Jaguar claims the I-Pace takes aesthetic inspiration from the C-X75 concept. You might wonder what an electric family car could possibly have in common with a turbine-powered hybrid hypercar, but similarities do exist. Both feature cab-forward proportions, and both have similar broad, Tarmac-sniffing snouts and a commensurately low, vented bonnet.

The rear of the I-Pace is more of a departure, being tall and squared off for a commendably low drag coefficient of 0.29. Incidentally, it’s Jaguar design director Ian Callum’s least favourite element, although to our eyes lends the car a rakishly robust, super-distinctive and appealing visual character.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Despite what it seems, the signature Jaguar grille doesn’t admit any air and its purpose here is aesthetic only

But how to classify the I-Pace? It is exactly a centimetre longer than an XE and yet its wheelbase eclipses that of the XF mid-size saloon. It presents as an SUV but sits conspicuously low to the ground by the standards of such cars. It’s also supercar-wide, at 2139mm, including mirrors.

Underneath the aluminium bodywork resides an electric powertrain of predictable architecture. A ‘skateboard’ battery pack (423 lithium ion cells, liquid cooled) of 90kWh is spread below the cabin floor and sits entirely within the car’s wheelbase for a claimed 50:50 weight distribution (53:47 as tested).

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It drives a lightweight permanent-magnet electric motor on each axle. Each drives through a single-speed epicyclic transmission and open differential (there is brake-based torque vectoring in lieu of a locking diff) for maximum compactness.

At low speeds, the I-Pace is powered by just one of its motors, though on our EV400 test car, both can combine to deliver 394bhp and 512lb ft through all four wheels, and a claimed 0-60mph time of 4.5sec – the latter coming despite a claimed 2133kg kerb weight, which presented as 2236kg on the scales in the case of our test car. And when we tested a Model S with precisely the same battery capacity in 2016? It weighed an almost identical 2230kg.

Range for the I-Pace is quoted at 292 miles on the new WLTP lab test cycle, with the battery capable of charging to 80% in 40 minutes from a 100kW DC rapid charger. A full charge from a 7kW home wallbox takes a fraction under 13 hours.

Thus far, the decisions have been made for you. That changes when it comes to the suspension, which operates through an encouragingly conventional double wishbone front and integral-link rear design. As standard, the I-Pace is equipped with a passive steel coil suspension set-up.

Adaptive air suspension (it lowers the car beyond 65mph for a more aerodynamic stance and can raise it at low speeds for greater ground clearance) and adaptive dampers (for an even more driver-configurable drive) are offered as options – and both were fitted to our test car.

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