Jose Altoveros / Carpix for AutoIndustriya.com | December 06, 2017 09:52
Jaguar continues testing on upcoming all-electric I-Pace
Jaguar’s much anticipated first all-electric vehicle, the I-Pace, has once again been spotted undergoing road tests. This time however, there are two prototype units testing near the Nurgburgring. Unsurprsingly, both test mules still sport the green camouflage it was wearing before, hiding its production body.
Compared to the first time our spies saw the I-Pace, it appears as though not much has changed. The styling of the I-Pace has overall remained faithful to the concept previewed earlier. Curiously however, one prototype does have some wires dangling in front of the lower air intake. Furthermore, almost a half of it’s front bumper is covered by a different coloured camouflage.
At the side, we do see some differences between the two prototypes. One was wearing larger, possibly 20-inch, wheels, Meanwhile, the other test mule was seen wearing smaller diamater wheels fitted with high profile tires. Not much can be said about the rear of both I-Pace test mules as they are still covered in camouflage. We do get a glimpse of the rear’s vent on the prototype with rougher camouflage.
The I-Pace is said to feature a 90-kWh battery pack capable of over of 500km of range on a single full-charge according to the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). 90 minutes of charging with the 50-kW DC charger will already fill the battery up to 80-percent. Power comes from two electric motors which deliver a total of 400 PS. This allows the I-Pace to accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 4 seconds.
It was anticipated that I-Pace would make its possible debut before the end of 2017. However now that 2017 is about to come to a close, it’s earliest debut could be at the North American International Auto Show or at Geneva next year.
At last – Evo’s review of the Alpine A110 – And it sounds like a cracker!
A very strong return for the Alpine brand. Lighter, faster and in many ways better to drive than an entry-level 718 Cayman.
+ Absence of weight provides exceptional agility; quick; sounds great for a four-cylinder– Luggage space is limited; brand lacks ultimate credibility (for the time being)
The A110 is the first all-new Alpine in two decades, and it marks a welcome return for one of France’s most iconic sports car brands. The car itself is a rear-wheel-drive mid-engined two-seater made largely from aluminium to ensure its kerb weight is kept to a bare minimum. With fluids it weighs just 1103kg, which makes it significantly lighter than a Porsche 718 Cayman or Audi TT RS. When it goes on sale in the UK next year the A110 will cost a whisker under £50,000.
The Alpine A110’s mid-engined chassis, its all-round double-wishbone suspension and most of its body panels are fashioned almost entirely from aluminium, hence the impressively low kerb weight. The engine is a new 1.8-litre, four-cylinder turbo unit that will eventually come in various power outputs, starting with the base version here that has 249bhp. This entry-level motor gives a power-to-weight ratio of 229bhp per ton, which just edges the 225bhp per ton of an entry-level 718 Cayman.
There are three different drive modes to choose from – Normal, Sport and Track. In each, the parameters for the engine, gearbox, steering, exhaust, ESC and electronic differential alter to suit the conditions and/or your desires. But the dampers remain unchanged throughout, Alpine wanting to maintain a degree of comfort, as well as control, no matter which mode the driver selects.
Alpine also wanted to keep the aesthetics of the A110 as clean as possible, hence the lack of a rear wing. Instead, there is a functional rear diffuser and some clever aerodynamics at both ends that help generate the required stability at high speed while reducing drag at all speeds.
An electronic (rather than mechanical) differential, complete with a torque-vectoring function, can tickle the rear brakes to minimise traction loss – effectively doing the job of a proper limited-slip diff but without the added weight and with added control under braking and during turn in.
Engine, transmission and 0-60mph time
The A110 is powered by a new 1.8-litre, four-cylinder engine with a single turbocharger and direct injection. In the fullness of time this engine will produce 300bhp-plus, says Alpine, but for now it offers 249bhp at 6000rpm and 236lb ft at just 2000rpm. That’s sufficient energy to propel the lightweight A110 to 62mph in a claimed 4.5sec and to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.
Emissions and economy are highly competitive, with a claimed 46.3mpg combined economy figure and 138g/km of CO2. Somewhat controversially, perhaps, the A110 is not available with a manual gearbox, Alpine instead going with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox by Getrag, complete with column-mounted aluminium shift paddles behind the wheel.
