If you ask whether this is an SUV or a sports car or whatever, the answer from Jaguar is the same: it doesn’t matter. Because it’s whatever you want it to be, which sort of makes sense what with the edges blurring so much between, say, a crossover and a soft-roader and an SUV or premium luxury car. But it is this:
Motor: permanent magnet
Torque: 513lb ft
Kerb weight: 2208kg
Top speed: 124mph
Range: 298 miles
The first battery electric vehicle (BEV) from a car manufacturer which has a long and proud tradition of making great cars with internal combustion engines. It’s a premium product, with a long range, long heritage and it’s been a long time in the gestation.
It also had a very clear design goal, according to Wolfgang Ziebart, who was recruited for the project: “The goal was simple, to design the best electric car on the planet.” But, as we know, simple isn’t often easy.
It follows the usual platform for such things, with the relatively compact dimensions housing the battery pack but there are also two electric motors, one either end. That gives all-wheel drive, and 50:50 weight distribution, with much of that way low down. The battery cells give 90kWh of juice, which according to the new official cycle will get you a whisker under 300 miles. Of course if it’s freezing cold and you’re in a screaming hurry don’t expect that sort of mileage.
But that power system means there’s a lot of space inside, a surprising amount particularly for rear passengers. Although this is an achingly modern vehicle, Jaguar has kept things fairly traditional inside so you can have leather and wood should you so desire.
It’s all very neatly designed and made and looks suitably Jaguar and premium. Then you notice the cabin is actually a touch further forward, which is possible because there’s no petrol or diesel lump under that bonnet. At the rear it’s more traditional SUV to ensure decent airflow and hence low Cd, but that in turn means the boot can hold 656 litres of whatever you fancy, plus there are lots of stowage areas around the vehicle.
Driving it depends on what you feel like. You can set various parameters, and one of them is the amount of regenerative braking on offer. It’s actually possible to use just the throttle for virtually all of your driving, such is the retardation possible. The lack of brake lights might prove exciting for those tailgating you though.
This sort of delivery does encourage you to be smooth, which of course will lengthen the already pretty impressive range. But should you wish to be a little more dramatic, then not far off 400bhp will ensure there’s plenty of drama. Acceleration is fierce, instant and seems to go on for a long time. A dash to 62mph in just 4.5sec, accompanied as it is largely by silence and a rushing noise, is mighty impressive and easily feels that fast.
This may be an electric vehicle, but my word this is no milk float. You can take it fairly seriously off-road, or on the track or, okay, on the road. It works everywhere. The only downer is that it’s not a light vehicle, and won’t be with that much battery power. That means in turn that the handling is well tied down at the expense of the ride, which can be jittery at times.
But that’s about the only downside. Should you hate electric cars you’re unlikely to buy one, but if you’re in the market for one, this is definitely one of the best around – whatever it is.