Jaguar took the official wraps off its new compact crossover SUV, the 2018 E-Pace by performing a spectacular 50-foot jump and 270-degree barrel roll to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. The stunt, which was held in London, kicked off the global introduction of the second crossover SUV in the British automaker’s lineup.

The 5-passenger, 2-row E-Pace will be offered in all-wheel drive only powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in two states of tune. Standard out is 246 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, while R-Dynamic models will see 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque from the engine. The standard models will be capable of accelerating to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds with a top speed of 146 mph, while the R-Dynamic versions hit 60 in 5.9 seconds and have a top speed of 151. In addition to all-wheel drive, all models will be equipped with 9-speed automatic transmissions.  Based on Jaguar’s platform underpinning its XE sedan, the 2018 E-Pace is expected to compete with other performance-oriented crossovers like the Porsche Macan and the recently introduced Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Slotted beneath the midsize F-Pace, the all-new E-Pace rides on a 105.6-inch wheelbase and measures 173.0 inches in overall length. All models offer 6.4 inches of ground clearance and stand 64.9 inches tall and are 78.1 inches wide. Curb weight is listed at 4,175 pounds.

Sporty Design

While the larger F-Pace has a slightly more upright appearance, the sportier E-Pace has a sleeker roofline that can be characterized as almost a fastback. Up front, the newest Jag carries the brand’s signature rectangular mesh grille flanked by LED-rimmed headlamps and large lower ducting. Side vents in the fenders are finished in chrome with a polished or satin finish depending on trim level. The wheel arches feature black extensions filled by wheels ranging in diameter from 17 to 21 inches. At the rear, there is a large upper tailgate spoiler and large jet engine-inspired exhaust tips to underscore the vehicle’s performance intent.

Inside, the cockpit design features a driver-oriented wraparound dash with a passenger grab handle on the center console, a layout inspired by the Jaguar F-Type 2-seat sports car. A two-tone approach used in that vehicle is also incorporated in the E-Pace. Instead of traditional wood accents, the vehicle makes extensive use of chrome trim. Premium leather is used on the steering wheel, center console grab handle and gear shifter, leather seating is standard on higher trim levels.

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Jaguar says that primary controls have been designed to promote driver engagement, while secondary controls have been made simpler and more intuitive to use. The center console is dominated by a 10-inch touchscreen that helps reduce the number of hard switches, while using rotary dials to operate climate control functions.

Spirited handling

The fully independent suspension on the E-Pace makes use of lightweight aluminum components to reduce unspring weight, while electric-assist rack-and-pinion power steering is expected to provide precise feedback and control. All models are equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes.

Speaking of brakes, the E-Pace will used brake-induced torque vectoring to balance the distribution of that force among all four wheels during cornering, which improves grip and steering control while reducing understeer and enhancing driver confidence.

The E-Pace is also equipped with All Surface Progress Control, a low-speed cruise control designed to handle low-traction conditions. The system can recognize the differences between surfaces and can enhance grip by automatically adjusting engine and brake settings. Operating between speeds of 1 and 18 mph, it assists vehicle startup on icy roads, wet grass and muddy tracks. It allows the vehicle to pull away from a stop and maintain a preset speed without the driver having to touch the pedals. It also assists the vehicle in maintaining a steady speed on climbing or descending inclines.

Seven-model lineup

The 2018 Jaguar E-Pace will be offered in no fewer than seven models including a First Edition version that will be available for the first full year of sales. Priced at $53,550, the First Edition tops the range and is offered in three colors (red, white and black). Powered by the base 246-horsepower engine, the First Edition rides on 20-inch satin finish split-spoke alloy wheels. The cabin features a special soft grain Windsor leather interior in ebony with red stitching and an ebony suede-cloth headliner. There’s configurable ambient interior LED lighting, a TFT head-up display, a gesture-controlled tailgate and unique badging as part of the package.

Core models in the range include the standard E-Pace, which starts at $38,600, followed by the E-Pace S at $41,500 and the E-Pace SE at $44,300. In addition to the more powerful 296-horsepower 2.0-liter engine, the E-Pace R-Dynamic models offer a more sophisticated active driveline that can send almost all the engine torque to either front or rear axles in extreme conditions. The E-Pace R-Dynamic S opens at $47,250; the SE version is $50,050, while the top R-Dynamic HSE model is priced at $53,100. All prices exclude $995 destination charges.

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