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8/10
Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Jaguar I-Pace

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8/10
Overall verdict
Jaguar stepped bravely into the unknown and nailed it. A rapid, desirable, good-looking SUV that happens to be powered by electricity
 

For: 

Acceleration, interior space, big boot, brave exterior design

Against: 

Not cheap, better infotainment systems out there, claimed range is ambitious

Overview

What is it?

It was the boldest of bold moves from Jaguar: an all-electric SUV, the first credible rival to Tesla’s premium EV dominance, a car that beat its German rivals to market and a radical piece of design. The I-Pace signalled the start of something big when it first launched in 2018 – that mainstream manufacturers, not just Silicon Valley start-ups and BMW, were prepared to invest properly in building new-from-the-ground-up electric cars you might actually want to own, and might be able to afford.

After incremental updates over the years, headline facts are currently thus: the I-Pace uses two concentric electric motors, one on each axle for permanent four-wheel drive, producing 395bhp and 513lb ft of torque, delivered through a single-speed gearbox. The lithium-ion battery, placed under the floor – de rigueur these days – is sized at 90kWh, good for a claimed 292-mile range on the WLTP cycle. Give it the berries and 0–60mph in 4.5 seconds and a 124mph top speed is rapid by any measure. 

The I-Pace can also make the most of 11kW home chargers, which you can only get if you have a three-phase electrical supply. With one of these boxes the I-Pace can now charge at a rate of 33 miles per hour, compared to 22 miles per hour from a more common 7kW wallbox. A 100kW public charger can add 78 miles in 15 minutes. It’s a lot to take in, and that’s before you’ve considered whether you’ve actually got anywhere convenient to plug it in, or whether a limited range is compatible with your lifestyle.

It’s easy to forget that the I-Pace is still just a car: four tyres, a steering wheel, some seats surrounded by aluminium and glass. If anyone’s going to be persuaded to cough up at least £65,245 for a base spec car, it still needs to go, stop, steer and turn heads with panache.

It does look good, doesn’t it? Those 20-inch wheels – standard on the SE and HSE models and often blacked out to merge with the rubber – are probably the Instagram/ride quality sweet spot… there are also 19s available if you want to look silly, or 22s if you must. But it’s the proportions that steal the show: the stubbed nose that brings the front wheels forward with it and the high, squared-off rear end set the template, while the rear spoiler, vented bonnet and flush doorhandles provide the detail. Its beauty doesn’t slap you like a botoxed Alfa, it’s a slower burn than that, but eventually its bravery hooks you in.

Read a long-term review on the Jaguar I-Pace by clicking on these blue words.

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