In the four minutes and 34 seconds that I get behind the wheel of the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace, I could listen to “Moby Dick” (Zeppelin, not Melville), make a bag of popcorn, or charge the electric Jag for about 20 miles.
Ideally, I’d like to do all three. But I get four minutes and 34 seconds to run my hands across its steering wheel and spaghetti around a parking lot in an improvised autocross course.
It’s long enough to marvel at Jaguar’s luxury electric crossover, but not long enough to forget the classic E-Types sitting 100 yards away in the automaker’s U.S. headquarters in Mahwah, New Jersey.
It’s also not long enough to draw any meaningful conclusions about the I-Pace, which goes on sale later this year.
But it’s long enough to know that things will change.
2019 Jaguar I-Pace first drive
Back to the future
The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace carefully skips thoughtless trendiness in its looks, inside and out.
Jaguar Designer Wayne Burgess notes that the I-Pace still has to safely carry humans—who sit on their bottoms and mostly have protruding appendages—and cargo. It’s a modern interior, but there’s no vodka-bar chic décor or holograms on the dash; the I-Pace is clearly meant for Jag clientele first.
That means a usable back seat, a quiet interior, and leather everywhere. The I-Pace sports a cribbed version of Land Rover’s Touch Pro Duo setup—a 10-inch touchscreen on top and a smaller touchscreen on the bottom for climate controls and vehicle functions. I flick quickly through the menus, but that’s the sheet music, I’m here for the piano.
This Jag will live a clean life, free from gasoline and with straight enough sheet metal to be accepted as a freshman at Brigham Young University. The body was sculpted without Malcolm Sayer’s Coke-bottle shape; its sides are straight to keep air close to the body and wick it away for efficiency.
Jaguar has big ideas for the way the I-Pace drives and cuts a hole through the wind, but employs an anti-Whopper approach for how it’ll take on that task. Namely, very few substitutions are available in the drive menu.
Would you like idle creep? Would you like aggressive regen (up to 0.4 G)? That’s it. No “Sport” or “Ludicrous” settings. Nothing to adjust for the all-wheel-drive system—just let it work.
In that vein, the “shifter” is really just the four standard P, N, D, R buttons. Hardly techno.
I tap “D” because I have four minutes and 34 seconds to find out what that means to the I-Pace.