Credit where it’s due. Jaguar became the first mainstream manufacturer to challenge Tesla in the premium EV sector when it launched the impressive I-Pace performance SUV back in 2018.
Not only that, but it completed an historic treble at the 2019 World Car Awards, winning the World Car of the Year, World Car Design and World Green Car titles.
Things have moved on apace (ahem) since then and newer rivals include the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Audi e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQC, BMW iX and Tesla Model Y.
Jaguar hasn’t rested on its laurels. Buyers can now select a new Premium Black Pack, which swaps the standard grille, window surrounds, door mirror caps and badges for black replacements. The package also adds 22-inch gloss black alloy wheels, a new rear spoiler and air suspension.
Inside, there’s been an upgrade to the I-Pace’s twin-screen infotainment set-up, adding Amazon Alexa as standard to its slick Pivi Pro system, allowing drivers to control navigation and music, plus check news and weather with simple voice commands.
Other new technology includes a wireless smartphone charging pad beneath the centre console with enough space for two devices.
Surprisingly, there are no changes to the car’s range, performance or efficiency, but then the I-Pace has always been a contender at the top of its class.
In other words, it features the same 90kWh battery pack and dual-motor powertrain, which develops 395 bhp and 512lb-ft of torque.
Jaguar claims that’s enough for a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds and a maximum range of 292 miles.
If you have a wallpoint at home it will charge overnight, otherwise a 100kW rapid charging point will add up to 78 miles of range in 15 minutes.
The I-Pace has a distinctive shape, combining the athletic stance of a traditional Jaguar with the versatility of a four-wheel drive SUV.
The battery is placed as low as possible between the axles, providing superb 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity, making it feel totally planted.
It’s especially relaxing cruising along, but it’s rewarding on more challenging roads too, delivering impressive body control.
The I-Pace steers swiftly and precisely, rides nicely and offers remarkable amounts of grip and traction.
Having driven it on track, I can also confirm that it’s not just fast, but surprisingly agile.
There are three primary driving modes (Eco, Comfort and Dynamic), plus Rain Ice Snow, which enhances the I-Pace’s stability in low grip conditions, so grass, mud and gravel are covered too.
And it’s a revelation off-road – well able to cope with terrain beyond the ability of many other conventional SUVs.
The brakes are the only minor grape. As with many EVs, they are not as progressive as those found on ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars because they have a dual function.
Known as ‘regenerative braking’, the system captures some of the energy normally lost during braking and coasting to recharge the battery.
On the plus side, there is a one-pedal mode where a simple lift off the accelerator is usually enough to slow the car down without using the brakes.
There’s plenty of space for adults front and back in the well finished, modern cabin. And with no engine noise, it’s a blissfully calm environment.
For the record, the I-Pace has 557 litres of boot space, which expands to 1,453 litres with the rear seats flipped down.
Additionally, a ‘frunk’ space under the bonnet provides a 27-litre cubby, which is big enough for the charging cable or a soft bag.
You won’t be disappointed if safety tops your wish-list either. The Jaguar I-Pace scored a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing. Standard driver assistance and safety tech includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, traffic-sign recognition, lane-keeping assistance, driver condition monitor and rear-cross traffic alert.
Finally, the official optional extras list includes goodies such as roof and rear mounted cycle carriers, plus a detachable tow bar (though its towing capacity is a modest 750kg.
There are five I-Pace specs available (S, SE, HSE, Black and HSE Black).