Jaguar has a winning hand with its stunning I-Pace EV
I so wish money were no object, like the fortunate few who don’t need to worry about the cost of things – especially fun things.
And it is those people who won’t scoff at the idea of spending €82k on an electric Jag.
It is an insane amount of money and I hate to start my reviews with a price tag (OK, so this is two weeks in a row) but it is hard to ignore the price tag considering the huge array of options in the increasingly impressive EV market these days.
BUT…and it’s a big but (hence the use of capital letters), you will not get the same level of refinement in any of them as you do here.
The I-Pace isn’t a new car, but it has just been given a mid-life makeover and I spent a week falling in love with it all over again.
Jaguar don’t have many options on their model range.
In fact, I think there are only six cars available to buy here (XF, XE, F, EAnd they do all six really well. Other premium brands tend to offer dozens of options, creating confusion among buyers.
Jag doesn’t do that.
The I-Pace is their only EV and it is glorious. Size-wise it sits between the E and the F but there is absolutely no mistaking this car when you feast your eyes on it.
The sloping curves and bulky width are undeniably unique as the Jag presses its charisma and strength on a claustrophobic market.
It certainly stands out against its biggest rivals like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the BMW iX3 and even tips into being a much cheaper (yes, you read that right) option compared to bigger EV SUVs like the BMW iX, the Mercedes EQC or the Audi e-tron.
My test car was the new Black Edition spec, which adds some gloss black exterior enhancements (totally unnecessary on the darker paint jobs), including black 20-inch alloy wheels.
The range actually starts with the standard I-Pace (you can save around €5k), which features 18-inch wheels, LED lights front and rear, auto wipers, keyless entry and starting, two-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and a camera, a full suite of safety kit and Jaguar’s latest Pivi Pro infotainment system.
The infotainment system features a far more intuitive 10-inch touchscreen system that includes navigation with live information services, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The standard car is well equipped, while the Black Edition (that I drove) adds some glossy detailing.
There’s a black grille surround and black 20-inch alloy wheels, while panoramic glass is added, plus premium LED headlights with a new daytime running light signature.
Jaguar also offers option packs that add even more kit.
These are called S, SE and HSE (yes, I know – more initials to get our heads around) and add different wheel designs and various levels of exterior lighting, leather seat trim and interior sound systems, among other luxuries.
And if money were no option at all, you can drive away in a fully loaded top-spec HSE for a mere €103,302 – but know that options such as active or air suspension, a cabin air purifier or a digital rear-view mirror can bump up the price further.
There are two sets of ISOFIX points on the back seat if you need them, although you should know that adults in the rear may find it a little cramped. And why oh why is there a transmission tunnel hump in the middle of the floor? This is an electric car!
The boot is a revelation, with a mind-blowing 656 litres on offer. Don’t forget, like in most EVs, there’s storage space in the nose (I hate the word ‘frunk’) for charging cables, but I do think one downside is the lack of good cabin storage.
Right, that’s the boring stuff. Let’s talk about the fun stuff.
I should not have had this much fun in an electric car.
The last time I had this much excitement in a car it was in a very contrived vehicle designed for fun like the Alpine or the GR Yaris.
While this has an SUV appearance, it’s surprisingly sporty (and remarkably fast) from behind the wheel and handles better than most EVs available today.
There is a decent view from the driver’s perch, while the wheel itself has a surprising amount of feedback that boosts driver engagement.
Dare I say there is even a little grunt out of this 400bhp powertrain that goes against your natural EV belief system.
My Black Edition test car came with optional air suspension (a €1,765 add-on), which can alter the ride height depending on which mode you’re in, including a lowered ‘access’ setting and a raised set-up for off-road driving.
Do I think it is worth it? Absolutely.
In terms of efficiency, however, it had mixed results.
If you want to have fun, it’ll cost you. So whenever I was on a motorway with the foot down, the range dived quicker than Harry Kane in the penalty box.
But from a claimed range of 410km I reckon I could have driven 350km easily enough.
But if you are willing to drive carefully on your short urban commutes and school runs, I think Jag’s proposed range is accurate.
I loved so much about this car, but would I buy it? Nope. It’s just not me.
However, I would happily recommend it in a heartbeat.
Just don’t pay out for the extra black detailing if you are buying a black or ‘Portofino Blue’ car, as the extras are hard to find.
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