There’s more to it than power, though. The four-wheel-drive hardware in the D240 is different to that which you’ll find in lesser models. They use a Haldex system borrowed from the Evoque. Here you get the same GKN-built system found in a Ford Focus RS, with clutch packs either side of the rear differential. Their job is to control the flow of power to each wheel in such a way that the E-Pace is imbued with the rear-driven feel that an SUV built on a front-wheel-drive platform naturally lacks.
In normal driving there is no discernable difference. Exit corners with some commitment, however, and there is a faint but satisfying sensation of propulsion from the rear outside corner. Admittedly, it’s a little artificial, and only half of the available torque can head rearwards. It means that while the D240 feels sure-footed and brisk, it never really entertains – not to the standards set by Jaguar itself.
The stylish interior is a strong point, and looks particularly good when upholstered in two-tone leather (we’d also option the digital dials, for £510). Moreover, while the exterior design might seem a little blunt next to the F-Pace, it also has more about it than most rivals, and looks excellent in Borasco Grey (£615; don’t listen to those who call it ‘metallic primer’). But these things are fundamental to any E-Pace you can buy.
Should I buy one?
The D240 costs roughly £4000 more than the D180, and yet all those things that would make you want to own an E-Pace – the well-appointed interior, strong ergonomics, a prettiness rare among its peers and, by the standards of the segment, superb steering – all come as part of the less powerful package.
Consider also that in popular R-Dynamic trim, the principle benefit of which is a pair of excellent sports seats, the D240 crests £43,000. That’s enough for a handsomely equipped Alfa Romeo Stelvio or BMW X3 – both are larger cars and, truth be told, much more convincing dynamically.
And that’s the nub of it. The expensive D240 gives you more power but no more panache or, ultimately, substance. Arguably, it also moves the otherwise impressive E-Pace further away from its natural role – that of a steady but fashionable family cruiser. We’d stick with the D180.