This is a new EV and it has a radiator grille, so we need to get this out of the way immediately — the grille on the first all-electric Jaguar ever, the I-Pace just revealed at the LA auto show, is thankfully functional even if grossly overqualified for the job of cooling the crossover’s 90kW lithium-ion battery pack.
You could put almost any badge on this and it would pass, but Jaguar’s big growler had to have a lot of grille for company in order to confirm the I-Pace as a genuine Jaguar to onlookers. This one, you see, can’t make ludicrous amounts of V8 noise to announce its arrival like other Jags of late.
And it’s arriving by 2018 on the road, the I-Pace, in pretty much the form you see here, looking like a big, handsome hatchback and packing 700Nm of insta-torque. Jaguar’s most daring product in over a century of building cars certainly won’t come short of power — Coventry says 0-100kph takes around four seconds with a system total of 400 horsepower from the twin electric motors integrated in the front and rear axles. Jaguar claims the I-Pace will do 500km on a charge, although maybe not quite that much on the show car’s blade-design 23in wheels wrapped in rubber bands.
Developed in-house by Jaguar, the powertrain systems charge fully in just over two hours and then you’re ready to put down the same amount of torque as a 5.0-litre V8 supercharged F-Type SVR.
Inside the I-Pace head of design Ian Callum (Remember the Group B Ford RS200? That was one of his too…) wanted to preview the future of Jaguar interior design, highlighted by two touchscreens and a panoramic roof.
Before it reaches showrooms in 2018 we will see a more production-ready car at a show next year, featuring the same cab-forward design and innards. Because of far less restraints in packaging the vehicle, the I-Pace is smaller (footprint) than an average SUV yet with more interior space and over 530 litres of cargo room, and designers were also free to optimise the body shape for a low drag coefficient of just 0.29, which is equal to a Porsche 918 Spyder. Compared to Jaguar’s conventional combustion engine-powered F-Pace — the company’s first SUV — the I-Pace is shorter, narrower, much lower (nearly 100mm) and is packing a significantly longer wheelbase (+150mm) within the dimensions, so the stumpy overhangs only do it favours in terms of design.
With low-mounted batteries and double wishbone suspension (multi-link rear), the I-Pace claims supercar dynamics coupled to the refinement you get with no gears and no power lag. Jaguar gave no comment on pricing but it won’t be far off a V6-engined F-Pace S or $55,000 (Dh200K).