In-depth reviews

Jaguar I-Pace electric motor, drive & performance

The Jaguar I-Pace is the best-handling pure electric car you can buy, short of the more expensive Porsche Taycan

Jaguar I-Pace
Rating
Electric motor, drive & performance Rating
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
4.8s124mphFour396bhp

Car enthusiasts aren’t without electric options – the BMW i8, for instance – but the Jaguar I-Pace sets a new benchmark in the more mainstream end of the market. There’s a real sense of playfulness in its dialled-in responses and adjustable chassis. It’s by far the most entertaining electrified executive car out there at the moment. It really is very special to drive, and only the much more expensive, more sportscar-like Porsche Taycan betters it for driver reward.

Jaguar I-Pace electric motor, 0-62mph and acceleration

The Jaguar I-Pace has four-wheel drive courtesy of an electric motor on each axle. It delivers 396bhp and 0-62mph takes 4.8 seconds. Our only big criticism concerns brake feel. The I-Pace has regenerative braking, of course (in fact, you can choose between light or heavy ‘regen’ force), but whichever setting it’s in, the brake feel is short of precision; it can be tricky to stop the car smoothly and precisely. At least the way the I-Pace slows down when you lift off the accelerator is easy to get used to.

Handling

The I-Pace has fairly heavy steering even in the more laid-back driving modes, but it eases up at parking speeds enough to make manoeuvring easy, and if you toggle into Dynamic mode then you can enjoy some of the best handling of any electric car. Sling it into a corner and the weighty steering gives you an immediate sense of connection so you have the confidence to make the most of the prodigious grip. It’s a precise and surprisingly adjustable car to drive hard, with an edge of delicacy to it that you’d never expect of a two-tonne SUV.

That's all thanks to the two electric motors that shuffle power between the front and rear wheels of the I-Pace, and also thanks to the low-set batteries that are arrayed along the car’s floorpan to keep the centre of gravity low. 

Our biggest gripe is that the ride is on the firm side, particularly at low speed, but it doesn’t make the car feel uncomfortable. The optional air suspension is worth considering, as it helps the ride settle at high speed and takes the edge off the thuds from potholes.

The four-wheel drive isn’t there just to make the I-Pace good to drive on a decent country road; Jaguar has also taken some Land Rover know-how to give it some off-road capability. All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) is a bit like cruise control for bad terrain – it’ll keep the I-Pace going over a muddy field and moderate the car’s speed down a stony descent.

The I-Pace is no Discovery when it comes to off-roading but it’ll cope easily if you regularly negotiate unpaved tracks. Sadly, the I-Pace is only rated to tow lightweight trailers of up to 750kg, so this is not the car for you if you’ve got a horsebox or caravan to tow.

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