What’s it like to drive?
Pretty sensational, if we’re being honest. In simple terms, we reckon the A110 could well be a better sports coupe than the 718 Cayman, full stop. That is saying something, but we really do mean it.
How so? Well not only does the A110 weigh several hundred kilograms less than a 718, it also has a higher power-to-weight ratio and carries far less inertia around with it, so it’s quicker and more agile. It also makes a much nicer noise, is built to a surprisingly high standard and, to some eyes, looks rather lovely too.
And despite its relatively tiny dimensions, the A110 doesn’t feel small or cramped inside, either. Alpine MD Michael van de Sande is a towering six foot seven inches tall and he fits into it, just, so for anyone of remotely regular proportions there is plenty of room in which to operate. Not that the A110 feels in any way clinical on the move, anything but.
Press the starter button and there’s a distinctive, surprisingly loud burst of noise from behind as the 249bhp 1.8-litre turbo engine settles to a meaningful burble at idle. Engage first via the right-hand paddleshifter – as we’ve said, there is no manual gearbox option, instead you get a dual-clutch transmission, like it or not – and the moment the A110 starts to move it feels correct, feels right, feels great. As only the very best-sorted performance cars do.
There’s a refreshing absence of inertia to it right from the word go, not just via the light but feelsome electrically assisted power steering but through the seats as well – through everything, in fact. And when you put your foot down it goes, properly, and sounds raspy and sporting and potent in a way that a Cayman never really does.
There’s a touch of lag but that’s OK. In a curious kind of way it almost adds to the A110’s overall appeal because when the torque arrives, it does so in a rush, in an old-fashioned kind of way, and you feel like you need to hold on tight to the reins just to keep up. Subjectively this makes the A110 feel both quicker and more exciting than a Cayman.
The gearbox works fine but isn’t a highlight. It’s fast, efficient, decent. But not mind-blowing, even though the auto blips on downshifts are well executed and there are some nice crackles to be heard on overrun in Sport and Track modes.
The chassis, on the other hand, is very much the star of the show. With a classic set-up of double unequal length wishbones at each corner and a lightweight aluminium body and frame, the A110 has all the credentials to deliver ride and handling greatness. But even so, the way in which it flows across the ground, ‘breathing’ with the road like only the best cars from Lotus did all those years ago, still comes as a very pleasant shock.
The steering is light, delicate and accurate, but delivers genuine feel through the rim, in all of its modes. You place the A110 to the nearest millimetre through most bends and have total faith in the front end because the turn-in response is so crisp, without being hyper-reactive.
At the same time the tail is also beautifully controlled, and very well balanced relative to the front end. And while all of this is going on there’s a fundamental composure to the ride that provides the A110 with a unique sense of maturity on the move. As a first-time effort it is phenomenally sharp, even if the amount of luggage space is a bit disappointing and the price seems a touch high for a relatively unknown brand.
Prices, specs and rivals
Alpine has yet to confirm an exact UK price, although the limited Premiere Edition launch model is listed at 58,500 euros. There will be just 1955 of these but they are all sold out.
The UK price of the regular A110 is due to come in at a whisker under £50,000, which will make it more expensive than the less well equipped entry-level 718 Cayman (£42,897) and a touch more than the more powerful (394bhp) but also far heavier Audi TT RS (£52,100).
British second-hand supercar dealer Tom Hartley Junior has secured a once-in-a-lifetime McLaren F1 which joins its inventory this week! The dandelion yellow McLaren F1 is offered in timewarp condition, featuring most of the original packaging and with a scarcely believable 239 kilometres on the odometer! The McLaren F1 is undoubtedly the most collectable of the […]
The cub of the Jaguar family aims to repeat the success of the F-Pace at a smaller size and price
Crossover SUVs are the pop music of the car world: scorned by purists, liked by the masses, and disproportionately successful in terms of sales. Jaguar’s F-Pace is the perfect example of this trend, selling more than 80,000 sport utility vehicles after launching in 2016 and accounting for almost half of the company’s 172,848 cars sold in the last financial year. With such a runaway commercial success, it was inevitable that Jaguar would return for another bite at the cherry, and today it does so with the unveiling of the new E-Pace compact performance SUV. It’s a scaled-down F-Pace — in price, power, and size — but it’s still the same formula of giving the people what they really want.
