Driving

Jaguar I-Pace review

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Jaguar I-Pace front
3 Jun 2018 22:1 | Last updated: 18 Sep 2018 12:53

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, as in 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 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 while falling just short of the 304 miles of the Model S 75D. However, in our real-world range test, the I-Pace managed a relatively disappointing 177 miles from a full charge to empty, while the Model S, in the same conditions, managed 200 miles.

It's worth noting that the I-Pace we range-tested was an early version; Jaguar has since revised the software, so we'll be repeating the test soon to see if the tweaks have made a difference.

JAGUAR I-PACE Estate ride

We’ve only tried the I-Pace with optional air suspension, but regardless of which setting you put this in, the ride feels much the same: pleasingly supple around town but slightly more unsettled at higher speeds.

Drive down the kind of scruffy, potholed road that’s oh-so-common in the UK and you’ll find that the I-Pace absorbs the initial impact well, better than a Model S, although you will feel it bobble around slightly before it settles once again. Flicking the suspension from Comfort to Dynamic mode does tighten up the body control somewhat, but you’ll feel imperfections in the road more in this setting.

As your speed increases, the I-Pace tends to fidget around a little, so generally doesn't feel quite so settled as the Model S. It's still comfortable, though. It’s also worth noting that our test cars were fitted with 20in wheels and relatively low-profile tyres; you can have 18in wheels and deeper tyres if you prefer, while at the other extreme Jaguar offers 22in wheels with tyres that resemble smears of black paint. The former should give a better ride.

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.

However, the I-Pace quickly settles, it hangs onto your chosen line tenaciously and body lean is well controlled. Push harder and you’ll feel the car gently run wide at the front in a safe and secure manner. Indeed, our only real complaint is that the stability control can be rather sudden in its interventions.

It no doubt helps that the batteries are positioned beneath the floor, giving the car a low centre of gravity, and that there’s a perfect 50/50 weight distribution front to rear. Add in precise, well-weighted steering and the I-Pace is a lot of fun.

It’s even 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 is easy to drive smoothly in stop-start traffic, because its power delivery is very progressive.

Regenerative braking – which captures some of the energy that’s normally lost when you lift off the accelerator, with the side effect that the car slows noticeably – also helps here. All electric cars have this, 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.

Our test cars were fitted with laminated side windows, and thus let in little wind noise. Plus, you can choose whether you want the electric motors to be near-silent or make a sound like the Enterprise going into warp when you accelerate.

The one slight weakness is road and wind noise, which is more noticeable than it is in the rival Model S at motorway speeds.

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There are 4 trims available for the I-Pace Estate. Click to see details.See all versions
First Edition
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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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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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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
Fuel Electric
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