Pace shares some styling similarities with the larger F-Pace, Callum claims one of its most significant styling influences is the F-Type sports coupe. This is especially noticeable in the headlights, front wheel arches, and lower portion of the doors.
The E-Pace arrives with two powertrains â€“ the 246-hp â€œP250â€� and the 296-hp â€œP300,” both turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinders. Each engine is matched with a nine-speed transmission and standard AWD. Pricing starts at $38,600. The more powerful E-Pace P300 starts from $47,250.
Of the three new models, only the E-Pace will have a significant impact on global Jaguar sales, especially in North America. Jaguar officials claim the E-Pace should become the second most popular Jaguar model in the U.S., behind the frontrunner F-Pace. (Currently, almost half of Jaguarâ€™s U.S. volume come from F-Pace sales.)
With the introduction of a smaller SUV, Jaguar’s continued, torrid sales growth seems a certainty. The E-Pace goes on sale in early 2018.
[Images:Â Â© Adam Tonge/The Truth About Cars]