The all-new, all-electric 2018 Jaguar I-Pace is already getting rave reviews from the automotive press, and soon we should be seeing them silently whisking through better neighbourhoods across Canada.
Part of the praise has been lauded on styling, the compact luxury crossover SUV benefiting from trademark Jaguar design cues currently in use by the new E-Pace sport utility, its larger F-Pace brother, and pretty well every other Jaguar within the iconic luxury brand’s lineup, including the beautiful F-Type sports car.
The new I-Pace arrives on the market as one of only two fully electric luxury crossover SUVs available, not to mention the sole compact luxury SUV to be sold without an internal combustion engine (ICE). Its only competitor is the slightly larger Tesla Model X, and both have the clear advantage of targeting the EV marketplace with crossover SUV body styles. This said Audi and Mercedes are preparing SUV EV challengers that could make life difficult for the upstart Jaguar, so it had better get up to speed while it can.
Get up to speed it will, and quickly. Standstill to 100km/h takes a mere 4.8 seconds, which makes it the quickest of all Jaguar “Pace” models. The fastest new E-Pace R-Dynamic can manage zero to 100km/h in a spirited 6.4 seconds, while the F-Pace S is capable of the same feat in 5.5 seconds. Top speed is limited to 200 km/h (124 mph), but pegging one’s foot to the floor can seriously impinge on maximum EV range.
Estimated EV range is a considerable 386 km (240 miles) when driven more modestly, which should allow most users multiple days without the need to recharge, as well as the ability to undertake short road trips. Of note, 386 km (240 miles) is also 5 km (3 miles) farther down the road than the base Tesla Model X 75D.
As long as you go easy on the go-pedal while maximizing the use of regenerative braking when coasting downhill, and spending as little time as possible at highway speeds, such range would allow someone living in Vancouver to drive all the way to Whistler, tour around a bit, and then come back again with enough battery storage left over for running some errands when you return.
The new I-Pace houses a 90-kWh liquid-cooled battery in an aluminum casing within the floor’s structure, and requires just 40 minutes to fill from a fully drained state to 80-percent capacity when hooked up to a 100-kW DC quick charger. On a regular 240-volt Level 2 home charger you’ll need about 10 hours to achieve the same results, or slightly less than 13 hours (12.9) to fully top it up. Still, considering the range available, a single night of charging, or alternatively multiple nights during off-peak hours makes the I-Pace easy to live with.
On the other hand, it’s quite possible you’ll appreciate I-Pace performance even more than its range if access to a charger isn’t an issue. As noted earlier, the British premium brand’s newest creation has no problem leaving the majority of stoplight drag racers far behind when red turns to green, this thanks to an electric motor at each axle resulting in the tarmac gripping traction of standard all-wheel drive, plus the accumulated output of 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque.
Also in the I-Pace corner is the British automaker’s expertise in lightweight engineering, shown in a monocoque body shell comprised mostly of aluminum. This is nothing new for Jaguar, which makes all but one of its production models from the light yet rigid metal. Underpinning this is a totally unique EV architecture that embeds the aforementioned battery within the floor’s structure. This allowed for much more flexibility when it came designing the cab-forward cabin.
To put the new I-Pace into a measured perspective within the Jaguar family, it starts out 287 millimetres (11.3 inches) longer than the E-Pace and 49 mm (2.0 inches) shorter than the F-Pace, with a wheelbase that’s 309 mm (12.2 inches) and 116 mm (4.6 inches) longer respectively, for much greater front and rear legroom than either. Additionally, the roof of the I-Pace is 84 mm (3.3 inches) lower than that on the E-Pace and nearly 86 mm (3.4 inches) down on the F-Pace, resulting in a sleeker, sportier profile. Added to this is much greater width for a sportier stance and more interior spaciousness side-to-side, the I-Pace some 155 mm (6.1 inches) wider than the E-Pace and 69 mm (2.7 inches) more so than the F-Pace.
The unique layout allows for a cab-forward design featuring a windshield that reaches far over the front wheels, as well as a shorter more steeply raked hood, plus shorter front and rear overhangs, with each wheel pushed out as far to its corner as possible, resulting in much greater interior volume and a strong, athletic stance.
