8 January 2021
Anyone who still adheres to the principle that an electric car cannot be exciting is clearly still living in the Stone Age. Technology has not stood still in the automotive sector for years and years, and that is no different with the Jaguar I-PACE. The British brand, which has had many successes in racing, including a victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours, is now owned by the Indian Tata Motors. However, Jaguar's DNA is still very prominent, and this was evident when we were introduced to Jaguar's first 100% electric SUV.
Jaguar was the first European premium car manufacturer to launch an electric SUV, an example that was later followed by other major manufacturers, such as Audi with the E-Tron. The I-PACE was launched in March 2018, and barely a year later it had already crowned itself "European Car of the Year". The tone was set, and how! The reason why the I-PACE won the prize became clear the first time we met.
With its looks, the I-PACE distinguishes itself from the average SUV. And that line is also extended in terms of performance, thanks in part to its 2 electric motors (one on each axle). Unlike 99% of other current SUVs, it looks remarkably sporty. Despite its high roofline, the I-PACE remains true to the élan we expect from a brand like Jaguar - a streamlined car. It’s no coincidence that the diffuser, spoiler and rear lights are a nod to the F-Type.
At the front, the I-PACE features an ornate radiator grille, designed to reduce drag by allowing air in and out through the opening in the bonnet. We can only applaud this detail, which is not only nice to the eye but also functional. The flowing waistline is also very cleverly accentuated by the large 20" wheels, which highlight its sporty looks.
The icing on the cake are the futuristic LED headlights with double 'J' LED signature lights, which not only look good but also do an excellent job when driving in the dark. Just as Moses opened up the sea, the light beam splits in a similar way when crossing an oncoming car. A pleasure to watch.
Also inside, the typical mix between luxury and sportiness is clearly noticeable. For me personally, the deep dish steering wheel was the most eye-catching. A first signal that this Jaguar, just like its peers, is not a kitten to tackle without gloves. We can already hear you thinking, "racing gloves?", but those we keep for the I-PACE eTROPHY, which featured in the Formula E support program.
Inside, you get the look & feel you expect when you think of the Jaguar brand. After all, the British brand remains a flagship of luxury, and that is visible, down to the last detail - with the personal highlight being the stitching line incorporated into the dashboard. The interior of the I-PACE therefore contains everything you could possibly need to make your journey as pleasant as possible, from seat heating to seat cooling. The beautifully finished leather seats, which are also extremely comfortable to sit in, also have three pre-programmed positions.
The great thing about the I-PACE is that you get the best of both worlds, an abundance of comfort with a very successful styling as well as a purebred hoonigan that makes the inner child very happy.
When driving this impressive electric SUV, the heritage and Jaguar DNA are 100% tangible. It immediately becomes clear why the British brand has chosen to turn its I-PACE into a brand cup in the Formula-E side program. The fact that electric cars are known to be fast-moving is old news. But what surprised me enormously in the I-PACE was its brilliant and above all sporty road handling, which I would not have dared to expect even from a sporty looking SUV.
Even though we are dealing here with a car weighing over 2 tonnes, the I-PACE manages to manoeuvre through the bends like a playful cat. The way in which the horsepower is grounded is absolutely astonishing. Even the most twisty roads are no problem for this SUV, and with a total of 696 Nm of torque the Jaguar shoots away like a spear - even in the most challenging corners thanks to the Torque Vectoring system. Did I mention that the I-PACE also had a Dynamic mode (hear Greg's laughter)?
But Jaguar wouldn't be Jaguar if it didn't pay attention to luxurious driving comfort. For example, the Jaguar has an optional Active Air Suspension which automatically lowers the suspension by 10 mm when driving faster than 105 km per hour for longer periods of time. As you have already suspected, the I-PACE can play with its ground clearance and thanks to the Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) system it can also cope with adverse weather conditions or difficult surfaces.
As far as charging performance is concerned, we can only say that the I-PACE in combination with a home charger is more than sufficient for daily commute. Many readers may wonder about this after countless (often negative) media reports. But don't let that mislead you. For example, when Corona and its travel restrictions were still a noble unknown, I crossed a Dutch I-PACE driver during a holiday in the Champagne region. And that was a first indication to me that this criticism is not entirely justified. The I-PACE is not going to disappoint you in this respect either ...
The I-PACE is more than a classy car. It surprised me very convincingly with its great sporty driving performance. When it comes to luxury and comfort, it stands out tall above the rest. It is not only a pleasure to look at, but also inside you get a high premium feeling. It is a car that, in combination with a home charging point, can be used perfectly on a daily basis, adapted to all drivers' needs thanks to its unique mix of luxury and sportiness. A mix that is not only apparent while driving, but also clearly visible from the outside. Although it bears the mark of an SUV, to me it is not a purebred SUV. The driving performance as well as its looks are more reminiscent of a (sporty) sedan, while the comfort and luxury are reminiscent of the typical SUV. In short, it is a car that will never bore you!
Greg drove the Jaguar I-PACE EV400. The information in this fact sheet pertains to that model.
Years ago, Gregory Eyckmans was caught by the motor racing bug, which was given to him by his father. For a long time he already was a regular photographer on circuits at home and abroad, and since 2013 you can also find him behind the wheel of a racing car. Meanwhile, he has also become a fan of electric driving. In the past he could often be found in the Tesla Roadster during our events. In other words, the ideal person to test tomorrow's electric models for VitaeMobility.
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