YOUR BRAIN WILL NEED TO BE re-wired for the future of the car. For generations the grey matter has relied on sight and sound to process speed. More the noise, faster you are. Aural drama adds to excitement. It’s why supercharged Jags sound like they are gargling thunder. It’s why we slapped free-flow exhausts on our Zens and Swifts. If nothing, all that noise delivered faster feels.
Put your foot down in an I-Pace and your brain doesn’t know WTF is going on. The eyes are going OMG. Your body is gasping from the relentless surge of g's. Your passenger has run out of breath barking OMFG; the mobile phone they’ve been using to film the speedo for Instagram has smacked them hard in the face. But your ears are telling your brain that aliens are being strangled.
I don’t know how else to describe the synthesised ‘dynamic audio’ piped into the I-Pace’s cabin. They call it a ‘race car howl’ but the race cars they’re referring to are Formula E which, ahem, don’t use V12s. It’s a drone mapped to the throttle, a very, very strange noise. But it does sound like the future. And it all adds to just how astonishing the I-Pace is.
How astonishingly good the I-Pace is!
Stick the most gnarly traditionalist in the I-Pace and they will grudgingly admit the future ain’t so bad. And since we are talking about speed, let’s wrap this part up first. The I-Pace is f*cking fast. 0-100kmph in 4.8 seconds only tells one part of the story. The first of two even more impressive aspects is the immediacy of everything. Max torque of 696Nm is E63 AMG / BMW M5 territory and it’s all on tap at just 1rpm. That means there’s no wait. No hesitation. No micro-moment’s delay as turbos spool up or revs rise or the gearbox goes down the gears. It’s instant. In full Dynamic mode, it is too much to be honest. Too sharp. Too vicious. Too violent. You never had to be so sensitive to the throttle, a twitch never resulted in such a surge of acceleration. Remember to re-wire your right foot, along with the brain.
The second is the relentlessness of everything. 394bhp isn’t earth-shattering but all that instant torque means it goes from 0 right up to 190kmph like greased lightning. No momentary pause as the next gear is hammered in. No ebb and flow with the tide of revs. It’s 0.8g all the way through — and that’s the g-force you feel when a plane takes off.
The I-Pace uses two electric motors on each axle which gives it all-wheel drive, so grip off the-line isn’t a problem. Forget being a problem, it’s bazinga quick. But what’s really cool about electric cars is because everything is electric and electronic the ESP works completely in the background. In a traditional ICE it is reactive, you can feel the power being cut to account for grip running out, but here it is predictive so only that much torque is sent as the tyres can handle. It’s all incredibly seamless. Nothing is fighting anything. Torque isn’t trying to overwhelm grip, ESP isn’t working overtime to reign in the madness. It’s just one relentless, never-ending shove till you hit 190kmph. And then max out at 200kmph.
The only time you feel ESP working is when you’ve switched offESP and are cornering like a hooligan. It will let the tail hang a little bit — yes you can get it to oversteer ever so slightly — before it chimes in and says enough buddy.
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