It might be classed as a compact SUV, but weighing in at nearly 1.9 tonnes, the new Jaguar E-Pace is up to 380kg heftier than its closest rivals, which include Audi’s ageing Q3, BMW’s X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA.
And that’s comparing apples with apples, as all four vehicles are powered by 2.0-litre turbo fours, in petrol and diesel forms.
Remarkably, the E-Pace is even heavier than its larger F-Pace sibling, which tips the scales at around 1770kg, give or take.
At this week’s global media drive in Corsica, off the coast of Italy, CarAdvice spoke exclusively with Jaguar’s Vehicle Line Director Alan Volkaerts, who agrees the car was heavier than they would have liked. Volkaerts doesn’t see it as any sort of drawback to the capability of the brand’s second SUV, though.
“Would we like it to be lighter? Of course, but I guess when we started this project four years ago, we wanted to get this vehicle to market as quickly as possible, because naturally, we were really keen for a small SUV, as a cheaper entry point for the customer," he says.
“We didn’t want to take it off the aluminium architecture of the larger F-Pace, because that would have put it in the wrong price bracket for us, so we chose to go with that from the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport models. That meant it was an inherently steel platform, at least to begin with.”
But, in order to counter the overweight chassis, Jaguar’s engineers have essentially transformed it into hybrid architecture, using lightweight aluminium for the bonnet, roof and tailgate. There's also Jaguar Land Rover's Ingenium engine, which is also made of the lightweight metal.
“From the very beginning of E-Pace’s development, we had three key objectives: get the right entry price for the vehicle, get it to market quickly, and make sure it has proper Jaguar dynamics.
“To that end, we’ve dropped in the rear axle in out of the F-Pace, which is heavier than the current Evoque axle, but it delivered the integral multilink, which in turn delivered the dynamics we wanted - including the GKN Active Driveline technology, a four-wheel drive system similar to that which you’ll find on the Ford Focus RS.”
The E-Pace goes on sale in March, priced from $47,750 to $84,370 for the top-spec First Edition model, which Volkaerts says they are pleased with, given the significant development that went into the vehicle.
“We’re really pleased with the entry price, the driving dynamics, and to get it to market quickly, we couldn’t reinvent a new architecture from scratch.
"So, yes, we’ve sacrificed a little bit of weight to launch a vehicle off our current architecture, but have included all the right technology to deliver the right level of driving dynamics," Volkaerts says.