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First Drive: Jaguar I-Pace

Geraldine Herbert with the Jaguar I-Pace, Top I-Pace on the track in Portugal

Is the Jaguar I-Pace the best electric car in the world right now asks Geraldine Herbert

What is it? . The roar of a Jaguar sports car engine is as distinctive as it is intoxicating but what if you could have power and performance with a silent engine that doesn’t devour petrol or diesel? That’s what the all electric I-Pace promises, sporting performance plus SUV space and practicality all while saving the planet making Jaguar the first premium brand to seriously take on Tesla.

First impressions of the new Jaguar I-Pace? Built on a bespoke aluminium chassis architecture the I-Pace is like nothing else Jaguar produces, in fact it’s like nothing else currently on the road. With concept car looks it is brimming with technology found no where else and engineered specifically for this car. Outside the I-Pace has a stunning look, with the chiselled concept car like body. On each corner, four 22 inch large wheels, flank the body. In terms of size it is 4,682mm long, that’s 10mm longer than the XE, 2,139mm wide, 1.565mm tall with 2,990mm wheelbase.

What about the interior? The interior has got its work cut out living up to the avante-garde exterior but it is lavishly finished and well equipped.The I-Pace is a five-seater and comes with 656 litres of boot space. On the downside it is not the roomiest SUV despite the fact that the battery pack is stowed in an underfloor unit plus visibility is partially compromised by the design. Disappointingly though, our preproduction car came with a Sat Nav that defied logic and an air conditioning button that refused to alter the temperature.

Under the bonnet? The I-Pace uses two 200 ps electric motors, one on each axle. The all-wheel drive SUV delivers 294kW and 696Nm of torque.

What about the range? Crucial to the success of the I-Pace is its range. Despite that fact that the average Irish driver does just over 300 kms a week buyers yearn for the reassurance of 400 km and more and it is here the Jaguar does not disappoint. A 90kWh battery pack gives the I-Pace a range of 480 km range or enough to get you from Donegal to Cork on one overnight charge. Two days driving the car on winding back roads, mountainous dirt tracks, of southern Portugal suggest this a pretty accurate guide. Like all electric cars how you drive determines just how much or how little you will get from the battery but without any compromise the I-Pace delivers the quoted range.

Charging the car at home takes 12.9 hours for a complete charge. On a 100kW rapid charger the I-Pace can reach 80 per cent charge in about 40 minutes. 

The I-Pace on a track? With a low centre of gravity and smooth weight distribution, the Jaguar I-Pace is a fast and easy car that is very powerful: Journalists were given the opportunity to test the I-Pace at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve race track near Portimão. As with all electric cars the ability to accelerate from standing is astounding but equally impressive is the car’s rolling acceleration.

And on the road? Off the track it makes for easy driving on the motorway but on the back roads of Portugal the suspension is unforgiving, it feels a little heavy and is easily unsettled on less than perfect surfaces but despite this it is seriously good fun to drive.

How Much? Due here in autumn, the new electric all-wheel drive 5 door SUV will be sold in S, SE and HSE equipment grades plus a limited First Edition range topping model. Prices start from €84,085 for the entry level S trim, €93,380 (ES), €100,405 (HSE) and the First Edition from €112,310, all prices include the SEAI and revenue grants.

First Impressions? The I-Pace is beautiful to drive and stunning to look at but with a price tag to rival Tesla it is not an electric car for the masses. While Jaguar’s I-Pace is well ahead of the future, there is still a way to go, it is let down by a firm ride, an expensive price tag and a lack of visibility. But in a premium market where perception matters, cars that are perceived as environmentally friendly endow owners with the highest status and this Jaguar ticks both the green and luxury SUV box.

What It Says About You? You’re happy to do your bit for the planet as long as you can do it while looking fabulous

3 words to describe the Jaguar I-Pace? Green, Gorgeous, Game-changer

For more information on the Jaguar I-Pace, check out the Jaguar Ireland website, their facebook page or follow Jaguar Ireland on twitter 

 

Geraldine Herbert

12th June, 2018

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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