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Jaguar launches new E-Pace with world record-breaking barrel roll

Jaguar E-Pace

Jaguar has a bit of a history of using insane stunts to launch a new vehicle; back in 2015 at the Frankfurt Auto Show, it set a new world record when stunt driver Terry Grant successfully performed a 19-metre, 360-degree loop with its then-new F-Pace. Yet all E-Paces bar the entry-level diesel come with four-wheel drive as standard, so this less significant than it first seems. Choose the 237bhp diesel or the 296bhp petrol engine and you'll get Jag's Active Driveline setup, which allows nearly all the engine's power to be sent to the rear wheels in certain circumstance to improve handling.

Taking Land Rover's D8 platform, which also underpins the Discovery Sport and Evoque, and before that the Freelander, Jaguar has cherry picked the chassis and platform components it requires to compete in this sector. To receive the more powerful 296-hp engine, buyers must opt for the R-Dynamic model, which also adds a unique front bumper with deeper outboard air intakes, body-colored sills, and lower rear bumper surfaces with a gloss black rear valence. Standard brake-based torque vectoring improves cornering ability, and a low-speed cruise control automatically adjusts engine and brake settings to help drivers maintain control in low-traction situations.

Next year, the E-Pace will be followed into showrooms by a production version of the I-Pace that's expected to be priced from about £60,000, while a larger model - possibly called the J-Pace - is expected in 2020.

All the E-Pace's engines are 2.0-litre affairs, but both the diesel and petrol variants are available with different power outputs. Naturally, this jump was computer-modeled before it was attempted in real life, and Grant's E-Pace was fitted with a roll-cage, a racing seat, and a harness.

The Jaguar design and engineering team have taken this vehicle to the next level tech-wise.

Of interest from an evo perspective is a serious amount of track time included in the testing. The E-PACE S will be $41,500, while the E-PACE SE will be $44,300. Perhaps we'll see a warmed-up "S" version sooner rather than later.

The design is already a giveaway that there is sports auto DNA in there. This is in contrast to the more imperial, upright stance of the larger F-Pace and treads that line of looking in line with its siblings while starting to define an aesthetic all of its own. On big wheels, anyway - sizes will range from 17-inch sadness to the 21-inch monsters that you can see in some of the pics. Like Porsche, Alfa Romeo and Maserati, Jaguar is a sports-car brand that is finding success translating its performance DNA to a broader luxury demographic hungry for utility vehicles.

A central cubby between the E-Pace's front seats will take a one-litre bottle of water laid flat, while Jaguar says the 10.5-litre door bins "dwarf those typically found in compact SUVs". As such, the Jaguar will share its four-cylinder-only status with the Evoque, exclusively using Jaguar's latest range of single and twin-turbocharged Ingenium petrol and diesel engines. It will instead be manufactured at factories in China and Europe. Jaguar will also build the E Pace in China when the model goes on sale there. Finally, the E-PACE First Edition will be $53,550.