Are you seated? OK, here goes. The price for the Jaguar F-Pace in Malaysia starts at RM598,800, and if you opt for the more fangled R-Sport variant, that would be an eye-watering RM658,800, before insurance and road tax are included. You’re probably throwing your arms up the air by now because for that kind of money, you can have two Mercedes-Benz GLC250 or two BMW X3 xDrive20i plus a nice holiday flying on business class.
Of course, Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia (JLRM) will point out to you that the F-Pace offered currently is the one powered by a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine (the four-cylinders won’t be ready till late next year) and that Jaguar’s first ever SUV is in fact positioned against the Porsche Macan S which starts life at RM610,000 (easily more with a few ticks on the option list). Perhaps JLRM’s hands are forced, the F-Pace is after all fully imported and at the mercy of the Ringgit’s fluctuations. But taking the fight to Porsche, a stablemate under the Sime Darby automotive umbrella incidentally, is going to be a very tall order.
On paper, the 340hp/450Nm F-Space is within the performance benchmarks of the 340hp/460Nm Macan S. It breaches 100km/h from idle in 5.8 seconds, just a tad slower against 5.4 seconds of the Porsche. The Jaguar utilises an eight-speed automatic while the Macan S a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK; all-wheel-drive being standard on both. And despite the F-Pace being slightly larger in key dimensions, its ‘base’ kerb weight is actually lighter than the Porsche’s thanks to the class-leading use of aluminium in construction, even if the savings is merely 45kg over the Macan S (1820kg against 1865kg as per manufacturers’ numbers).
Now, let’s assume that the F-Pace has the Macan S pegged in performance, has an edge in features (as a newer car should) along with price parity, affluent and brand-conscious buyer are simply going to weigh the Jaguar’s cachet against Porsche’s. Taking into account the respective brand standings, the decision isn’t likely to be in favour of the British marque. And since brand building takes ages, the only way the F-Pace would have stood a fighting chance against the Macan was a favourable price.
Like it or not, when the handsome F-Pace is made available with the 2.0-litre Ingenium turbo engine next year, shoppers are going to compare that against what’s offered by Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi (with its new Q5). So, here’s hoping that JLRM chooses its benchmark carefully the next time around given how pivotal the F-Pace (or any SUV/crossover) is to the growth of Jaguar in Malaysia.