By on June 19, 2018

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Editor’s Note: This article is written by contributor Jeff Taylor. Due to technical difficulties, it is under the TTAC Staff byline. Once those difficulties are fixed, Jeff’s name will be properly attached.

Jaguar’s new I-Pace EV is the first vehicle in the automaker’s plan to fully electrify — or electrically assist — all of its vehicles beginning in 2020.

The I-Pace raises the question: can Jaguar’s EV powertrain live up to everyday driving demands and deliver the premium experience luxury buyers demand without a huge power-suck mileage penalty?

Additionally, mainstream and luxury manufacturers have announced aggressive electrification plans of their own, which puts more heat on Jaguar to get it right or risk its plug being pulled.

To gauge Jaguar’s level of success, I spent some time in Lisbon, Portugal for the I-Pace Media Drive. During the launch program, I put the I-Pace through some tough driving situations and made some surprising discoveries about both the vehicle and what it means for the industry moving forward.

Full disclosure: Jaguar flew me to Lisbon, Portugal and covered my luxury hotel accommodations and meals. They also provided track time at Autodromo Internacional Algarve racecourse in Portugal. I was also offered a European electric outlet plug converter, which I did take, and an I-Pace coffee table hardbound book, which I did not keep.

I-Pace is the first legitimate challenger to Tesla’s Model S hatchback and Model X SUV. Tesla has been the poster child for luxury electric vehicles for several years, but a string of delays/high-profile incidents/corporate layoffs have tattered that poster. Jaguar has the benefit of fortuitous timing for the launch of its version of what a premium, all-wheel-drive, midsize crossover EV can be.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Walk up to the 2019 I-Pace and you’ll notice the low roof height, styling bends, kinks, pop-out door handles, vents, and diffuser. All are there for air management purposes and look good on the curvaceous body. The rear is abrupt to provide maximum aero efficiency. Large 20-inch tires (22’s are available) fill wheel openings and provide an aggressive contact patch. The “cab-forward” design, combined with a long wheelbase and short overhangs, gives I-Pace an athletic blend of crossover/sedan/wagon that differentiates it from oddball-styled EVs. During the drive, I received lots of admiring glances and head nods. Goodbye geek, hello chic.

The battery design is a big reason why this vehicle exists. It’s a big lithium-ion pack with a nickel, manganese, and cobalt composition. It’s heavy, so engineers designed the battery to tuck below the floor and become an integral part of the platform, improving the vehicle’s center of gravity and maximizing interior space. The result is a nearly neutral 50/50 weight balance.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

The other powertrain story is the Jaguar-designed dual e-motors powering both the front and rear axles. The motors are synchronous permanent magnet units linked to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Total system output is robust at 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft of torque. Towing is not an option, but a bike carrier and roof rack are.

Fire up the I-Pace and there’s nothing, no shudder, vibration or roar of a combustion engine. The dash lights up, accompanied by a brief hum, as the car becomes “energized.” Pulling out into a crowded street, the I-Pace felt and behaved like previous EVs I’ve tested. Adjustable, regenerative braking enables single-foot driving, meaning I could keep my foot off the brake pedal and still slow down. Regenerative braking can be set for lighter or firmer application and activates the brake lights when in use.

I-Pace’s double-wishbone front suspension is cribbed from the F-Type, and at the rear, there’s a modified version of the integral-link suspension employed in E-Pace and F-Pace. The suspension is adjustable with Comfort, Dynamic and Eco modes. I-Pace can go “low-rider” via an optional height-adjustable air suspension that drops it 1.6 inches. An additional 0.4-inch drop occurs at speeds in excess of 65 mph for more drag relief. You can also raise I-Pace 2.0 inches for off-road and water crossings – more on that later.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Mash the juice pedal in Dynamic mode and you’re pushed deeply into the seatback. Jaguar claims a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds. I was impressed by the acceleration, immediate response and smooth takeoff – no noise, body shake or gear changes.

After buzzing down the highway out of Lisbon, we ventured up into the mountains. It was there that I learned how capable and responsive I-Pace is. Charging up the mountain roads, taking corners at an aggressive clip, my co-driver and I kept pushing the I-Pace. We were able to toss it deep into corners confidently, using regenerative braking to scrub speed entering turns and hairpin corners, then power out as quickly as we would in any current premium sports sedan.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

When the pavement ended, I gave the car a bath. Using the adjustable height setting, AWD and low speed I (intentionally) put an electric vehicle in a stream that was nearly two feet deep and full of small rocks. Then, upon exit, it was straight up a very steep and long hillside with minimal wheel spin or rock inference.

