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2016 Jaguar F-Pace SUV teased | video

Imagine someone turning up for a New Year's Eve celebration on January 30th, 10 years later, and it will give you some idea of just how late Jaguar is in coming to the sporty SUV party, but there are plenty of reasons to believe its new F-Pace will be worth waiting for.

Jaguar, a company more famous for sleek, chic sports cars than high-sided soft-roaders, has just unveiled official photos of its all-new "performance crossover", ahead of its global unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show, where this storied marque will celebrate its 80th anniversary.

If it looks a bit like the offspring of a Jaguar F-Type and a Range Rover Evoque, that's probably not an accident. In the past, the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) group has kept its two brands from competing with one another, but the pressure to take Jag into the fast-growing SUV segment has led to the inevitable F-Pace, which should become the brand's top-selling vehicle in some markets. 

In the US, for example, the F-Pace could shift more units than all other Jaguar models combined.

Its arrival is just the latest step in a rapid expansion for the brand; it will be the third all-new product from Jaguar this year.

Land Rover's long-proven off-roading ability with Jaguar's proven stylistic flair should produce something quite special

Kevin Stride, Jaguar Land Rover's vehicle line director describes it as "a monumental year of transformation for the brand".

"First, with the introduction of the innovative Jaguar XE and followed closely by the class-leading all-new XF," Stride added. 

"Today is a proud moment for Jaguar as we launch the F-Pace, our first performance crossover."

The combination of Land Rover's long-proven off-roading ability with Jaguar's proven stylistic flair - the F-Type, to which this new car is supposedly related, is one of the most beautiful sports cars on the road - should produce something quite special.

The F-Pace has already been widely photographed as a camouflaged prototype - undergoing more than 400,000km of testing at the JLR facilities in Dubai and Sweden - and was even used a support vehicle for Team Sky during the Tour de France, so its existence has been far from top secret.

Other than being described as a performance crossover "for those who love driving" (making cars for people who hate driving is far more of a challenge, obviously) built using Jaguar's Lightweight Aluminium Architecture, details on the new five-seater are being kept under wraps until a global online video launch on September 14th, three days before it is physically unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Jaguar has revealed, however, that it will share its underpinnings with the XE, suggesting there might be rear-wheel-drive only models, as well as AWD, and that it will get double wishbone front suspension and an integral link rear, making it very much an SUV for sealed roads.

The electric steering should also be properly sporty, because it carries over from the F-Type.

The XE link would also suggest the possibility of four-cylinder engine options, but a supercharged V6 with around 250kW seems like the more logical choice for a volume seller.

Like most non-Land Rover sporty SUVs it will be aimed mostly at customers who would be horrified at the idea of ever actually driving off-road, which means the F-Pace is up against things like the Porsche Macan and will surely attempt to come in at close to, or less than, that car's $84,900 entry-level price when it goes on sale here next year.

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