Saturday, March 17, 2018

At the Malaysian Leg of 'The Art of Performance' Jaguar Driving Experience - Driving the Jaguar F-Pace 2.0

I had the opportunity to attend and participate in the Malaysian leg of Jaguar's The Art of Performance driving experience roadshow. This is part of the marque's Southeast Asian tour where it showcases how a Jaguar car performs. Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia took the opportunity to display the upcoming Jaguar F-Pace 2.0 SUV. It should be launched in Malaysia very soon and brings a more road tax affordable sporting SUV to the plate.

Anyway, Jaguar actually has their unique Smart Cone setup for us to maneuver through using the 2018 Jaguar F-Pace 2.0. This is the exact model which will be sold here and it is quite a memorable experience driving through a random course where the cones would change colour to mark where you should head to next. You have to drive with precision and not just speeding through the cones like a time attack. You have to actually take into account one other point other than just speed but precision as your course through the cones must be as close to the middle point of the two cones as possible. It is quite tricky but very enjoyable. And you cannot get lost through the course anyway!

As for the F-Pace 2.0, it handles very well for a compact luxury crossover/SUV. It boils down to Jaguar's use of aluminium. Up to 80% of the chassis is made up of this lightweight alloy and it shows. You add that lighter 4 cylinder turbocharged 2.0 engine upfront (compared to the F-Pace 3.0) it has good turn-in and it seems to be a little less nose heavy than the faster in a straight line 3.0 V6 version. It may also save fuel but the only thing it actually lacks is that rorty sounding V6. The 4 cylinder Ingenium engine, JLR's newest and most efficient engine, is quite velvety for a 4 pot engine. I suppose in this day and age, and due to our location where road tax is based on engine size, this makes perfect sense. 

Aside from belting around in the F-Pace 2.0 on the Smart Cone circuit, I had the opportunity to try it on the roads surrounding Setia City Convention Centre where the drive experience was held. The F-Pace 2.0 rode well and was actually quite comfortable on the rough surfaces. Performance is not blistering like the 3.0 but adequate. It feels like a 8 second SUV which is actually good enough in most circumstances. Its on-road handling is also good with predictable roll and the SUV actually tracks well through the sweeping corners surrounding the convention centre. Refinement seems to be good with the engine having a nice velvety soundtrack where the engine seems to be making the right noises (for a 4 cylinder) a small distance away - which means soundproofing seems to be doing its work.

So JLRM hope to launch the F-Pace 2.0 sometime next month or so. They have not mentioned the pricing by it will be definitely more affordable than the F-Pace 3.0. There is some talk that it will be priced slightly under RM500k compared to the slightly under RM600k of the F-Pace 3.0 Prestige variant on sale right now. You can read our initial thoughts of the 3.0liter variants here when we tested it sometime in November 2016.

The roadshow area also comprises of a hospitality tent where two F-Paces were displayed inside. You can view the upcoming SUV in comfort with the usual sales people ready to attend to your questions. And then there is also another drive experience area where there are instructions to show and let you experience how the Jaguar sedans - the XF and the XE handle a wet, slippery circuit with and without anti-lock brakes as well as with and without traction control. There is also a taxi ride by experienced instructors where the purposely show you how it will feel to lose control without any driver's aid.

All in all, The Art of Performance Jaguar driving experience is a fine and fun experience. It is on this Saturday and Sunday - the 17th and 18th of March 2018. If you have the time, do head over to Setia City Convention Centre to experience a weekend of Jaguars. Even if the slots for the drive experience are full, there are still test drive sessions and a lot of other stuff to look at too.

You should, as these current crop of Jaguars are modern, fun to drive but still something of a different take to the usual Germanic crop of premium vehicles that most of us are used to see. 

[UPDATE] Here are two short videos prepared by Jaguar South East Asia regarding The Art Of Performance Tour in Malaysia (one above, and one below). You can see Yours Truly, the editor & founder of this blog in the videos. The first one above is the official Jaguar SEA marketing bit about The Art of Performance Tour here in Malaysia. I can be seen mentioning something about ''s all about the ride and handling..' at the 1m13sec to the 1m16sec mark. The second video below is one which they graciously put me in the staring role. Thank you Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia for the opportunity. 

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