With rumours of an I-Pace SVR – and even a special limited-edition ‘Project’ car – gathering momentum, product planning boss Hanno Kirner conceded that teams within the firm had already worked through potential credentials for such cars.
“We have asked ourselves how you would ‘SVR’ an electric car,” said Kirner. “Yes, we can make it do 0-60mph in 1.8sec. It’s a good headline, but once you’ve done it once or twice, and lost your eyes in the back of their sockets, you might not want to do it again.”
Kirner highlighted the I-Pace’s 50/50 weight distribution and dynamic set-up in standard form as indications of what could be possible with the car. He also suggested that technical enhancements from current SVR vehicles could be applied in the same way to the I-Pace but also cautioned that an electric powertrain would need to be treated with respect.
“You also have to make sure you can’t go too fast,” he said. “I do worry that the instant torque and performance might be too much for untrained drivers. It may be that we have to impose some kind of restriction, so that the performance is limited until they have gone on a driving course or something.”
Kirner stopped short of confirming a high-performance I-Pace, stressing instead that the car had the capability to be developed as an SVR (performance), SVX (off-road) or SVA (luxury) vehicle if the company chose to do so. “There is probably more than one route we could take,”he said. “But there is definitely space for a performance electric car or cars.”
An SVR version of the I-Pace is thought to be most likely initially as it ties in with the one-make I-Pace eTrophy racing series that will launch later this year. An SVA version is set to follow once the reborn Jaguar XJ is established as the manufacturer’s halo model.
Jaguar also faces a fight to maintain its electric SUV leadership among established car makers, having beaten Audi (and its E-tron), BMW and Mercedes to market with the I-Pace.