Ask and you shall receive – right, Elon Musk? The Tesla chief took the auto world by storm when he rolled out his line of luxury electric cars, but little did he know that his call for the world’s other leading automakers to manufacture competitive “green” vehicles would be met head-on by Jaguar.
The British company, with an 80+ year history of producing fine executive cars and sports coupes, has more than stepped up to Musk’s challenge. It has launche a new five-seat SUV crossover, the I-Pace, that’s now standing toe-to-toe with Tesla’s front running Model X.
The I-Pace is Jag’s first all-electric vehicle. With a starting price of $70,495, it aims to become the leader in the SUV market that includes Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche as well as Tesla.
Track results show that the new Jag has a range of up to 234 miles on a full battery charge – that’s New York City to Boston without stopping to plug in.
So what makes this big cat purr? For starters, it boasts two electric motors that generate 394 horespower, which Jaguar says will muscle a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds. (That’s faster than the Model X and just a fraction behind Tesla’s iconic Model S super sedan.) And track results show that the new Jag has a range of up to 234 miles on a full battery charge – that’s New York City to Boston without stopping to plug in.
The raw I-Pace power is tamed by all-wheel drive traction, which also comes in handy in stormy weather or when the pavement ends and off-roading begins. Faced with rough terrain, drivers can adjust the car’s suspension height: A flip switch will activate air springs to raise the SUV’s body 2 inches and improve ground clearance. At higher speeds (and back on asphalt), the suspension can be lowered about one-half inch to boost aerodynamics.
Inside the cabin, you’ll find all the amenities typically associated with the Jaguar name. Thanks to acoustically laminated front side glass and windshield and full-frame doors, road and wind noise is remarkably hushed.
A pair of center touch screens – a main 10-inch screen and a secondary 5.5 inch unit – house system and climate controls. Soft, double-needle-stitched leather seats can be electronically heated or cooled. And speaking of temperature, I-Pace drivers will be wise to download the corresponding smartphone app, which can remotely set the temperature of the interior without using battery power.
An old adage suggests that sometimes less is more. Without an engine, the I-Pace offers fewere mechanical components for a driver to interact (play) with. No worries. This isn’t a sports car; it’s a high tech, sporty electric SUV.