Driving

Jaguar I-Pace review

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Jaguar I-Pace front
Review continues below...
3 Jun 2018 22:01 | Last updated: 9 Oct 2018 09:05

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Jaguar I-Pace estate performance

The I-Pace has two electric motors: one at the front and the other at the rear, providing four-wheel drive. Together, they pump out 395bhp, which is enough to get the I-Pace from 0-60mph in 4.5sec – slightly slower than the Tesla Model S but significantly faster than the vast majority of cars, electric or otherwise.

In addition, and as with all electric cars, maximum torque is available from the minute you press the accelerator, instead of you having to wait for the revs to rise to a certain level, as you do with a petrol or diesel engine.

All of this means that, whatever speed you’re doing, there’s virtually no delay between you putting your foot down and the car surging forward – something that helps the I-Pace feel really quick, and even faster than the figures suggest.

A 90kWh battery pack gives the I-Pace an official range of 298 miles on a single charge – again, surpassing most other electric cars but falling just short of the claimed 304 miles of the Model S 75D. In our real-world range test, in which we use a mix of roads to give a representative figure, the I-Pace managed a very impressive distance of 253 miles.

Jaguar I-Pace estate ride

We’ve tried the I-Pace with both its standard passive and optional air suspension. 

Happily, the standard suspension is good enough to mean you don't have to splash out on the upgrade, at least with the smallest-available 18in wheels that we've tried. It smothers the harshness of most bumps, whether you're moseying around town or belting along an A-road. Our only criticism is that, being similarly heavy but taller than the Model S, the I-Pace struggles more to control its mass, with slightly exaggerated vertical bouncing off crests and more side-to-side swaying along generally uneven surfaces. It's by no means uncomfortable, though.   

Those same movements are discernable even with the optional adaptive set-up in its softest Comfort mode, but here you can flick the suspension from Comfort to a firmer Dynamic mode, which tightens up the body control somewhat. However, you’ll then feel more imperfections transmitted as thuds through the interior, whereas in Comfort, you’ll find that the I-Pace, even on big 20in wheels, absorbs initial impacts better than a Model S. But again, as your speed increases it tends to fidget around and feel less settled than its rival.

Jaguar I-Pace rear

Jaguar I-Pace estate handling

Stuffing a car with lots of batteries inevitably makes it very heavy (the I-Pace tips the scales at just over 2.1 tonnes), which is far from ideal when it comes to handling. And sure enough, you really feel that weight shifting onto the outside wheels when you turn in to a corner at speed, especially on the more balloon-like tyres fitted to cars with 18in wheels.

However, the I-Pace hangs on gamely to your chosen line – as long as you don't encounter a series of mid-corner bumps, which tend to upset its balance a touch, that is. Push harder and you’ll feel the car gently run wide at the front in a safe and secure manner. Indeed, our only real gripe is that the stability control can be rather sudden in its interventions.

It helps that the batteries are positioned beneath the floor, giving the car a low centre of gravity, and it's claimed to have a perfect 50/50 weight distribution front to rear. Add in precise, well-weighted steering and the I-Pace is decent fun for an electric vehicle.

It’s also surprisingly capable off road, thanks to clever hill climbing and descent systems borrowed from Jaguar’s sister company Land Rover and the fact that the optional air suspension is height-adjustable.

Jaguar I-Pace estate refinement

Despite its sharp accelerator responses and stunning performance, the I-Pace makes it easy to pull away smoothly in stop-start traffic because its power delivery is progressive.

The regenerative braking of electric cars captures some of the energy that’s normally lost when you lift off the accelerator. All electric cars have this to a certain extent, but when you turn the I-Pace’s to its maximum setting, the effect is so strong that you find you rarely have to touch the brake pedal at all. That’s handy, because the resistance in the brake pedal is inconsistent and you feel strange pulses and vibrations through it, which can make it hard to slow your progress smoothly.

Road and wind noise are generally well contained, especially on the test cars we've tried fitted with laminated side windows. It's not quite as hushed as the Model S, though, and generates a bit more suspension noise over harsh bumps.

You can choose whether you want the electric motors to be near-silent or make a sound like the Starship Enterprise going into warp when you accelerate. Maybe don't make a point of demonstrating that particular feature on a first date, though.

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There are 4 trims available for the I-Pace estate. Click to see details.See all versions
OUR PICK
S
Entry-level S spec features lots of luxuries, including keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, 4G wi-fi and ambient interior lighting. Meanwhile, standard safety kit includes lane-keep assist, l...View trim
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SE
Upgrading to mid-level SE spec gets you bigger wheels and fully electric memory front seats. Plus, the list of safety kit grows to include a blindspot warning system, high-speed automatic emergency...View trim
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HSE
In range-topping HSE form, the I-Pace features heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and matrix LED headlights that can automatically adjust to avoid dazzling other drivers while retaini...View trim
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First Edition
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
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