Back in college, while being introduced to pretty girls who could do a thing or two to your heartbeat, some of us would tremblingly wait for her to spell her name. For, those were the times when Dousy or Lousy were ‘names’ in our part of the town, as a rhyming compliment to a sibling named Daisy or Lucy! I’ve always thought about those who become their boyfriends or husbands. The first thing those men would have to learn to love would be their names. Or yeah, they could choose to love them yet hate their names.
Which is what I am gearing myself up to do when two of the most awaited SUVs in recent times will be launched across this year and the next. One costing almost twice the other, nevertheless both premium, luxurious and alluring. While both SUVs will finally go on sale only in 2016, the starting point to the story is that they both just got their names. The new cub in the Jaguar family will answer to the name ‘F-Pace’ while the SUV from Bentley is named after a 4642-foot peak in Spain’s Grand Canary Island – ‘Bentayga’. Both the vehicles didn’t reveal more than their names or a figment of their design at the Detroit show.
Where the Jag gets its name is rather obvious if not totally understandable. What Ian Callum, the design boss at JLR said at Detroit sounded more like an excuse than a reason. I will buy the claim about the power of the F-Type to inspire. Even though it isn’t the most obvious thing between the two-seat firebrand sports car and the five-seat contender to the Porsche Macan’s place in the new SUV topography. “The F-Pace is our family sports car,” – Ian Callum’s words attempt to design a bridge between the new SUV and the sporting spirit of Jaguar. Coming from Callum, we quickly learn to live with it and stick our stares on the SUV, which lives up to Jaguar’s Performance SUV tag. After all, Callum just couldn’t have called the F-Pace anything that vaguely resembled S.U.V. after having made his now famous statement a few years ago – “Jaguar looks like it’s going fast even when it’s standing still. An SUV looks like it’s standing still, even when it’s moving.”
Interestingly, while Jaguar adopted the F, Bentley dropped it from the name of its SUV concept that was called EXP 9 F, where the F was supposed to preempt the name ‘Falcon’! Both the SUVs had sparked major interest with the concepts they revealed. The somewhat sleepy design of the EXP 9F got 2000 pre-orders but everyone hopes the Bentley will digress enough from its initial presentation. Bentley has clarified that the Bentayga will introduce a new design language for the brand, shaped by design chief Luc Donckerwolke. On the other hand, as for the F-Pace, in Callum’s words, “Every surface will change, but it will still resemble the CX17,” If I remember the glimpse I had through a short window at the 2013 Dubai International Motor Show, no complaints there.
The F-Pace will be built on Jaguar’s new lightweight aluminium platform that will carry the XE midsize sedan to be sold in Europe in May and even the XF version due later this year. Jaguar’s All-Surface Progress Control technology, which enhances traction by sensing a slippery surface, will be featured in the F-Pace. The SUV will share the same assembly line as the XE at Solihull, near Birmingham. In the third quarter of 2014, JLR contributed four-fifth of parent Tata’s revenue and, not surprisingly, will enjoy investments to the tune of 19.5 billion dirhams (3.5 billion pounds).
While JLR has zipped up their lips on the drivetrain, Bentley has hinted at three engine choices – a V8, a V8 plug-in hybrid, and a 12-cylinder monster, which could be the one that triggered the top speed rumours of 320 kmph.
The price of the Bentayga is guesstimated around the Range Rover Autobiography, in which case we could see JLR moving into an interesting battle in the Middle East, which involves two of their SUVs – the F-Pace being a new warrior in the market, and the other a veteran battling a new adversary.
Now that I have got to say those names a few times in the last 720 words, I am starting to like them. I better do. It’s important that I whisper their names in their hood fins, with all the love I have for them, when I finally get to rein their rides.