The final part of our drive involved hot laps of the Autodromo Internacional Algarve racecourse. This challenging 15-turn track allowed us to blast down the short front stretch approaching speeds of 120 mph (124 mph is the vehicle’s top speed). The I-Pace carved up corners as well as most sports sedans, exhibiting minimal body lean, brake fade, or excessive suspension unloading. There was some slight understeer and late braking lead to some heart-stopping moments, but the overall buzz from the pampered press was positive.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

So, about that mileage range – I’m not a believer in manufacturer EV range claims, as I’ve nearly been stranded several times. Jaguar cites a 240-mile range and I believe that figure is achievable through meticulous driving and favorable weather conditions. However, 200-215 miles is more likely. A 100kW DC fast charger provides roughly an 80 percent charge in about 40 minutes. Buy a 7kW wall box charger for your garage and Jaguar indicates it will take almost 13 hours to fully charge a depleted battery.

Inside I-Pace I was greeted by a massive protruding dash housing large digital gauges behind a grippy steering wheel. Two screens dominate the center of the dash: A 10-inch touchscreen up top, and a 5-inch screen below. The latter displays infotainment via the menu-heavy Touch Pro Duo system. Dials with mini readout screens for HVAC and audio control are also used.

The navigation system employs artificial intelligence so I-Pace can learn your driving style. Beyond directions, I used it for a projection of my remaining mileage range. It can also program a drive route around charging stations – very handy.

The leather seats are very comfortable during aggressive driving (excluding second row center position) and comfortable for normal drives. The flat floor provided excellent foot/leg room and rear seating is good for four. Above your head is a roof comprised of a solid UV coated (non-shade) piece of tinted glass — it looks cool — but I question its crashworthiness. My other interior gripe concerns the short sun visors that don’t stretch the length of the front passenger windows to block the late afternoon sun.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

As I-Pace is a crossover, it has to be able to carry something. The luggage compartment holds 25.3 cubic feet second row up, and 51.0 cubic feet with the second row folded flat.

At launch late this summer, I-Pace will be offered in four trim levels: S, SE, HSE and First Edition. During the program I drove a fully loaded S ($69,500 base, $82,885 as tested) and a red First Edition ($85,900 base, $88,595 as-tested) models. The as-tested pricing included the $995 destination and delivery charge. There’s quite a spread between S and HSE models, mainly in equipment, but not in looks.

Available equipment includes leather seats, blind-spot assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, high-speed emergency braking, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, power tailgate (power gesture tailgate also available), heated steering wheel, front fog lights, four-zone climate control, premium audio, 360-degree camera, activity key, adaptive cruise control with steering assist, and head-up display.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar has now upped the standard for luxury and non-luxury EVs with its I-Pace. This SUV/sports car combination is not perfect, but it hits the sweet spots of robust acceleration, athletic handling, and a roomy, luxurious interior. I’m a muscle-car aficionado raised on “there’s no substitute for cubic inches” mantra, and I never thought I would be impressed by the performance of a production EV. I-Pace previews the direction and expectations that cars and crossovers will take in the future.

[Images © Jaguar/Land Rover USA]

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41 Comments on “2019 Jaguar I-Pace First Drive – Electric Avenue Now Has More Traffic...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    It looks like a Micro Machine.

  • avatar

    I think these will sell well, have to find out how they drive in real world situations.

    What I’m sure of right now is the ultra gloss wood insert on the passenger side is a misstep. Natural open pore wood in an electric vehicle is much more appropriate. That’s vintage S-Type wood.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    I love the last two promo shots – “electric car” and “drive out into the mountains and woods!!” *do not mix well for me*.

    Hybrid it up, sure.

    All-battery, not so much.

    (Me, I’m not really sold on the aesthetics, either. I find it stubby and lumpy and the wheels cartoonishly oversized.

    Oddly, the E and F-Pace models look better, even on Jaguar’s website in the same basic profile, *despite* there being no particularly significant differences in any detail I can see.)

  • avatar
    Dilrod

    Wow, that was quite an adventure you had! Well done and I’ll be interested to see where EVs go from here.

