Jaguar sets electric

pace

Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, front
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, side
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, side, static
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, rear
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, nose 1
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, nose
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, tail
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, under bonnet storage
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, door handle
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, rear, static
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, interior
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, nose, upright
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, front, upright
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, side, upright
Jaguar I-PACE, 2018, rear, upright

PACE-runners lead a following pack and that's exactly what Jaguar is doing with its all-electric, luxury SUV that's aptly named the I-PACE.

In its slipstream are all sorts of potential rivals mainly from the German marques and most recently the Audi e-tron. But it's Jaguar who delivered first and first impressions count.

The I-PACE is a beautifully styled SUV with sports car handling credentials and all the on-board technology you could wish for.

With prices starting from £63,495 (excluding the Government EV grant), there's a choice of four trim levels called S, SE, HSE and First Edition.

When it comes to styling, the I-PACE is an instant attention-grabber guaranteed to stop onlookers dead in their tracks.

It oozes class and takes its inspiration from Jaguar's C-X75 supercar with a short, low bonnet, an aero-enhanced roof design and curved rear screen.

There are active vanes in the grille that open when cooling is required but close again when not required and so redirect air through the bonnet scoop, smoothing out the airflow.

Other eye candy features include 20-inch alloys, a fixed panoramic sunroof, a tailgate spoiler, flush door handles that push out when the car is unlocked and automatically slide back into place as the car moves away, privacy glass and matrix LED headlights.

Move inside and the charming cockpit is beautifully designed with a wealth of technology at your disposal.

The I-PACE is the first vehicle from JLR to finally get full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - other models will follow in 2019.

Other creature comforts include a 12.3-inch touchscreen where all the infotainment systems are accessed, such as Jaguar's Touch Go Pro system with full navigation, Bluetooth, DAB radio and ambient lighting.

A lower screen is for the climate control settings and the instrument panel behind the steering wheel can be personalised according to taste and offers all sorts of data regarding charging, power outputs, regenerative braking and, of course, range limits.

Comfort levels are sublime with Windsor leather sports seats that can be power adjusted, heated or cooled. The slightly elevated position means the driver benefits from an excellent view of the road ahead, but the small rear screen and large door pillars do impact on all-round visibility a little.

This particular I-PACE in HSE trim was priced at £74,445 but a number of optional extras resulted in a final cost of £78,010, before the Government's £3,500 EV grant has been deducted.

When it comes to performance, ‘Pace' is the perfect name for this car. Power is by means of a 90kWh battery which drives two electric motors delivering 400hp and 696Nm of torque. And with a 0-60mph sprint time of 4.5 seconds and top speed of 124mph, this car is not for the faint-hearted.

Being an EV the power and acceleration is instant - you don't have to wait for the revs to build up.

The road holding is beautifully assured and car feels well balanced even when being pushed into corners at speed. That's because the battery is positioned centrally between the two axles and as low down as possible, thus creating perfect 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity for dynamic handling ability.

The driver can select from different driving modes called Rain, Ice, Snow mode or Eco, Comfort and Dynamic which really livens things up. In addition, the all-wheel-drive and all-surface traction deliver extra grip when driving in more challenging weather conditions.

Weighing 2.1 tonnes, the I-PACE is not exactly a lightweight, but it feels firmly planted with precise steering. And it's worth noting too that the vehicle is very capable off-road.

Regenerative braking plays a big part in maximising energy levels on all EVs and if the highest level of regeneration is selected on the I-PACE you barely need to touch the brakes at all.

Jaguar claims the car has a a ‘real world' driving range of 292 miles although this would be in ideal driving conditions. The figure would be reduced considerably if driven hard and during colder winter months.

But it's still an impressive range and should eliminate any range anxiety issues.

Of course, the zero CO2 emissions bring further tax benefits as the car is exempt from VED and congestion charges.

That said, there will be a £310 annual fee due to its cost being above the £40,000 luxury car threshold.

Being an SUV, albeit with sports car handling, the I-PACE needs to cater for active families - and it does well on that count.

There is ample space for four adults to travel in style (five at a squeeze). Back seat passengers are treated to heated seats and there is a number of USB ports along with 4G Wi-Fi for up to eight devices.

The boot capacity ranges from 656 litres to 1,453 litres with 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. There is a further 27-litre storage compartment beneath the bonnet - after all there's no need for an engine.

When it comes to charging the I-PACE there are a few options.

It can be charged up to 80 per cent in 40 minutes on a DC 100kW charger, it takes 10 hours on an AC 7kW charger to reach 80 per cent or 12.9 hours to a full charge on an AC 7kW point.

On the downside, there are not nearly enough public fast chargers that are compatible with the car, so careful planning would be essential on longer trips.

Safety is vitally important on SUVs and the I-PACE is the tenth consecutive vehicle from the JLR stable to secure a maximum five-star rating from Euro NCAP. It is packed with safety features and driver aids to protect occupants, pedestrians and to help prevent accidents occurring in the first place.

All in all, the Jaguar I-PACE is proof that EVs can be beautifully designed, packed with technology and deliver blisteringly quick driving dynamics. Yes, they are still pricey, but they are also good for the planet.

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