Here’s the first official naked picture of the 2016 Jaguar F-Pace. Could you possibly imagine a car more completely defined by What’s Hot Right Now?

Many of us look at a rakish British performance SUV and ask– “why?” After all, Jaguar props its entire brand on a sports car-vibe (even if their prevailing models are sedans) and on top of that the automaker’s blood brothers with one of the most recognized SUV labels on the planet! What the heck are they doing building a jacked-up station wagon of their own?

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Well the answer’s pretty simple: Jaguar would like to sell some cars now, please.

Jaguar might have once been the official car for men who want handjobs from beautiful women they hardly know, but the head shed has been edging the company toward the mainstream for a while now. Whether that’s their own initiative or an edict from their corporate overlords at Tata we may never know (Jaguar Land Rover maintains their rich dad is “hands-off.”)

What we do know is that Jag’s been trying to pad the appeal of their lineup and finally make an earnest effort at taking on the Big Germans. It’s basically a three-part strategy; fit more tech and toys, make their cars cheaper, and, uh, start selling an SUV.

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For a little more context, here’s what the sport-luxury scoreboard looks like: BMW sold 10,163 3-Series sedans in America last month. Mercedes sold 7,154 C-Classes. The Lexus IS trailed with 4,537 sales, and Jaguar’s entire lineup netted 1,143 sales.

Jaguar and Land Rover may effectively be the same company, but which do you see more of on the road?

If Jaguar’s going to establish relevance, they’re not going to beat the segment-benchmarks with slightly more interesting sporty sedans. The German and Japanese brand names are just too powerful.

The F-Pace might seem like a strange choice for a “performance” car company with an entire cousin-company devoted to SUVs, but it’s the only move if they want to get to the next level of relevance in the luxury automaker market.

Does that mean the company’s losing its boutique charm? Eh. The awesomeness of the F-Type would be evidence to the contrary, and come on, this high-riding station wagon really looks pretty darn nice.

Crossover SUVs might get razzed in internet comments, but the voters that automakers actually care about (buyers) have spoken with their wallets and proclaimed this segment as What The People Want. I wouldn’t be surprised if the F-Pace surges to Jag’s top volume spot if the company can build enough.

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Full specs and details on the Jaguar F-Pace will be coming out of the Frankfurt International Auto Show on September 15, at 4:30 AM EDT. Until then, all we really know is that the profile looks a whole lot like a Range Rover Sport and will be built in the same city Land Rover’s HQ’ed at; Solihull, England.

Image via Jaguar


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.