A big leap forward for Jaguar
At a glance
  • Handling
  • Comfort
  • Performance
  • Design
  • Interior
  • Practicality
  • Costs
Whisper quiet
Easy and fun to drive
Doesn't pump exhaust into faces of cyclists and pedestrians
Can feel its weight at times
Fiddling with cables on a cold wet night might not appeal
Even with a very rapid charge option, it takes a while
  • Variant: I-Pace EV400 S
  • Price: £58,995 (after £4,500 government grant)
  • Engine: Two electric motors; 90kWh battery
  • Power: 395bhp
  • Torque: 512 lb ft
  • Transmission: Single-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
  • Acceleration: 0-62mph; 4.8sec
  • Top Speed: 124mph
  • Fuel: 240 miles range
  • co2: 0g/km
  • Road tax band: £0 in first year; £310 per year for years 2-6; free again thereafter
  • Dimensions: 4,682mm x 2,011mm x 1,558mm
  • Release Date: On sale soon

2018 Jaguar I-Pace review

The Brits flick the switch to the future

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UNTIL NOW, if you wanted an electric car in which you could travel a reasonable distance between charging stops with decent levels of comfort and performance, the only answer was a Tesla. The Californian tech company cornered the market in luxury battery-powered vehicles, leaving conventional car makers scrambling to catch up.

All that is set to change in the next 18 months when Elon Musk’s rivals take the wraps off their own versions of Teslas. Sleek, battery-powered models are on their way from Audi, Porsche and Mercedes, marking a radical shift in the car market and, eventually, in the way we drive.

But wait — Jaguar has sneaked in ahead of the Germans. Its offering is called the I-Pace: an all-electric SUV that is a genuine first for the Coventry car maker, even though it is engineered by, er, Germans and built in Austria.

It’s probably the biggest step the company has yet taken from the long-bonneted, walnut-panelled Jaguars beloved of prime ministers and affable geezers. Instead, the I-Pace is tall with a short nose and a long wheelbase, though not bad-looking for all that.

The company admits it called it an SUV because that’s what everyone wants these days, but in truth it’s a low-slung design based round a 600kg battery that stretches almost the length of the car and gives it a range of at least 240 miles on a single charge — enough to drive from London to Liverpool.

When it arrives in showrooms (soon), it’ll cost about £60,000 — £10,000 cheaper than the equivalent Tesla, the Model X.

Ralf Speth, the German head of Jaguar, and Wolfgang Ziebart, who masterminded the electric propulsion (both former BMW men), say it’s their proudest achievement.

There has been a drip feed of briefings during the I-Pace’s four-year development, but finally the company has allowed journalists behind the wheel on motorways in Portugal and along mountain hairpins and gravelly off-road sections.

Because all the power is available as soon as you put your foot down, it’s quick: 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds. That’s faster than Jaguar’s F-type V6 sports car.

“In most respects it’s fun to drive: quick and responsive, in the way of a giant fairground dodgem”

The only sound is the faint whine of electric motors, even as it accelerates to its top speed of 124mph. Foreseeing that some owners might find silence disconcerting, Jaguar has included an option deep in the menu that allows you to turn on electronic engine noise, variable from “calm” to a throaty “dynamic” note.