Jaguar F-Pace V6 Reminds Us Why We Love Supercharged Engines
There are many things we like about our 2018 Jaguar F-Pace long-term car, as well as some things we don’t care for, but easily one of the best things about it is the engine. Under the hood is the 380-horsepower supercharged V6 that Jaguar offers on other models. That amount of power would be fun in just about any car with any engine, but there are specific reasons why this particular engine is special, and it’s because of that supercharger.
Supercharged engines have a very different character than increasingly common turbo engines. One of the most noticeable differences being engine response. Unlike turbo engines, the F-Pace’s V6 feels hardwired to your foot. Every extra millimeter of pedal travel yields a slightly greater amount of tug. And the tug is felt immediately. Even the best turbo engines have a hard time recreating this response. The power band is very linear, as well, so you know exactly what you’re getting every time you hit the gas.
The engine is wonderfully torquey, too. Because the Jaguar’s engine uses a classic Roots-type blower, there’s a major improvement in low-end torque. This means that our F-Pace has loads of grunt for punting around at low-rpm and can seriously move when tromping on the gas. And because of the near-instant throttle response and linear power band, it doesn’t slam you in the back unexpectedly like some turbo engines do.
Despite how great these supercharged engines are to experience, we’re concerned that supercharged engines like this may disappear in all but ultra-limited production, high-performance cars such as the Chevy Corvette Z06 and Cadillac CTS-V. The reason being that car companies have to keep making cars more fuel efficient and lower emitting. Putting a supercharger on an engine is adding a handicap, since it takes engine power to spin the belt-driven supercharger. And when a turbo, which uses wasted energy from exhaust gas to spin the compressor and built boost, can effectively do the same thing, it’s hard to make a case for a supercharger.
We won’t give up hope completely, though. Mazda is using superchargers on its spark-assisted compression ignition gasoline engines. And while we’re not sure how powerful and sporty those will be, Mazda has said that it’s going with superchargers for exactly the reasons we like the Jaguar engine: smooth power and fast throttle response. They’re also expected to be 10- to 30-percent more efficient than regular gasoline engines, so they should meet regulations for a while into the future. Until those engines roll out though, we’ll continue to enjoy the one in our Jag.