Head to head

A FAST íNí FURIOUS FACE-OFF

BMW X3 M40I v JAGUAR F-PACE S 35T

BMW takes a different approach to Jaguar, stacking the X3 M40i full of equipment like a head-up display, a premium Harman/kardon sound system, adaptive headlamps, power tailgate and heated seats all as standard. It certainly wants for little, and its spec list absolutely reinforces the M40iís flagship status. All that, and the top-dog X3 still manages to retail for less than $100,000. 19/20

Price & equipment

The fast Jag has the disadvantage of having a six-figure sticker thatís made worse by a standard spec that leaves off items that weíd expect to be standard at its price point. The basics are there, but what about a powered tailgate or Jagís high-end infotainment suite? Theyíre reserved for the options list, and our testerís $141K as-tested price shows just how expensive speccing up the F-Pace can get. 13/20

Itís a dark cabin, but one that looks premium and feels sporty thanks to classy design and superb seats. More wagon-shaped than the sleeker Jaguar, the X3 also boasts commendable space and practicality Ė not to mention mod-cons. Speaking of which, the high-set infotainment screen and BMWís iDrive controller remain segment-leading for ease of use and feature-count. 17/20

Interior & connectivity

Even in top-shelf guise the F-Paceís interior is more about restrained elegance than overt luxury, with design thatís uncluttered but lacking in the flair youíd expect of a premium SUV. Meanwhile, though our car was fitted with Jaguarís higher-end 10.2-inch Touch Pro Navigation system, the interface needs refinement to make it intuitive and maximise all of that screen real estate. 13/20

The X3 M40i is more focused when dialled to Sport Plus, yet remains plush for daily duty in Comfort mode. Want to have fun? The M40i responds with a taut chassis and weighty steering. Just dropping off the kids? The dampers slacken to ensure juniorís breakfast stays down. Itís versatile and ably covers the performance/ practicality criteria thatís the raison díetre of hi-po SUVs. 18/20

Ride & handling

Itís clear Jaguar has reserved the properly dynamic chassis settings for the F-Pace SVR, because though the 35t is clearly an adept handler, it has a softness to its suspension that positions it more as a powerful cruiser rather than a properly performance-oriented F-Pace option. Even so, its rear-biased AWD system and torque vectoring means it can corner like a cut cat if you ask it to. 16/20

BMWís turbo inline six might not feel as alert Ė nor as powerful Ė as the Jagís engine, but its strength lies in its 50Nm peak torque advantage and massive reserves of low-rpm thrust. Its 4.8-second 0-100km/h sprint is also 0.7s ahead of the Jag so itís a straight-line winner, while itís all backed up by a booming exhaust soundtrack plus an intelligent (and fast-shifting) eight-speed auto. 17/20

Performance & economy

Jaguar opts for a supercharger instead of a turbo to augment the F-Paceís 3.0-litre V6, resulting in an engine with a very different feel to the BMW. Itís ultra-responsive with a wonderfully linear power delivery, while the exhaust note has a sports-car raspiness to it thatís more musical than the BMWís tone. Eight-speed auto is great in Drive, but not especially crisp in manual mode. 17/20

BMWís standard factory warranty runs to three years and has no distance limitation, and while maintenance intervals vary according to usage, a range of fixed-price servicing packages take a lot of uncertainty out of the X3 M40iís running costs. The basic pack costs $1800 and covers five years/80,000km of ownership, while a package covering brake components and wipers costs $4400. 15/20

Warranty & servicing

Jaguar provides three years and 100,000km of warranty coverage, which is at the low end of the scale these days, however the company offers a servicing plan for the F-Pace that covers scheduled maintenance for the first five years or 130,000km of ownership for a fixed price of $1800 Ė provided you take your car to a Jaguar dealership to have the work done. 16/20