With much of its weight down low, which reduces the centre of gravity, and benefiting from the lower roof height just mentioned, plus the increased wheelbase and more substantive track that comes from the greater width just noted as well, it’s no wonder the automotive press is glowing about I-Pace handling. The standard chassis rides upon an Active Air Suspension featuring auto-leveling as well as the ability to reduce the I-Pace’ drag by automatically lowering a half inch at highway speeds, which reportedly combines for an exceptionally good ride quality and handling compromise. Additionally, the I-Pace achieves ideal 50:50 weight distribution, so expect a particularly well-balanced EV.
Jaguar’s driver-configurable continuously variable Adaptive Dynamics system is optional, which analyzes vertical wheel positions, vehicle acceleration, steering inputs, plus throttle and braking actuation before it automatically adjusts the suspension damping settings depending on your personal drive mode choice (Dynamic being sportiest), while Adaptive Surface Response is also available, this system harvesting info from myriad sensors in order to calculate approximate adhesion levels on low-grip surfaces, such as ice, before you even apply steering input, and then after making your turn it minimizes understeer and oversteer levels by controlling throttle and braking inputs.
Braking in mind, two levels of regenerative brakes come as part of the standard I-Pace package, with either its high or low settings providing different degrees of “engine braking” when lifting off the throttle. It’s in the nature of EVs to slow down when removing one’s foot from the accelerator pedal, but providing firmer automatic powertrain braking makes using the brake pedal less necessary, easing everyday driving and saving on brake maintenance plus otherwise expensive repair costs.
While performance is a critical element with any new Jaguar model, anyone familiar with the brand will also appreciate its rich heritage in luxury. Following in this tradition the new I-Pace combines contemporary design with beautifully finished, authentic fabrics, leathers, metals and woods, as well as state-of-the-art digital interfaces. Depending on trim, contrast stitched padded leather covers the majority of surfaces that aren’t finished in standard metals or hardwoods.
Specifically, the four leather-covered cabin motifs include Ebony (black), Light Oyster (light grey), Mars Red (crimson), and Siena Tan (caramel/saddle), while light beige and black headliners are available in woven cloth or Suedecloth. Even the steering wheel rim can be had in Suedecloth or traditional leather, while decorative inlays, which highlight key areas on the instrument panel and doors, include Gloss Charcoal Ash veneer, a piano black lacquer Gloss Black, a patterned Monogram Aluminum, and Aluminum Weave Carbon Fibre.
A head-up display, which projects key information onto the windscreen ahead of the driver, is optional, but get ready to be impressed because a fully configurable 12.3-inch primary gauge cluster is standard fare, as are two infotainment touchscreen displays that Jaguar dubs InControl Touch Pro Duo, the main top screen measuring 10 inches diagonally and second, a 5.5-inch display used primarily for the climate controls, fixed lower on the sloped centre console. Available voice activation comes via Amazon’s Alexa, which was designed to promote the use of hands-free interaction.
Latest tech in mind, I-Pace automatic climate control utilizes an artificial intelligence (AI) system that senses the number of occupants on board before adjusting the temperature, while the AI system is also capable of calculating remaining EV range based on climate control usage, weather conditions, topography, driving style, and traffic conditions.
The heating and ventilation controls sit atop a centre console that slants up toward the main display upon two flying buttress-style supports that house controls for the gear selector and driving mode switchgear, this paying respect to a design theme used by Jaguar in its F-Type sports car and new E-Pace utility, although the overall look of the new climate control interface, which incorporates large dials that appear as if they’re floating on top of a digital background, is even more futuristic.
Follow that centre stack down to rearmost portion of the console and you’ll find 12.2 litres (0.43 cubic feet) of storage space under the centre armrest, its generous capacity due to the absence of a transmission tunnel, whereas the rear seating area incorporates trays for tablets and laptops, similar in concept to what Jaguar has long offered in its top-line XJ.
A panoramic sunroof sheds light over both rows of occupants, with those in the rear having the option of another two automatic climate control zones for a total of four. Back passengers can also benefit from Jaguar’s “Click and Go” front seatback attachment system, which allows features such as display screens to be mounted quickly and easily, while plenty of cargo area add-ons help enhance load space functionality.
