I have been fortunate enough to have already driven the I-PACE, not long after its launch and again at Sydney Motorsport Park. Doing 200km/h in near silence is hilarious, by the way.
When I last drove the I-Pace, I was impressed by Jag’s first attempt at an EV. As Tesla will tell you, they’re hard cars to make and harder to make well.
How much is a 2020 Jaguar I-PACE and what do I get?
I-Pace S: $124,100 + ORC
I-Pace SE: $135,400 + ORC
I-Pace HSE: $146,000 + ORC
The up-spec HSE is obviously the one with the most stuff, but even then this one has a few options, pushing the price ever higher.
To start with, though, you get 20-inch alloys, a 15-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, front-side-and-reversing cameras, keyless entry and start, front-rear-and-side parking sensors, active cruise control, electric front seats, sat nav, auto LED headlights, digital dashboard, heated front and rear seats, leather trim, auto parking, powered tailgate, power everything else, auto wipers and a wireless hotspot SIM function.
InControl Touch Pro powers the big central touchscreen and just as it’s about to get the boot, it’s gotten really good. There is some lovely functionality in there but I’d like to see a lot more of the EV stats. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are along as well, but the USB port is under the armrest and there’s no wireless charging (yet) or wireless CarPlay.
Unusually for a lowish volume model, there’s a good selection of colours.
Santorini Black, Caesium Blue, Borasco Grey, Corris Grey, Firenze Red, Photon Red, Indus Silver, Eiger Gray, Portofino Blue and Yulong White weigh in at $1950.
Farallon Black and Aruba land at $3900. Fuji White and Caldera Red are free. As you can see from the photos, it looks a treat in white, especially with gloss black wheels ($390).
Packages and options
It’s a Jag, so there’s heaps of stuff to add. I’ll stick with the highlights.
Air suspension is $2002 (highly recommend that one), full leather ($2763), black contrast roof ($1495), fixed panoramic roof ($3380, cooks the interior, so be careful with that one), head-up display ($1040), four-zone climate control ($1820) and heated steering wheel ($494).
The Black Exterior Pack runs to $760 and blacks out the grille and window surrounds. Go for that, I reckon it looks the business in most colours.
There are heaps more to choose from, so have a look here.
Safety – 5 stars (ANCAP, 2018)
The I-Pace whirrs on to your driveway with six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, pedestrian airbag, forward AEB (high and low speed) with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, pedestrian alert, exit alert and rear cross-traffic alert.
You also get two ISOFIX points and three top-tether anchors.
Warranty and Servicing
Jaguar’s three years/100,000km warranty lags Mercedes but is the same as German rivals BMW and Audi. Could be better and for June 2020, Jag extended it to five years, so we’ll see if that returns full time.
Today you can extend he warranty by 12 or 24 months and up to 200,000km if you fancy paying for it.
There’s also a separate battery warranty which feels a bit skinny at six years/80,000km
Look and feel
The front end is very Jaguar but, oddly, not as we know it. As there are no front-wheel drive Jags, the short bonnet is something different, but the slim headlights work a treat. The aero profile fits in the Jag pantheon, but again, isn’t all that Jaguar, flowing less obviously than the traditional look. That vertical wind tunnel backside is not at all Jag but has the current signature taillights.
I like it. It looks good from all angles and that big proud leaper across the rear helps break up the space between the rear lights. The heavy rake on the rear screen does compromise rear vision from inside, but not fatally.
And as I’ve already said, I’m digging the white with black wheels.
Like all current Jag interiors, it’s beautifully designed. I really like the way the I-Pace is put together, too. You can’t say that about all Jags. I love the dished steering wheel more than is probably appropriate.
Leg room in the back is good but headroom might be tricky for taller folks. It’s very comfortable, though and with the seat heating, you’re well looked-after in the HSE.
Being a dedicated EV platform, the boot is gigantic at 656 litres (along with the small front at the front which is the right size for the charger). Drop the seats and you’ll easily double the space. Flat packs will fit. Sorry, Ikea dodgers.
The I-Pace can tow 750kg which is jet-ski territory.
Chassis and drivetrain
The headline figures are big – 294kW and 696Nm at zero rpm. That’s a truckload of grunt no matter what you’re driving. With an electric motor at each end and a single-speed transmission, that’s enough to send the 2.1-tonne I-Pace to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds.
The skateboard chassis is a big block of batteries on to which either coil suspension or air suspension is attached. I haven’t driven a static suspension i-Pace so can only tell you that the air suspension is really good.
Range and charging
The 90kWh battery has a claimed 470km WLTP range which translated to around 450km for me in the real world, which was mostly urban and suburban driving.
You can charge with the supplied 7kW charger from 0-80 percent in about 10 hours, which is really quite good. Not many people drive 300km per day every day, so for most people it’s a once-a-week charge or every few days. Unless you’re going the distance, topping up to 80 percent is a good way to keep the battery in good shape.
Well. As far as we know today.
If home charging is critical, wait for the 2021 update which upgrades the onboard charger to 11kW. That means you also need three-phase power but it reduces the overall charge time by a third.
The current machine has some onboard config for scheduling charging. Predictably, there’s an app for it as well which also lets you pre-condition the cabin temperature.
I had forgotten how flexible a pure EV can be. Quick when you want it, smooth when you need it, always quiet. I feel like the software has been fine-tuned since launch, too, with a more natural throttle pedal feel.
It has always had the jump-to-hyperspace vibe of price-competitive EVs but now it feels more refined in traffic, especially with creep mode enabled.
I feel like the steering is better, too, more accurate and less artificial. I could be imaging this because I have no evidence anything has changed. Bottom line is, this is easily my favourite EV (although I’m yet to drive its immediate competition).
It takes a while to get over the psychological barrier that is the obvious weight. It didn’t bother me in a straight line but learning to understand the way the weight shifts in corners took a while.
Once I got it, hoo-boy. This thing is alarmingly quick. While the 0-100km/h is in the realm of an Audi RS4, the rolling acceleration is vivid. You can take on just about anything when you’re rolling between 20km/h and 100km/h and unless it’s another expensive EV, you’ll win.
But if you’re carrying passengers, the hushed cabin makes conversation so easy and in traffic, the almost one-pedal operation is close to perfection.
You could argue that all Teslas are competitors one way or another. Until you sit in one (again, excepting the Model 3 here) and realise the Jag’s interior is miles ahead. Even if it doesn’t fart when you press a button in the media system. The Model X and S are cheaper than they were two years ago but they’re both getting tired.
Audi’s new e-tron is here very soon. The pricing looks close on the surface, but the entry-level has a much shorter range than the similarly-priced i-Pace and you have to go for the 55 SUV or Sportback for a similar range. The 50 will crack 300km/h WLTP while the 55 has a range in excess of 400km (WLTP) with its 95kWh battery. It’s also (on official figures) 200kg heavier.
The Mercedes EQC is more expensive again but is more comparable for range and equipment and has an equally cool interior. And a longer warranty.
This is an excellent car that happens to be an EV. And it’s even better than when I first drove it. I do like a Jag and this one is a proper vision of the future. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2021 and beyond.
You may, however, have to look past the short warranties and take a punt on the battery longevity, but the latter issue is hardly Jaguar-specific.
But wow. What a car.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.