Jaguar takes a shot at Tesla with racy I-PACE SVR considerations
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We're now firmly in an age of performance SUVs.
Hyundai are considering making an 'N'-badged Kona, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio laps the Nürburgring in less than eight minutes ... heck, the cover of today's edition of Driven features the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk — the fastest SUV in the world with a 0–100km/h time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of nearly 300km/h.
That is — it's the fastest SUV in the world until the Lamborghini Urus comes along.
It's a crowded market, and there's no sign of that stopping if the latest speculation surrounding Jaguar is anything to go by.
The British marque has confirmed that they are evaluating making a hotted-up SVR (Jaguar Land Rover's 'Special Vehicle Operations' divison) variant of their upcoming I-PACE EV. This would slot it right next to the equally electric Tesla Model X as a direct rival, but Jaguar product planning boss Hanno Kirner was quick to say that 'ludicrous' acceleration isn't everything in a recent interview with Autocar UK.
“We have asked ourselves how you would ‘SVR’ an electric car,” he said. “Yes, we can make it do 0-60mph in 1.8 seconds. It’s a good headline, but once you’ve done it once or twice and lost your eyes in the back of their sockets, you might not want to do it again.
“You also have to make sure you can’t go too fast. I do worry that the instant torque and performance might be too much for untrained drivers. It may be that we have to impose some kind of restriction, so that the performance is limited until they have gone on a driving course or something.”
Writing off devastating acceleration as nothing more than "a good headline" is some top-tier trolling from Jaguar, though it does clash somewhat with drag-racing the I-PACE against a Model X (the mild 75D, no less) when it was launched to in march.
An SVR SUV isn't unheard of, of course. Just a few months ago Jaguar revealed the F-Pace SVR [pictured above], which is set to hit showrooms around the world from about July onwards. Jaguar is also launching a racing series based around the I-PACE, called the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Electric Racing Series. It kicks off later this year, and further bolsters the business case for making a performance-orientated electric SUV.
And with 50/50 weight distribution adds to the I-PACE's handling potential, but it remains to be seen that chassis balance and road holding capabilities can trump unbeatable drive from the lights in the minds of tech-savvy buyers.