I was in attendance at Jaguar’s London launch of the E-Pace, and one of the intriguing peripheral things about it was the press group assembled. The number of Chinese and Russian journalists was nearly equal to the English-speaking ones, signaling Jaguar’s emphasis on capturing the growing opportunity in those Eastern regions. The new E-Pace will initially be built in Graz, Austria, but starting next year it’ll also be manufactured in China specifically for the local Chinese market. Orders for the E-Pace open tonight with starting prices of $38,600, £28,500, or €34,950, and deliveries will be within six months.
Jaguar joins other luxe automakers like Mercedes-Benz in making a smaller, more affordable crossover
So who might be interested in buying a Jaguar E-Pace? Jaguar thinks this will be the ideal car for a young couple, people who probably have no other vehicle and who want to maximize the return on their spending in terms of stowage space, modern connectivity, and attractive design. Though I’m not a couple, I count myself among those intrigued by the E-Pace proposition. I find myself more comfortable riding in an Audi Q7 than an A8, and I see many advantages to these crossover vehicles in my urban environment. Living in London, the times when I need a car are often the ones when I need to move a lot of stuff around — so if I’m going to buy anything on wheels, it’s going to have to be practical. But I also value good and efficient design, and this E-Pace is certainly compact for its class and has an attractively chunky look to it.
Jaguar design director Ian Callum explained today that “the thing with Jaguars is that they should always be exaggerated in some way to give that excitement.” He waxed poetic about the oversized paws of big cats and how they were evoked by the large air intakes at the front of the E-Pace. The front grille is the same as you’ll find on the Jaguar XF, and the headlights are, in Callum’s words, unashamedly derived from the F-Type. During its development, the E-Pace was codenamed “the cub” inside Jaguar, and many of its aesthetic cues are thus inherited from the elder, pricier siblings.
Jaguar defines the look of the E-Pace as “confident and assertive, but not aggressive.” Callum believes “Jags should never be aggressive.” That makes me wince a little, because I’ve only ever heard the term “Jag” in the context of tabloid journalism about spendthrift sports stars or perfidious politicians. This car brand’s reputation is thus a little uneven, but the approach with the E-Pace seems a good one: Jaguar’s offering a high standard of practicality wrapped up in a high standard of design and engineering.
Some stowage numbers: in total, the E-Pace offers 1,234L of space, of which 577L are at the luggage area at the back. You get 970mm of headroom and 892mm of legroom at the rear, plus a generous 10L glovebox and a “mega bin” in the center column that can accommodate two wine bottles. If Jaguar is serious about appealing to millennials, it would probably do better to tell us how many bottles of Soylent one can tote around, but the point is well made regardless.
Designed like a larger car shrunken down in size, and it feels that way, too
Unfortunately, I didn’t really find the extravagant generosity of space that Jaguar wants us to believe is on offer inside the E-Pace. The front seats are quite wonderful, offering endless adjustability and comfort. However, I discovered that to be comfortable sitting at the front, I had to move the seat into a position that made me feel cramped while sitting at the back. I’m only 5 foot 10, but I don’t think that two of me sitting at the front and back of this car would both experience great comfort. Additionally, the foot room at the back is quite restricted. I definitely think the E-Pace has the width to accommodate five people and a reasonably large pile of their things at the back, but the car just feels like it needs to be a bit longer to accommodate everyone properly. For context, the F-Pace has two inches more legroom at the back, which makes a big difference.
Returning to Jaguar’s idealized millennial family, I don’t suppose they’ll mind those restrictions too much while their offspring are growing up — and there’s always the F-Pace and Jaguar’s luxury limos to upsell them to later on in life.
