FARO, Portugal — Tesla has a problem. Well, it actually has a few problems, but the newest one is called I-Pace.
Jaguar recently launched the all-new 2019 I-Pace, and if I had just one word to describe the first all-electric vehicle from the British automaker, it would be this: Awesome.
I went into the media preview thinking that I’d like it – just as I’ve liked the F-Pace and E-Pace.
I didn’t expect to walk away loving it. But there it is.
The exceptional thing about the I-Pace is the sheer range of capability it encompasses.
Need to do some mild off-roading? I-Pace has you covered with 8-1/2 inches of ground clearance and the ability to ford water that’s nearly 20 inches deep.
Jaguar took us through a couple of dirty, rocky steep inclines and pock-marked gravel roads – all while sporting 22-inch carbon fiber wheels and performance tires. Yet the I-Pace confidently managed the terrain with its standard air suspension and all-wheel drive.
Lust after a V-8’s performance? Look no further than the I-Pace.
Equipped with a 90 kWh battery pack, the I-Pace delivers 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque. Plus, with a low center of gravity, a 50/50 weight distribution and a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.5 seconds, this all-electric vehicle can hold its own on a racetrack.
And, yeah, I tested that, too.
For comparison we took some F-Types on the track at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal. We did hard accelerations and braking, topping 200 kph on the straightaways.
I expected that.
What I didn’t expect is that I was able to match the F-Type in speed when I got behind the wheel of the I-Pace. Yet I did. In fact, as I learned the track, I was able to go faster.
For reference, the F-Type V-8 S delivers 495 horsepower and 460-pound feet of torque. It has a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.2 seconds.
Are you simply looking for a comfortable touring car that will get you through your daily commute efficiently and with style?
I-Pace will win this category as well.
With three different drive modes – Eco, Comfort and Dynamic – you can adjust the vehicle’s throttle, steering and suspension to match your mood.
While you might miss the throaty Jaguar roar with fast acceleration, you won’t be disappointed by the immediate and fast forward motion that comes with the instantaneous torque of an electric vehicle.
I spent most of my time in comfort mode on the wending back roads of Portugal, appreciating the way it smoothed out the rough-hewn roads.
We spent time in both the First Edition model and a well-optioned S. In one of the vehicles we had the 18-way adjustable sport seats, and I was able to contour the seats to my petite frame with excellent lumbar support and seat bottom adjustments.
I found the I-Pace comfortable to drive, but I noticed that my 6-foot-tall driving partner looked a little cramped in the driver’s seat – and it was mostly because of the width of the center console.
But the range? That’s always a concern when you look at a pure electric vehicle.
In addition to getting up to 240 miles of range, which is 3 miles better than the base Tesla Model X, Jaguar has done a number of things to help ease the range anxiety for potential owners.
After about 2 weeks, the vehicle will learn your driving style, and it will be able to accurately predict your range. If you set the navigation system, it will take traffic, topography, weather and driving style into account to give you an estimate of how much range you’ll have left when you arrive at your destination. If you need to charge along the way, it’ll also be able to find a charging station for you.
Another bit of tech that helps ease range anxiety is a screen buried under EV settings as you page through the home screen.
Titled “Range Impact,” it will let you know all the external draws on the power. Everything from the heated steering wheel to the HVAC are listed on a semi-circle pie chart, and you can see what you need to turn off to give you better range.
Additionally, similar to other electric vehicles, I-Pace offers regenerative braking. If you leave it in “high” mode, it will allow you to partake of “one pedal” driving, and every time you lift off the accelerator, the vehicle will slow as well as recharge. In high mode, it is even possible to come to a complete stop, just by controlling the pressure your foot puts on the accelerator.
There is also a “low’ mode, which will allow you to experience the vehicle in more of a traditional way with coasting and the need to use your brakes.
Beyond range anxiety, there is a whole host of high-tech features that are sure to keep all techies salivating. This includes things such as an Alexa integration, a Bluetooth key fob that will adjust vehicle settings – including seating position – depending on the key fob being used, a remote app that will let you set your charging time and a WiFi hotspot that will connect up to eight devices.
Oh, and with I-Pace’s deep learning technology, if you’re a creature of habit and call your mom every day at 6 o’clock on your commute home, don’t be surprised if the car will ask you if you want to make that call if you miss a day.
One tech note: Neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto are currently available on the I-Pace. Jaguar says its coming but there is absolutely no timeline. The good news is, when it becomes available, I-Pace can receive both phone mirroring systems via an over-the-air update.
The I-Pace will come in three trims, adding a fourth “First Edition” trim for the 2019 model year only. Each vehicle is standard with the 90 kWh battery pack and all-wheel drive. But other differentiators are as follows:
S ($69,500): Includes Luxtec Sport Seats, two-zone climate control, electric cabin pre-conditioning, 18-inch wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, panoramic glass roof, keyless entry, push-button start, Touch Pro Duo with 10-inch upper and 5.5-inch lower touch screens, navigation pro, WiFi hotspot that connects up to 8 devices, 6 USB ports, emergency braking, rearview camera, cruise control, lane keep assist, 360-degree parking aids, rear traffic monitor and traffic sign recognition.
SE ($75,890): Adds grained leather sport seats, 10-way power adjusting seats, 20-inch wheels, power tailgate, auto high-beam assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and high-speed emergency braking.
HSE ($80,500): Adds Windsor leather sport seats, 18-way heated-and-cooled front seats, heated rear seats, gesture-control tailgate, Meridian surround sound system, 360-degree camera and adaptive cruise control with steering assist.
First Edition ($85,900): Adds First Edition badging, a full extended leather upgrade, suede-cloth headliner, four-zone climate control, heated windshield, head-up display, activity key, adaptive dynamics and adaptive surface response.
The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace will go on sale by the end of the year in the U.S.
The Bottom Line
The most impressive thing about the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace is that it can handle mild off-roading, aggressive racetrack-style driving and everything in between.
All the while, it provides exceptional range, cool technology and fun-to-drive dynamics.
Jaguar has a huge winner on its hands.
Editor’s Note: Driving impressions in this “First Look” review are from an invitation-only automaker launch event that allowed special access to the vehicle and executives. Jaguar covered our accommodations, meals and transportation costs.