“Mould breaker”; “Tesla-buster?” Welcome to the All_New Jaguar I-Pace Electric SUV
Neil Lyndon raves about the stunning All-New Jaguar I-Pace
These were some of the accolades heaped upon the new all-electric Jaguar I-Pace at a recent launch event in Scotland. The normally cynical motoring hacks who had the privilege of being among the first in the world to drive this car were almost breathless in praising it to each other. For me, in nearly 30 years of writing about cars, experiencing the I-Pace for the first time must count as a top five moment. As happened in 2012 with Tesla’s Model S and again in 2014 with BMW’s hybrid i8 supercar, this Jaguar gives you the unmistakable sensation that you are at the wheel of the car of the future. The difference is that the I-Pace is by far the more complete piece of work.
First off, it has to be said that the I-Pace design is Ian Callum’s most stunning creation for Jaguar. After a relatively tentative start as the company’s Director of Design nearly 20 years ago, he’s been getting bolder and better with each succeeding model. Whereas some previous Callum models exhibit a touch of uncertainty or irresolution in some dimensions, the I-Pace’s lines are a comprehensive unity of confident assertion and original inspiration.
They call it an SUV but, as with Tesla’s Model X, the I-Pace has about as much connection with a Nissan Qashqai as an Isle of Man TT Superbike shares with a courier’s scooter. Its nose may bear a house resemblance to the F-Pace and the E-Pace, but its flanks, haunches and rear are all in another realm. The profile of the I-Pace exhibits a bunched power like a sprinter about to hurtle out of the blocks.
And boy, can it hurtle! At one moment in my brief test drive, I floored the accelerator pedal at around 60 mph and my head was jolted back against the restraint. A few supercars are faster from 0-60 mph than the I-Pace’s 4.5 seconds, but no road car has more poke from 60-100 mph. All 512 lb-ft of this car’s torque is on tap startlingly and instantaneously.
The positioning under the floor of the dual electric motors that generate 394 horsepower adds stability and bottom to the I-Pace’s handling, giving it an agility and predictability in corners that belies its size and weight. The range is officially given as 240 miles, but we had no chance to test that claim. An 80% charge is said to take 40 minutes when using a 100 kW DC fast charger or 10 hours with home charging equipment is used.
All of these figures and characteristics are improvements on Tesla’s Model X but what distinguishes the I-Pace and sets it apart is the depth of its build quality and the sumptuousness of its fit-out.
Stunning as the early Tesla cars were, a suspicion always hung around them that, when the big manufacturers pulled their finger out and really started trying to tackle the electric market, they would trounce Tesla in such fields as finish and build quality. So it proves with the I-Pace.
Jaguar has obviously said, “Let’s use everything we know to make Tesla look amateur.” So, from the shut-lines to the stitching on the upholstery, they have achieved robotic perfection.
They have also brought the I-Pace to market at tens of thousands less than the price of a Model X. The last Model X I drove was well over £100,000 with all extras. The I-Pace I drove at the recent event would just about top £70,000.
No contest, you might say.
Car reviewed: Jaguar I-Pace 400PS Electric S - Base Price On the road £63,495 price with options as tested £74,140 0-62mph 4.5 secs Top speed 124mph Range Up to 298 miles CO2 emissions 0g/km Powertrain EV400 Max Power 400PS
Power and Torque
Build quality and finish
Expensive, but good value
None to think of
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