In terms of tech niceties, the E-Pace includes five USB charging ports, a smartphone and tablet holder, an HDMI/MHL port, and a SIM card slot for the provision of a 4G hot spot on demand. The infotainment system on board is Jaguar’s flagship InControl Touch Pro, offered up on a tablet-like interface on the 10-inch screen in the middle. The instrument readout is also digital and will be familiar to drivers of other recent Jaguar or (sister brand) Land Rover cars. It can be augmented with an optional, laser-based heads-up display.
“We ought to hold on to tactile switches in our cars. It can’t all go to touchscreens.”
Before leaving the stage, chief designer Callum advised everyone to try the “lovely” rotary dials inside the E-Pace, stressing his belief that “we ought to hold on to tactile switches in our cars. It can’t all go to touchscreens.” Those dials, inspired by the ridged design of camera lenses, do indeed feel nice, though like much of the rest of the E-Pace’s interior, they’re made out of plastic. It’s good and solid plastic, but it doesn’t scream luxury at you. The leather seats are also not of a particularly luxurious class, similarly to what you’ll find on the F-Pace. These material choices are among the very few ways in which Jaguar’s SUVs betray their lower price point relative to the rest of the brand’s lineup.
Alan Volkaerts, Jaguar’s director for this vehicle line, claims that the E-Pace “drives every single bit as good as it looks.” Given the award-winning and best-selling quality of the larger F-Pace, I’m willing to believe Jaguar’s boasts of superior driving performance. The E-Pace is available with a choice of five 4-cylinder Ingenium engines (three diesel and two petrol options), which are all made out of aluminum and designed and manufactured in-house in the UK. The transverse engine layout helps trim down the length of the car, which was evidently a design priority inside Jaguar. The company even designed the nine-speed automatic transmission specifically for transverse engine applications.
The R-Dynamic variant of the E-Pace (which I have photographed for this article; starting price of $47,250) has a few extra design touches and the more powerful 296-horsepower engine. It can go from 0–100 kmh in 6.4 seconds, whereas the regular 246-horsepower E-Pace does it in seven seconds. Jaguar also touts a sophisticated suspension system, though you’d need to purchase the extra Adaptive Dynamics package to get a continuously variable damper system that “monitors vehicle movements every 2 milliseconds (0.002 seconds) and calculates the required damping force every 10 milliseconds (0.01 seconds).”
The Jaguar E-Pace represents one of those “you can have it all” propositions that I rarely see working out in practice. Yes, it would be quite terrific to have a car that’s beautiful and spacious enough to fit both people and plunder, and so delightful to drive as to make me forget about its rivals. But in trying to check so many boxes, the E-Pace risks falling into the forgettable category of being a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.
McLaren are on a bit of roll at the moment. Since their return to the road car market as a stand-alone manufacturer their growth has been nothing short of exceptional, first creating credible rivals to the established supercar manufacturers and now, with their new 720S, arguably surpassing them.
Powered by the firm’s well-proven twin turbocharged V8 engine, the all-carbon 720S has taken supercar performance into hypercar territory, with a 0-124mph time of less than 8 seconds. The competition amongst the world’s supercar builders is going to get very tasty…
McLaren launched the 720S at the Goodwood Festival of Speed at the weekend, and in doing so gave visitors the chance to build their very own car. Well, sort of…
Constructed from almost 280,000 LEGO bricks, this life-size replica of the McLaren 720S is the work of certified LEGO Professionals Bright Bricks. Besides being constructed around a metal frame and resting upon real wheels, this incredible 1:1 scale supercar is entirely built from LEGO pieces, and visitors to the Festival of Speed could help to gradually complete the car by adding the final layer of orange bricks to the bodywork.
When complete the finished model actually weighs more than the real car (that’s why the actual 720S is constructed from carbon fibre), and it’s due to go on tour as part of the McLaren 720S launch programme, so you may well get to see it if you’re planning to visit a motoring event this year.
Until then you can feast your eyes on these pictures of the part-finished 1:1 scale McLaren 720S from the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, including a slightly clickbaity attractive girl (top) and a Goodwood’s own slightly less clickbaity Lord March (centre), plus you can read a review of LEGO’s slightly smaller – but just as orange – McLaren P1 Speed Champions set (courtesy of two of our readers) by clicking here.