There isn’t anywhere you can go at the moment without someone chattering about driverless / autonomous cars and what they’ll be able to do. Conversations we’ve had so far suggest that as much as they’ll be able to get you to the supermarket, they won’t have the ability to actually do the weekly food shop for you. Rubbish.
While all the focus has been on the west coast hotspot of California and the world of Tesla, Jaguar - Blighty’s very own luxury automotive brand - have been busy preparing themselves for the 2018 spotlight with the I-Pace SUV. It’s a name that commands the raise of an eyebrow, isn’t it? What is it and what will it do? And how different will it be from the Tesla Model X? It’s time for a battle of the autonomous cars, so here we give you the Tesla Model X and the Jaguar I-Pace SUV.
Tesla Model X: First glance
We know we should be clambering over each other to get into a Model X, but it doesn’t look all that exciting from the outside, does it? It looks like a pimped-up Mondeo with a shiny new paint job (not that a Mondeo is anything to be ashamed of, obviously). But wait; what’s this now? Ahh, Falcon Wing doors is what. So now it’s a Mondeo wannabe with a set of doors last spotted on Marty McFly’s time-hopping DeLorean. Harsh? Ok, let’s get inside it and see what’s what…
Beyond the exterior
If you thought the doors were all show and no go, you’re wrong. Although only partially wrong to be honest. Yes, they add to the overall ‘futuristic’ look and feel that Tesla were clearly going for on the Model X, but in reality, they’re not particularly practical. Slower to open than you’d think (a hair-greying 5 to 6 seconds), and with sensors that can sometimes slow that process even more, the Falcon Wings are an unnecessary addition, if we’re being mean about it. Which it appears we are.
So, cool points have been revoked so far; what can save it now? Downright, brutal speed on the road? Got it. And got it in unashamed abundance. You’d be forgiven for forgetting that this is a family SUV once you get behind the wheel, especially when it’s set to super-bad speed; then you get just a smidge over 760bhp. Yes, you read that correctly: 760 BRAKE HORSE POWER. Once you’ve worked your way through various launch control procedures, it goes from mild-mannered Mondeo mode to full on torque trickster. No apologies, no mutterings; the Model X is relentless in its abilities to get you from 0 to Mach 1* in very few seconds indeed. And in something which looks like it might have sat quietly at the back of the room too.
Of course, we can’t condone speeding in something that gives you a glimmer of fun (those speed restrictions are there for a reason after all); you just have to learn to have fun within the limits. This is where engaging autopilot can help; you’ll still have control of this unassuming beast, but you’ll be able to acknowledge the no doubt endless looks of appreciation that you’ll get once other road users realise it’s one of the planet’s most sort after vehicles. And without a Ford badge in sight.
*We made that bit up. Sorry.
Jaguar I-Pace: What's it all about?
Tesla might have the autonomous vehicle market covered for now, but it’ll be all change in a little over 18 months when Jaguar comes a-prowling with its I-Pace SUV.
It’s got a bit of heft, hasn’t it? While it’s got a chunky look, it’s certainly no fat cat. Built to contain a family’s quota of humans, the I-Pace is a proper SUV. Just look at it: sleek lines, aerodynamically on point, that classic-looking grille… it’s got it right from the outside at least, but what does the interior and its performance hold in store?
We’d love to know about performance, but we’ve jumped the gun slightly. The only claims are from Jaguar themselves about what it can do, namely 4.0 seconds in 0-62mph. Despite the I-Pace having nearly 300bhp less than the Model X, if that 0-62 time is correct, Jaguar’s name in the autonomous world will be lit up pretty quickly. We’ll have to wait and see if it’s as swift as the Tesla. Can you imagine these two going for it in a drag race at full pelt? The saying ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ may be the most accurate thing ever...
A flat battery (quite literally…)
From what we’ve learnt so far, the battery will be happily snuggled up within the axles, being joined by electric motors at each end. And it’ll be flatter than a pancake, hence why the bonnet is shorter than most things Jaguar-badged; why would you want a long nose when everything you need is housed in a very compact space? What’s maybe slightly more uncharacteristically Jaguar-like is the boxy back end, but seeing as you’d want the I-Pace to slip through the air, it could be more aerodynamic than you’d first think.
The interior: There’s no pussy-footing around
While Tesla has made its name in luxury sedans and SUVs quite quickly, the history and heritage of the Jaguar marque brings a level of trust and reliability that’s pretty much unsurpassed by any other automobile manufacturer. And nothing comes closer to the truth of this statement than the inside of the I-Pace. Stunning stitch work within the front and back of the cabin space is the pinnacle of Jaguar’s dedication and sentiment to their brand’s reputation and integrity. And, in a nutshell, you wouldn’t expect much less from them really, would you?