The I-Pace’s two-way average 0-60mph time of 4.5sec marks it out loud and clear as a seriously fast family car, but it’s the manner in which it picks up pace from urban speeds that makes it seem special.
With our timing gear rigged up, the electric Jaguar clocked a 30-70mph time of just 3.5sec. Admittedly, that’s not quite super-saloon levels of pace, but the fact that the last Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series was only 0.2sec quicker showcases just how potent a thing the I-Pace is.
Acceleration off the line is deliciously constant and linear, pushing you back into those firmer performance seats with some force. The only caveat is that there seems to be a brief scrabble for traction at the front end, as the I-Pace’s 2.2-tonne weight shifts backwards.
For a relevant benchmark, look no further than the Model S P90D we tested back in 2016. It was quicker both to 60mph from rest and from 30-70mph than the Jaguar. The I-Pace’s performance feels more balanced than the Model S’s did, however; not quite as breathtaking from rest, sure, but tailing off less at motorway speeds, as if Jaguar had deliberately chosen longer gearing than Tesla to trade a bit of headline-making 0-60mph performance for more balanced real-world pace.
The powertrain’s responsiveness is, of course, what takes the most getting used to and what makes it so compelling to interact with. Gaps in traffic become that much more accessible owing to the rapidity with which the electric Jaguar responds to your right foot’s inputs, while getting up to motorway speeds from a crawl takes virtually no time at all.
It’s a touch disappointing that the I-Pace isn’t quite as hushed out on the motorway as you might expect an electric vehicle to be, particularly one positioned towards the more expensive end of the market. At a 70mph trot, our sound meter recorded cabin noise at 66dB, which is 1dB louder than that of a Model S. This was largely down to road roar from those 20in alloys, and the propensity of the car’s aluminium body structure to conduct it into the cabin.
Under emergency-stop conditions, with the full extent of the brake pedal’s travel being exercised, the I-Pace will pull to a halt from 70mph in 46.7m on a dry stretch of road. The heavier, more powerful Model S, on the other hand, required 51.7m on a damp track.