It’s been an exciting year for the team at Jaguar-Land Rover. Between the launch of the new Land Rover Discovery and the new-to-the-market Range Rover Velar and Jaguar E-Pace, the British automaker has also tackled a new beast: electric vehicles.
Announced almost two years ago in Los Angeles, Jaguar’s first all-electric venture, the I-Pace, has made us curious and has kept us guessing. But its arrival on the market should become a reality later this year with a certain hype to live up to.
In time for the New York Auto Show, Jaguar showed the production version of the I-Pace as it should land in the showrooms later this year, alongside the new Range Rover SV Coupe and the Jaguar F-Pace SVR.
A select few journalists from Canada, myself included, were invited to a cocktail event to celebrate the launch of all three models as well as the opening of the new JLR QG in Mahwah New Jersey. What we didn’t know is that there was a surprise in store: we would not only get to see the production version of the I-Pace in the metal, we would get to drive it.
Instead of setting us loose on the roads of New Jersey, and because only a handful of cars were available, they decided to challenge our driving skills on an agility course. The make-do track is the same as in Jaguar-Land Rover’s Art of Performance driving experience: a closed course set up with smart cones forming gates that randomly light up and detect when the car goes through, forcing the driver being challenged to maneuver the car around the track and through the portals.
This is how we would get a feel for the I-Pace, which is a good opportunity to see just how much of a Jaguar the model really is. The only problem I had was that I wasn’t exactly dressed to play the part as my dress code for the night leaned more towards casual chic and high heels rather than on-track elegance. But I had driven with heels before, I wasn’t going to pass up on the opportunity to be among the first members of the media to get seat time in the I-Pace.
Part of me knew that I’m not performance driver material, however, the idea of besting my group of fellow, all-male journalists as one of the only ladies of the group had some charm to it. As we were getting settled into the car, I shared my dilemma with my instructor – either focus on driving the car or try to give those gentlemen a run for their money. He encouraged me to do the latter.