That cargo area measures 656 litres (23.1 cubic feet), which makes it considerably larger than the E-Pace’s 577-litre (20.4 cubic-foot) rearmost compartment and similar to the F-Pace’s 685 litres (1,510 cubic feet) of usable luggage space when the rear seats are upright. The cargo area is finished as expected in the premium class, with high-grade carpets, chromed tie-down hooks, and 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatbacks that expand on its usability, the centre portion folding separately to allow a couple of rear passengers the benefit of window seats while longer items like skis are stowed down the middle.
As far as trims go, Jaguar Canada is offering the I-Pace in S, SE, and HSE trims, plus a one-off First Edition that will only be available for the 2018 model year. Pricing for the base S model starts at $86,500 before provincial government incentive programs in Quebec and BC (Ontario no longer offers plug-in rebates), with some yet to be mentioned highlights from its long list of standard features including 18-inch 15-spoke alloy wheels, auto on/off LED headlights with automatic headlight levelling and follow me home lighting, LED taillights, heated side mirrors with approach lights, rain-sensing wipers, and more.
Preset your desired temperature via electric cabin pre-conditioning ahead of climbing over the standard metal treadplates with Jaguar script and taking hold of the soft grain leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, at which point you’ll also find the aforementioned standard Interactive Driver Display, as well as an electromechanical parking brake, JaguarDrive Control mode selections, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Homelink garage door opener, an always welcome sunglasses holder, a fixed panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, voice control, Navigation Pro GPS, Bluetooth connectivity, a Meridian audio system, satellite and HD radio, six USB power points, eight-way semi-powered front seats, Luxtec upholstery, storage under the rear seats, and more.
Standard advanced driver assistance systems including autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, a Driver Condition Monitor, Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Traffic Monitor, Clear Exit Monitor, and Park Assist semi-automated self parking, while the I-Pace is also filled with the usual types of active and passive safety equipment expected in this class.
Options with the base S model include the Adaptive Dynamics, Configurable Dynamics and Adaptive Surface Response noted earlier, plus premium LED headlights with signature DRLs, fog lights, various alloy wheels measuring 18 to 22 inches in diameter, gloss black or carbon-fibre exterior trim, auto-dimming and power folding side mirrors with memory, a wearable Activity Key, a heatable steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, a head-up display, a 360-degree surround parking camera, four-zone climate control, a cooled glove box, configurable ambient lighting, cabin air ionization, Meridian surround sound audio, a powered liftgate, the same with keyless gesture control, as well as various metal, hardwood and woven carbon-fibre inlays, interior materials and colours, a cargo net, storage rails, a luggage retention kit, etcetera, while available advanced driver assistance features include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, High-Speed Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Assist, Steering Assist, and more.
Moving up to $92,500 SE trim adds standard 20-inch alloy wheels, premium LED headlamps, auto-dimming power folding side mirrors, a powered tailgate, grained leather upholstery, and a Drive Pack consisting of Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, High-speed Emergency Braking, and Blind Spot Assist, while $96,500 HSE trim ups the ante with a different set of 20-inch alloy wheels, plus Windsor leather upholstery, Meridian surround sound audio, a powered gesture tailgate, and a Driver Assist Pack that adds the surround parking camera and steering assist to the SE’s Drive Pack.
A fully loaded I-Pace First Edition, like the one that just set a production EV lap record around California’s famed Laguna Seca racetrack, will set you back $103,500, but for that money you’ll get everything from the HSE as well as design details inspired by the stunning I-Pace Concept, including Photon Red exterior paint, 20-inch Technical Grey split-spoke alloy wheels, the choice of Ebony or Light Oyster interior colourways, an exclusive Suedecloth headliner, Gloss Charcoal Ash veneer inlays, unique First Edition branded floor mats, metal treadplates with First Edition logos, and more.
If the new 2018 I-Pace sounds like your type of EV, make sure to contact your local Jaguar retailer to learn how you can put your name on one. It’s a very special electric crossover SUV from a brand that’s steeped in performance and luxury heritage, and therefore deserves your attention.