In recent months, some of the world’s most exotic, exciting and intriguing new cars have rolled into ETi’s parking lot for review, including the McLaren 720s, Bentley Bentayga Speed, Porsche 718 Spyder and Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S. But hands down, the car that got editor-in-chief Slavnich most excited is the Jaguar I-Pace. And ‘excited’ is actually an understatement here.
This review can actually be summed up with three short answers to three big questions. Is this the most important Jaguar yet? Is this the best Jaguar yet? And is this the finest battery electric vehicle one can buy?
To those pressing Qs the answers are quite simple: maybe; quite possibly; definitely! But there’s copy space to fill so let’s try to justify those conclusions.
On every level, the I-Pace is technologically dazzling. From its compact crossover footprint, JLR’s first BEV is one joyful drive – granted it doesn’t have the dynamics of a sports car (how would it anyway?) – but it handles so much better than small SUVs and large sedans. Hell, it even grips corners better than some so-called ‘fast’ hatchbacks.
The performance comes from two in-house Jaguar-designed permanent magnet synchronous electric motors integrated with the front and rear axles and pushing out 400ps and a staggering 696Nm torque, which means the I-Pace reaches 60mph from standstill in just 4.5 seconds. In fact, it’s so rapid that we left some AMG E-Class at the lights on one particular stretch of the road during our testing. Times are changing in the automotive world and nothing sums up that transition better than a crossover BEV leaving behind a fast German sedan. In fact, the I-Pace has nearly the same amount of power as Jaguar’s F-Type SVR supercharged V8.
But of course super-hot performance isn’t the primary development pillar behind the I-Pace: getting ahead of its German rivals and being first to market with an outstanding and high-tech battery electric vehicle with zero emissions was what Jaguar was striving for. And it’s 10 out 10 for effort, execution and end-product.
A 90kWh battery pack planted within the wheelbase of the I-Pace provides the vehicle with a low center of gravity and naturally benefits overall driving dynamics. It also plays a central role in delivering a WLTP combined range of 415km (258 miles) and asides from one very cold morning start, when temperatures sunk to -3°C, more or less one real-world kilometer equated to one I-Pace kilometer – and that was a worst-case scenario. A typical commute from ETi Towers to home is 24km for Slavnich and yet the I-Pace range would drop from 230km to 215km.
And then there’s the inside. The I-Pace has one of the most contemporary, modern, chic and sleek interiors around with beautiful push/pull buttons for heating, a high-tech dual-screen touchscreen that controls just about everything, and a minimalist sweeping cabin design style. It’s the closest you’ll come to ‘driving’ your iPhone 10.
Our I-Pace cost just under £75,000 (US$98,000) which, granted, is a lot of money for a car like this, but as Slavnich tweeted, “I’d actually buy one of these”… No wonder he’s applying for a loan!