My previous Irish outing in the electric Jaguar i-Pace SUV was dogged by glitches and time pressures (mine).
The year had nearly gone before I got back behind the wheel for a proper Irish drive.
Making it topical, I suppose, is the fact that there are changes afoot.
They have added free software updates to improve battery and to increase range by as many as 19km (official figures not affected, however).
Retailers here have been notifying customers of the free update.
Jaguar have also announced changes to the all-wheel drive and management systems.
They are also bringing in changes that include improved regenerative braking and more accurate range calculations.
And there will be more modules benefiting from remote updates.
One thing that remains constant it how exceptional this luxury SUV EV still looks.
It’s a stunning conclave of smooth and sharp. The only infringement of form over substance is the meagre rear window aperture.
More to the point, perhaps, the i-Pace is a prime example of electric power affecting drive in a major way.
This had searing acceleration for such a large vehicle (94pc body structure aluminium). With all 400PS on tap it can do 0-100kmh in 4.8 seconds; top speed is 200kmh so don’t even think about it.
Only safety and a wary eye on battery usage kept the bold boy in me from flooring it (legally) more often. Yes, you’d expect that sort of attribute for the price, but the manner of delivery delighted. It was a five-second thrill every so often.
I wasn’t a mad fan of the cabin on previous drives but I’m entitled to change my mind. It felt, as HSE trim should, hugely comfortable and had an exceptional driving position.
It hasn’t the cutting-edge new-age feel of the Tesla S or X or Audi e-tron. But if I had to choose I’d go with the Jaguar mix. Neither did it feel as roomy as the Tesla S and a lot less so than the X. I’d charitably describe rear space as fair.
The i-Pace’s infotainment touchscreen was largely intuitive but I prefer the massive central pad in the Tesla.
The Jag’s is still noteworthy for the way the main/upper screen deals with the navigation, audio, phone and options while the lower slot is part touchscreen and part dials for other functions.
At its international launch (feels a decade ago) we drove this on motorways, gravel roads, up a river, steep off-road hillside and tore around a race track (to highlight lack of bodyroll).
I’m here to report I never left the tarmac in Ireland. But some old findings cling. The steering felt too heavy and I was less than assured about how the rear wheels behaved on sharply taken corners or quick acceleration.
But I was impressed with how closely aligned were the projected battery consumption and real-world driving stats.
And as there is an electric motor on each axle you automatically get AWD. The rear motor drives the car in normal circumstances but the system can concentrate all power on one wheel if needed.
Dynamically it’s not absolutely top-drawer Jaguar, but it was hugely accomplished. Its power, pace and range are impressive. It is also expensive.