One thing is for certain: Jaguar’s I-Pace is the best looking electric car on the market right now.
Masterminded by Jaguar’s now retired head of design, Scotsman Ian Callum, it is a wonderful piece of design and looks terrific from almost any angle.
It was launched in 2018 and a prototype model was among the first displays at V&A Dundee, in honour of its Scottish design heritage.
Officially it’s an SUV and it does have increased ride height and four-wheel drive. A hatchback boot and those svelte lines give it a much sportier appearance than your average stodgy off roader, however.
Power comes from two electric motors driving all four wheels and a 90kWh battery sits in the floorpan.
The motors produce 395bhp and 513lb ft of torque. Those are big numbers and will get the car from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds.
Even such impressive figures undersell just how quick it is. With no gears to engage and no petrol engine that needs to rev up, power delivery is instantaneous. Push the throttle and it feels like you’ve been fired out of a catapult. What makes it even more extraordinary is there is no engine sound.
A slight increase in tyre noise and the feeling of being pushed back in your seat are the only indications that some very hard acceleration is happening. It is a fantastic car for overtaking, though the acceleration can be intoxicating and I had to force myself to drive more steadily.
Easy to drive
It’s an astonishingly good motorway car. Progress is smooth and silent. Having the battery located under the floor in the centre of the car creates a low centre of gravity and even weight distribution. This means it handles much better than a 2.2 ton SUV has any right to and is a lot of fun to push through a corner.
Only when you hit the brakes do you realise how heavy the I-Pace is – it’s a lot of weight to bring to a halt.
Official range is 292 miles but real world range is more like 230-240 miles, which is still more than enough for all but the longest journeys.
Such a special car comes into my hands only occasionally. My other half and I decided a stunning vehicle deserved to be taken to an equally beautiful location.
Packing a couple of weekend bags and some supplies we set off from Dundee: destination Mull.
We had a couple of glitches trying to use chargers in Oban and Perth, but for the most part charging was easy. In Tobermoray we plugged in at the harbour and by the time we’d had lunch the battery was up at 80%. A 50kW rapid charger takes around two hours to deliver a full charge, but 45 minutes is enough to add another 80-100 miles of range. The new generation of 100 and 150kWh chargers will bring those times down to just 15 or 20 minutes.
Touring the island
The Jaguar was a delight to drive around Mull, taking rough single track roads in its stride and turning heads wherever we went. Driving with the windows down the absence of engine noise meant the only sound was the waves lapping on the shore.
The I-Pace starts at around £65,000 and my top spec HSE model cost just over £75,000 and came with upgrades such as air suspension, 20in alloy wheels and Matrix LED headlights.
A large touchscreen, a smaller secondary touchscreen and dials control the car’s functions. You can tailor these, setting favourite buttons and tinkering with the layout. It’s a little fiddly at first but soon becomes second nature.
The rear windscreen is small and visibility is fairly poor. So a very clever feature is a rear view mirror that can be switched to a screen, giving a crystal clear look at what’s going on behind.
Passenger space front and rear is excellent, while the 577 litre boot is huge, though the sloping tailgate makes it harder to accommodate big dogs or very bulky items. Under the front bonnet is a small extra boot that’s perfect for storing the charging cables.
It was with great reluctance that I handed back the keys to the I-Pace. It’s not just my favourite electric vehicle, it’s one of the best cars of any kind I’ve had the pleasure to drive.
Price (as tested) £77,105
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
Top speed: 124mph
Range: 292 miles