Jaguar I-PACE : thoroughly addictive and sexy!

It is the boldest of bold moves from Jaguar: an all-electric SUV, one of the first credible rival to Tesla’s premium EV dominance, a car that beats its German rivals to market and a radical piece of design. The Jaguar I-Pace is one of the latest and most important models to hit the market in the past year. Finally, we’re starting to see automakers roll out models that can compete directly with products from Tesla. The I-Pace has a striking design both inside and out and packs all of the charm you expect from a Jaguar product.

At first look I have been impressed with the I-Pace. It represents a new vision for Jaguar’s electric strategy, and it’s executed well in nearly all areas.

The design is striking. It looks better in real life than in pictures. Jaguar claims the I-Pace takes aesthetic inspiration from the C-X75 concept. The rear of the I-Pace is more of a departure, being tall and squared off for a commendably low drag coefficient of 0.29. Incidentally, it’s Jaguar design director Ian Callum’s least favorite element, although to our eyes lends the car a rakishly robust, super-distinctive and appealing visual character.

But how to classify the I-Pace? It is exactly a centimeter longer than an XE and yet its wheelbase eclipses that of the XF mid-size saloon. It presents as a SUV but sits conspicuously low to the ground by the standards of such cars. It’s also supercar-wide, at 2139mm, including mirrors.

The interior is really lovely. I particularly appreciate the mix of real aluminum trim throughout the cabin, and the brown leather was a great accent.

The cabin is modern, with three displays for all the pertinent information and touch-capacitive controls. The floating-bridge design for the center console looks great and gives the cabin a cockpit-like feel, while details like the harness loops in the two-piece seats feel impressively sporty. Smaller touches, like the splashes of trim on the dash and doors, are more modern and in keeping with the glass cockpit.

The two front bucket seats are impressively comfortable and supportive, in addition to looking good, but life is trickier for passengers in the back row. Headroom is tighter, and because the I-Pace’s dash extends so deep into the cabin, driver and front passenger have to choose between their own legroom and that of second-row passengers.

It’s hard to know, I suspect purposefully, where the I-Pace fits into a conventional model hierarchy. It looks slightly like a hatchback, but, inside, the 656-litre boot (frunk included) is twice the size of a Golf’s and outside it’s well over 400mm longer. When you step out, your foot goes down further than you expect (unless you’ve set the suspension to lower automatically), and inside the driving position is surprisingly commanding. It’ll also handle four adults with ease. It’s a well-packaged, spacious car that just happens to be electric.

The I-Pace sets standards on perceived quality and material richness that would impress anyone.

The infotainment system is arguably the weakest aspect of the I-Pace’s entire cabin. While the integration of the twin screens into the upper and lower dash fascia has been executed very tidily indeed, the responsiveness of the software along with a lack of intuitiveness are ultimately the system’s undoing.

These grumbles aside, the level of features that you get with the system is at least acceptable. DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite navigation and a rear-view parking camera are all included as standard.

That said, Jaguar doesn’t make specifying Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility an option, which seems like a missed opportunity owing to their superior intuitiveness.

TWith 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque, the I-Pace’s twin electric motors sit neatly between the Audi E-Tron and Mercedes EQC. And yet, the Jag is quicker than both its German rivals, taking just 4.5 seconds to hit 100 km/h compared to 5.5 in the Audi  and 4.8 in the EQC.

Acceleration off the line is deliciously constant and linear, pushing you back into those firmer performance seats with some force.

I’m totally fan of the I-Pace. The slick, flat power delivery is totally addictive, you’re never caught in the wrong gear, never off-boost, always in the meat of it whether waiting at the lights, or hovering at 120km/h. In many ways, it feels too easy…  

There is more than one way to drive the I-Pace. In Dynamic, like your pants are on fire, with more weight to the steering and snap to the throttle. Which is fine so long as you know a charger is nearby and you have several hours to spare. Or like a saint in Comfort or Eco mode when you you’ve got miles to cover.

The Jaguar I-Pace is super sexy. It has such interesting details inside and out. It’s effortlessly quick, which makes it ridiculously fun. Accelerations are may be thoroughly addictive!  It’s always super calm and quiet, regardless of the speed — unless you choose to pipe in the artificial growl under the options menu to impress your guest!  The perfect car for a smart and sexy guy!


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