Currently reading: Jaguar I-Pace: behind the design
Jaguar's design boss, Ian Callum, 'broke a few rules' with the design of the I-Pace concept

“We’ve had a lot of fun with this car,” says Jaguar’s design director, Ian Callum, running his eye over the powerful rear haunches of the I-Pace concept.

“We wanted to break a few rules, because with an electric car you’re allowed to,” Callum says. “The I-Pace has given us a rare chance to repackage the car fundamentally. The new powertrain is very compact, so we’ve had fewer constraints than usual. In essence, we’ve been able to put people where mechanical bits normally go.”

Callum says Jaguar decided to make its first all-electric car an SUV because these are now the world’s best-selling cars and everyone — designers, engineers and marketing types alike — liked the idea of delivering the interior space of a luxury saloon in a much more compact package.

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Not that the I-Pace looks much like a conventional SUV. “We’ve pushed the screen forward and given it a lot of rake,” says Callum, “which allows us a lovely, long roofline. We believe the car needs a sports car profile to go with its impressive performance. There are even some influences from the C-X75 [supercar concept].” 

Some critics have suggested a ‘real’ Jaguar needs a long nose, but Callum demurs. “A long nose suits many models,” he says, “but it’s not a necessity. Neither is a low, tapered tail. The I-Pace doesn’t have either, but we still reckon it’s a proper Jaguar. People think electric cars don’t need grilles, but that’s wrong, too. They need a lot of cooling for the battery and our grille helps with that.”

Callum admits he’s taken licence in the concept’s body lines but says the shape is still a good guide to production models due in 2018. “There’s a bit of exaggeration in the haunches, the wheels are bigger, some of the radiuses are tighter and the interior is a bit more flamboyant. But fundamentally, the two aren’t very different.” 

Read more: 2018 Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV revealed

Read more: Why the Jaguar I-Pace needs to drive like a Jag


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Jaguar takes a typically sporting approach with the F-Pace, but it isn't quite enough to better its sibling, the Land Rover Discovery Sport

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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gussy51 15 November 2016

Great looking, but...

I'm not a fan of SUVs, but the compact footprint of this car, low nose and only slightly raised ride height make it very appealing. Also love the fact that it is very modern, yet still clearly a Jag! I do have one concern though, and it's something that Jaguar have a hit and miss track record on. If the surfacing and detailing is toned down too much for production it might lose a lot of impact and end up looking like a 90s Honda Aerodeck! I hope Jaguar can utilise flush door handles and retain the majority of the sharp creases and surfacing.