The 4680mm long, fastback coupe-styled i-Pace sits on a 2990mm wheelbase that places it somewhere between the slightly shorter F-Pace SUV and the slightly longer XE sedan. Its fastback design combined with a compressed glasshouse mimics that of a growing class of SUV coupes, including the Porsche Macan, Mercedes-Benz GLC and the BMW X4.
Similar to the Tesla Model X, the i-Pace uses dual electric motors – one integrated into each axle – to provide all-wheel traction. Each motor sends 150kW and 350Nm to the wheels, for a performance car-rivalling combined output of 300kW and 700Nm.
The i-Pace will use a 90kWh lithium ion battery pack sandwiched in the floor to give it a 120mm lower centre of gravity compared with the F-Pace. The battery pack is big enough to wring out a 500km range – enough to out-distance a Tesla Model X P90D.
While the electric Jag will go further than a Model X, it is unlikely to out-pace it. The i-Pace will sprint from 0-100km/h in “around 4.0sec”, Jaguar says, with a top speed of 250km/h.
The sandwiched battery pack means that interior space is unlikely come at a premium. The cab-forward look of the passenger cell suggests plenty of room to carry five passengers in comfort, while the 535-litre boot is bigger than that of the Jaguar F-Pace, which Jaguar claims is a class leader for load-lugging ability.
The i-Pace is expected to sit above the F-Pace in Jaguar’s showroom, potentially costing more than $100,000 by the time it arrives in production guise in Australia. It will also likely need to take on a new class of battery-fuelled competitors, including the Audi Q6 e-tron, also confirmed for production and due for release in 2018. The final shape of the Q6 e-tron is expected to closely follow the styling of the concept car shown at Frankfurt in 2015.
Jaguar has also trademarked the i-Type name, suggesting the SUV’s technology will one day filter down into the more conventional sedan, convertible and coupe bodyshapes.
The British brand’s EV push comes as the former Le Mans winner breaks a 12-year motorsport drought by entering the Formula E electric racecar series for the 2016-17 season.