We’ve often talked about the abomination of the coupe SUV genre in these columns. In most cases, these beasts are nothing but the work of the devil.
These are cars that have been identified by the car industry as a niche market from which a lot of raw cash can easily be extracted and which will satisfy the needs and desires of narcissists and egomaniacs alike.
Alas, it’s impossible to categorize MPV coupe buyers as a single, gold-chained morass of humanity, because there are the usual exceptions that prove the rule; in this case it means that smart people who are otherwise solid, honest and regularly donate to charity sometimes end up buying cars that they later regret (hi Brendan).
In general, these cars look like highly bloated monstrosities that are as ugly as a baboon’s ass – apologies to all the baboons here, of course – and usually the size of a truck, so that they are useless for any other purpose than to inflate the self-esteem of trippy selves -aggrandistas, for which stand out from the crowd is much more important than any other factor. Except for the above.
Now, it must be said that most of them are very pleasant to drive – despite their truck-like demeanor – but since they seem to be aimed exclusively at the oligarch classes, they find nothing but outright hatred from the average man or woman. Including ourselves.
In certain circles, and particularly around Red Square, this genre is particularly prevalent, and while we here at Examiner Motoring are usually known for objective reporting, there are some things that remain unacceptable, and flamboyant vulgarity is one of them.
However, there are exceptions that prove the rule, and this week we’re driving one of them, the Jaguar i-Pace Black.
Now, Jaguar being Jaguar, the mores of modern fashion don’t apply, and so the use of the term coupe SUV is strictly prohibited, because of course nothing of that kind can be associated with the brand.
No, here at lingua-Jaguar we have a ‘performance SUV’ that is all-electric and in its new ‘black’ guise comes with a host of extras including gloss black detailing, sealed glass, a full panoramic sunroof and 20-inch five-spoke wheels with black glass.
Whatever the finer points of what type of car this is, it’s certainly very striking. While it may not be the prettiest car for some, it is certainly attractive.
It looks muscular and powerful from every angle (the deep hood vent suggests breathing capacity for the big V8, but is actually redundant because there’s no engine) and the way Jaguar engineered the sloping roof to blend into the fat rear corners is a design triumph.
And so is the grille, which is an object lesson for those designers who have capitulated to the “oh, we don’t need them anymore, so let’s replace them with something bland” school of thought.
Usually, when something like this comes along – in the case of the i-Pace, it debuted in 2018 – other manufacturers are quick to copy the good parts for their own needs, and the design gets swallowed up in a swamp of copycats. However, interestingly, Jaguar did not see how his glory was stolen by the suitors.
Rather, those who wanted their cars to be as glamorous and individual as the Jag went the other way and bulked up their competitors into an unwarranted and often ugly mass in their attempts to stand out from the pack.
It was only four years ago that we first saw the i-Pace, and it was truly a trailblazer, and while other mainstream manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon, Jaguar is still the unique standard-bearer for premium electric cars.
As a result, Jaguar’s engineers and designers were able to fully address this beast, allowing it to explore the potential of the battery architecture to create not only a new shape, but one that offers more space for passengers and their luggage.
Twin synchronous motors on each axle provide permanent all-wheel drive, while power comes from a high-capacity 90kWh lithium-ion battery (which comes with an eight-year warranty), which in turn gives you a range of around 465km, which is very capable . The transmission is a single-speed epicyclic unit.
Jaguar claims a top speed of 200km/h and a 0-100km/h time of 4.8 seconds from a power source of just under 400bhp and a rather impressive 696Nm of torque.
Of course, if you consistently used these results, you would never achieve anything like the predicted range.
However, while the Jag delivers plenty of power on demand, it’s clearly not something you need to use every time you get behind the wheel.
The fact that it revs well with an accelerator that feels the light whiff of your right boot makes it a decent prospect for city driving despite being a big car.
However, when offered the open road, it becomes a beast of a completely different color – if you want it too.
Again, if you’re using what’s offered here, you’re not going to maximize range, but a steady approach will get you to almost any destination on this island without breaking a sweat.
On the other hand, if you’re an adrenaline junkie looking to tap into the Jag’s potential, you’ll find a willing and willing partner that will beat most rivals with casual ease.
It’s worth noting that if you need to charge while traveling, you’ll get 80% charge in just 40 minutes on the fast charger.
On the road, the i-Pace is an exceptional leader; Placing the heavy batteries between the wheels (the wheelbase is almost 3m) ensures excellent weight distribution, and this is immediately apparent in the handling and handling.
Reliable and stable, it is a car that is a great companion, no matter what roads and road conditions it has to endure.
While you’re enjoying the ride, you won’t be let down by the quality of the interior, which is as premium as any other aspect of the car.
There’s a dual-touchscreen infotainment/climate system, first seen on the Range Rover Velar, and it’s difficult to use.
Seating is also extremely comfortable, especially up front, and thanks to the long wheelbase, those sitting in the back won’t be disappointed with headroom and legroom despite the heavily sloping roofline.
There is plenty of space in the trunk, and there is a small “seat” in the front where you can fit all the cables.
Back in 2018, Jaguar was a trendsetter and remains so today, thanks in large part to the innovative and comprehensive design approach the company took back then.
This level of innovation and class is still evident, which is a compliment to Jaguar’s vision and a condemnation of the opposition’s lack of vision or ability to steal good ideas.
It’s not just a great electric car, it’s a fantastic beast — period — and that’s why it gets a very rare five stars.