Change can be a scary thing, even more so when you consider the future of IC-engined cars from established manufacturers with rich legacies to uphold. Take Jaguar’s announcement that its cars will all be powered by electric motors and batteries — all of them — by 2025. That’s means going forward, there’s not going to be any grumbly V8s, sonorous V6s, or anything that really defined the Jaguar experience as we knew it. But with the I-Pace, the British brand’s first-ever pure electric model, Jaguar is taking a bold step into the future. For us here in India, it’s our best preview of Jags to come. And the question still remains — can an all-electric Jaguar give you the same feeling of driving something special, with sportiness built right in, that Jags typically do?
Going by the styling, you’d certainly think so. The I-Pace has that unmistakably Jaguar face and curves, even if its proportions suggest a jacked-up crossover rather than an all-out SUV. With no packaging constraints for an ICpowertrain, the wheels are pushed right out to the four corners, and overhangs are hatchback-like short. Quite uniquely, the I-Pace manages to pack a 2,990mm long wheelbase (marginally longer than even the Jaguar F-Pace, and only just shorter than the Audi e-tron) into a body that’s much, much shorter, even when compared to the Mercedes-Benz EQC, its chief rival in India, alongside the to-be-launched Audi e-tron. The I-Pace is wide, though. Very, very wide. It measures 2,139mm in width with the mirrors extended, and 2,011mm with the mirrors folded — the width of the full-size, 7-seater Land Rover Defender.
The stubby hood may not be very Jaguar-like, but it’s got curves in all the right places, and the functional aero elements (the scalloped hood, roof spoiler, flush door handles) don’t look too technical — they actually add to the car’s aesthetics. Despite all that and the fully flat underbody, its 0.29 coefficient of drag doesn’t quite compare to something like the Tesla Model X’s 0.25Cd. Perhaps it’s that the I-Pace does appear to ride quite high on its suspension, with the car’s off-road drive mode taking ground clearance up to a total of 230mm when needed.
Still, sat on 19-inch wheels and 235/60 section tires, the Jaguar I-Pace definitely looks a lot less monstrous than something like a Model X. It takes seeing the gorgeous I-Pace in the metal to really appreciate it, parts like the squared-off tail look a lot less abrupt in person. All said, it definitely looks like nothing else on the road — stylish and sporty all at the same time.
Interiors, practicality and features
It’s more good news inside. The cabin doesn’t immediately scream 2030 at you in the same way that some other EVs do, with touchscreens dominating the entire experience. Instead, in the I-Pace what’s dominating the cabin is the fact that the dashboard itself stretches out ahead of you to meet the sharply raked windscreen. And while there are screens aplenty — three of them — they’re reasonably sized and are mounted low out of your line of vision. There’s the all-digital instrumentation, Touch Pro Duo infotainment, and a climate control screen that thankfully still has rotary dials for temperature, blower speed, and to set the front heated/ventilated front seats that come as standard on the top-end I-Pace HSE.
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