A heavy battery-powered crossover, the I-Pace nonetheless performs like the best of gas-powered Jaguars.. We give it an 8 out of 10.
The secret of its performance lies in that all-electric powertrain. Twin electric motors manage to make 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft of torque. They’re juiced by a 90-kwh battery that is mounted under the floor. At 1,329 pounds, it’s forced us to accept the Jag’s 4,784-pound curb weight, a good third of which is due to its heavy electricals.
Yet it’s as if no one told the I-Pace how much it actually weighs, because nothing that tall and heavy should accelerate to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Top speed, on the other hand, is a paltry 124 mph. Blame this on battery preservation as well as sheer physics. Still, we won’t be surprised if Jaguar comes out with some sort of SVR trim that ups the top speed while cutting down the 0-60 mph time.
All-wheel drive is standard and power is equally distributed to all four corners. For now, there are no additional driving modes to pick from. But even without them the I-Pace is quick to leap forward at the driver’s behest. It will run up a twist mountain road with near-silent intention.
If you want the full electric experience, the I-Pace offers both high- and low-regeneration modes for recapturing energy otherwise lost during braking. High regen enables one-pedal driving; just lift off the throttle and it feels like someone threw out an anchor from the rear hatch as up to 0.4g of regenerative braking force kicks in. Low-regen mode is more conventional and feels more like an ordinary car. An option to engage artificial transmission creep further replicates the gas-powered experience.
During a 200-mile-plus road test, we stayed almost entirely in high regeneration mode. Besides extending battery life, the high-regen one-pedal driving means much less use of the conventional friction brakes. These stoppers have a long pedal stroke and sit much higher off the floor than the accelerator. We’d recommend sticking with the high-regen option just to avoid playing footsie with the weirdly-placed, slightly soft brake pedal.
Surprisingly, the I-Pace has some mild off-road ability. It can ford through 19.7 inches of water, the same as a Range Rover Evoque, and can scrabble up gravel roads and dusty inclines. That said, don’t expect to go rock-crawling with it, as ground clearance can be as low as 5.6 inches. The approach and departure angles are also nothing to write home about. We’d limit our off-pavement driving to trails and forest roads.
Jaguar I-Pace ride and handling
Big and heavy as the I-Pace is, placing the batteries under the floor lowers the center of gravity and gives the crossover perfect weight distribution—two critical reasons that explain why the I-Pace can behave like a sports car when given the right roads to play on.
Furthering the sporty nature of the Jaguar is its dual-wishbone front suspension and an integral-link rear suspension, along with air springs all around. The underpinnings keep the I-Pace planted through corners and let it soak up road imperfections while doing so, even when equipped with the available 22-inch wheels. Driven more sedately the I-Pace is a pleasing luxury crossover with a laudable ride.
We also had a chance to run the I-Pace on a high-speed track in Portugal. There we had the chance to really let the Jag off the leash and push it in ways most customers wouldn’t dream of. We found that it does an able job of hauling down from triple-digit speeds and handling technical alternating corners. Even in these manic conditions it always felt composed and controllable, though understeer was omnipresent.
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