Veiled La­tency

SLOW Magazine - - Editor's Choice -

The name for the widely ac­knowl­edged wuxia movie Crouch­ing Tiger, Hid­den Dragon from the year 2000 comes from a Chengyu – a type of tra­di­tional Chi­nese id­iomatic ex­pres­sion or set phrase, most of which con­sist of four char­ac­ters.

This Chengyu is from a poem of an an­cient Chi­nese poet and de­scribes a place or sit­u­a­tion filled with un­no­ticed “masters” – their abil­i­ties and po­ten­tial veiled, and there­fore un­recog­nised and un­sus­pected.

Tak­ing this four-char­ac­ter set phrase, one could draw an anal­ogy with the lat­est cat from Coven­try, as with­out the soul­ful, sonorous six-cylin­der growl of an XK petrol en­gine (or a new V8), on first en­counter much of the la­tency of Jaguar’s new I-pace stays veiled.

Only af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it does one re­alise just how much po­ten­tial is hid­den un­der its quite at­trac­tive coupe-like sil­hou­ette, in­flu­enced by the sleek lines of the C-X75 su­per­car. The I-pace is larger than an­tic­i­pated, its Suv-type cab for­ward de­sign, long wheel­base and huge wheels con­tribut­ing to the il­lu­sion of it be­ing smaller, while in re­al­ity it is slightly larger, yet in­cre­men­tally lower, than an E-pace.

It is also slightly longer than its di­rect ad­ver­saries, the Tesla Model S and X (4.9 and 5.1 me­tres re­spec­tively, ver­sus 4.6 me­tres for the I-pace), and has a 30 mm longer wheel­base – giving it an ad­van­tage in terms of in­te­rior space and pack­ag­ing.

The I-pace’s short, low bon­net, aeroen­hanced roof de­sign and curved rear screen, is con­trasted by a squared-off rear, which helps re­duce drag to just 0.29 Cd. This is fur­ther op­ti­mised by “hid­den fac­ul­ties” such as the Ac­tive Vanes in the to­ken Jaguar grille that opens when cool­ing is re­quired, but closes when not needed – redi­rect­ing air through the in­te­gral bon­net scoop to fur­ther smooth the air­flow.

And while Jaguar clas­si­fies the I-pace as a mid-sized SUV, it has in­te­rior space com­pa­ra­ble to that of a large SUV, with a full 890 mm of legroom at the rear, stowage places for a tablet or lap­top be­neath the seats, and 656 litres of lug­gage space (up to 1,453 litres with the rear seats folded down). Hid­den Power Nor­mally, the pow­er­ful, rau­cous sound of a car’s en­gine is a tell-tale sign of its po­ten­tial; its ca­pa­bil­ity. Not so with the quiet I-pace. With a 90 kwh Lithium-ion bat­tery com­pris­ing 432 pouch cells that drives two syn­chro­nous per­ma­nent mag­net elec­tric mo­tors – one on the front axle and one on the rear axle – it pro­duces com­bined power of 294 kw and 696 Nm of torque. That’s a lot of power, and with its in­stant torque de­liv­ery it de­liv­ers sports car type per­for­mance; sprint­ing from 0-100 km/h in just 4.8 sec­onds – as quick as a BMW X3 M40i or an Audi Q3 RS. So, silent it may be, but “mas­ter” abil­ity it has…

How­ever, the real beauty lies in how it is achieved. There’s no drama when sprint­ing from stand­still. No noise. No whin­ing gears or turbo whis­tle. It is smooth and lin­ear. You feel that surge and the swoosh, and it’s strangely ex­cit­ing. Okay, there is some noise; elec­tron­i­cally in­duced fake noise, barely au­di­ble as the speed

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