  • avatar
    srh

    I’m sure hyperbole makes for good copy, but the 2-foot-deep stream is a “pics or it didn’t happen” type of claim.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This is the EV I would get if I could afford it.

    My only complaint/concern: How does Jaguar manage to get so little range out of 90 kWH? FWIW, some reviewers believe Jaguar’s 240-mile estimate is conservative, and that it will actually go farther.

    • 0 avatar
      srh

      Agreed. As a Leaf owner I have slight Tesla envy (notably range envy), but the poor interior design and quality control make them a non-starter for me.

      Not that Jaguar has a perfect record, especially on the latter point, but I’m inclined to believe it’s considerably better than Tesla. Might solve my itch for both a longer range EV and a nicer interior than my Leaf with just one car.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      The EQA is coming and should be priced closer to an entry-level Model 3. Given Mercedes reputation with the CLA, who knows if the interior will be that great. It’ll still be eligible for the subsidy, so it should be relatively cheap.

      https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mercedes-benz/exhibitions/ces/showcars/concept-eqa-ces-2018/

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Well, the A-Class appears to be rectifying the crappy interior thing. I think Mercedes-Benz has learned not to spoil its brand equity on a cheap-feeling car that’s nevertheless outclassed by products costing thousands less (Golf, Mazda3, Civic, etc…).

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Yes, because this needed to be a thing.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I heard these are built in the finest of tents.

    (Seriously, I sure hope Tesla gets its’ act together, and does it quickly – this is just one of many competitors that will be hitting the market shortly.)

  • avatar
    incautious

    As tesla’s $7500 tax credit runs out in the coming month or two, Jaguar will certainly benefit from that bit of pricing advantage.

  • avatar
    GregLocock

    You do realise these test routes are carefully vetted by the drive organisers beforehand, don’t you? So the amazing thing would be if you were to find a problem with the car on the prescribed route.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “…and an I-Pace coffee table hardbound book, which I did not keep.”

    You know, you guys could accept all that cool swag, and then give it away to readers as a part of contests or drawings, like some other sites do.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    No glass for old men.

  • avatar
    33873

    Handsome car.. now if only Toyota, GM and the others could design their electric cars to not look so.. electronic.

  • avatar
    Ce he sin

    “The motors are synchronous permanent magnet units linked to a continuously variable automatic transmission.”

    Are we quite sure about that? If so, it’s a new one to me.

  • avatar
    la834

    It will be interesting to see if the residuals on these are closer to Tesla levels or closer to every other EV (i.e. quickly plunging)

  • avatar
    conundrum

    These beasts are all made by Magna in Austria. So everything will fit properly, no excuses. It looks good, actually great in my personal opinion, and has AWD standard. To the best of my knowledge, Magna has not resorted to tent final assembly, and the vehicle comes without overblown gimmicks or mini round-cell battery technology which requires too many welds and chances for screwing up in assembly.

    Nice one.

  • avatar

    Nothing in that SUV says “I am EV”. It looks like any other evil gas powered jaguar. Tesla on the other hand is immediately recognized as EV.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Continuously variable automatic transmission? No, probably not.

    This is arguably less awkward looking but than a Model X but also less useful (the curse of sporty CUVs vs minivan-like CUVs). It’s not much less expensive, particularly given that the base price doesn’t include things you’d assume a luxury car would have like leather and blind spot monitoring. It doesn’t come with any assurance of better quality. It doesn’t come with a bigger dealer network. I’m struggling to see its advantage.

    But its disadvantage is plain to see: no Supercharger network. Telsa has a massive, dedicated fast charge network, it’s faster than any actually-existing competitive system, and it’s integrated into the navigation route planning. Jaguar has no charging network, no integrated route planning, and its fast-charge claims are based on 100kW chargers that effectively don’t exist: most actually existing non-Tesla fast chargers are 24 or 50 at best, vs ~120 for Tesla.

    Nobody would buy gas cars if it was hard to find a gas station, and when you found one there was a half hour wait for the other guys to finish filling up, and then the hose didn’t fit your filler neck, and might randomly get dinged for four times what the last fillup cost, and it might be randomly be way faster or way slower than the last fillup. This is the problem facing LITERALLY EVERY OTHER MANUFACTURER EXCEPT TESLA. If you build out the charging network, they will come. If you don’t, you’re building luxuriously appointed second cars at best. That’s a market, but it’s not the future.


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