EVERY EV THAT MATTERS: THE DATA
Price, power, efficiency, range – everything you need to know is here
JAGUAR i-PACE HSE
There’s just the one body style, and just the one powertrain, but three classically Jaguar trim levels. The i-Pace S is £65,620. The SE (from £70,220) and our HSE have the same performance but less range than the S’s claimed 286 miles.
PRICE £74,670 (£89,060 as tested) POWERTRAIN 84.7kWh battery, twin e-motors, all-wheel drive PERFORMANCE 395bhp, 2133kg, 4.8sec 0-62mph, 124mph EFFICIENCY 2.8 miles per kWh (official), 2.1 miles per kWh (tested), 278-mile range (official), 187-mile range (tested)
TESLA MODEL 3 LONG RANGE AWD Quickest, logically, is the outlandish Performance (3.1sec 0-60mph, 162mph); longest range is the Long Range (374 miles); cheapest is the RWD (£45,990) – but that’s still pretty lively (5.8sec) and frugal (305 miles on a full charge).
PRICE £49,990 (£54,490 as tested) POWERTRAIN 82kWh battery (est), twin e-motors, all-wheel drive PERFORMANCE 430bhp (est), 1830kg, 4.2sec 0-60mph, 145mph EFFICIENCY n/a miles per kWh (official), 3.8 miles per kWh (tested), 374-mile range (official), 361 miles (tested)
MERCEDES-BENZ EQS 450★ AMG LINE PREMIUM Most ‘affordable’ EQS is the 450★ AMG Line, from £102,160; most expensive are the AMGs – 649bhp, 701lb ft, 3.8sec 0-62mph, 155mph – at £157,160. Best range for a 450★ is 453 miles; for a 53★ a still-impressive 358 miles.
PRICE £106,995 (£106,995 as tested) POWERTRAIN 107.8kWh battery, twin e-motors, all-wheel drive PERFORMANCE 328bhp, 2405kg, 6.2sec 0-62mph, 130mph EFFICIENCY 5.18-5.88 miles per kWh (official), 3.3 miles per kWh (tested), 443-mile range (official), 356-mile range (tested)
KIA EV6 GT LINE S
RWD single-motor versions, from £40,945, offer the best range, 328 miles, with 7.3sec 0-62mph acceleration and 114mph from 225bhp. AWD Dual Motor’s official range figure drops to a still-hardly-shabby 300 miles in some trims.
PRICE £51,945 POWERTRAIN 77.4kWh battery, twin e-motors, all-wheel drive PERFORMANCE 321bhp, 2090kg, 5.2sec 0-62mph, 114mph EFFICIENCY 3.8 miles per kWh (official), 3.0 miles per kWh (tested), 300-mile range (official), 232-mile range (tested)
MUSTANG MACH-E GT
Non-GT options involve RWD and AWD in Standard Range and Extended Range guises, starting at £42,530, with the best range of 379 miles coming in the form of the £47,580 RWD Extended Range. GT is a big step up on price and power.
PRICE £66,280 (£68,425 as tested) POWERTRAIN 88kWh battery, twin e-motors, all-wheel drive PERFORMANCE 480bhp, 2198kg, 3.7sec 0-62mph, 124mph EFFICIENCY 3.1 miles per kWh (official), 2.6 miles per kWh (tested), 310-mile range (official), 229-mile range (tested)
BMW i4 EDRIVE 40 M SPORT
No alarms and no surprises. The i4 40 is a ‘proper’ BMW; front‘engined’ in its proportions, rear-drive and fond of going sideways. i4 range also includes the fast but blunt all-wheel-drive M50, but save your money – the 40 goes further on a charge and it’s better to drive.
PRICE £53,195 (£65,820 as tested) POWERTRAIN 80.7kWh battery, single e-motor, rear-wheel drive PERFORMANCE 335bhp, 2050kg, 5.7sec 0-62mph, 119mph EFFICIENCY 3.6 miles per kWh (official), 2.9 miles per kWh (tested), 369-mile range (official), 234-mile range (tested)
VOLKSWAGEN ID.3 LIFE PRO PERFORMANCE Priced from £27k, there are – in theory – five spec levels, three batteries and three power outputs. Quickest is the Max (7.3sec 0-62mph); leggiest is the Tour (340 miles, £38,815). Chip shortage means the Life Pro Performance is the only ID.3 currently available.
PRICE £39,500 (£43,185 as tested) POWERTRAIN 58kWh battery, single e-motor, rear-wheel drive PERFORMANCE 201bhp, 1737kg, 7.3sec 0-62mph, 99mph EFFICIENCY 4.2 miles per kWh (official), 3.3 miles per kWh (tested), 258-mile range (official), 191-mile range (tested)
POLESTAR 2 LONG RANGE DUAL MOTOR Same body is also offered with single motor and a choice of Standard or Long Range battery. Entry price is £40,900, but an extra £2k gets a handy increase in range, from 294 to 336 miles, with the same power. Bells-and-whistles Performance pack costs £5k.
PRICE £46,900 (£51,900 as tested) POWERTRAIN 78kWh battery, twin e-motors, all-wheel drive PERFORMANCE 469bhp, 2123kg, 4.4sec 0-62mph, 127mph EFFICIENCY 3.2 miles per kWh (official), 2.1 miles per kWh (tested), 335-mile range (official), 198-mile range (tested)
PORSCHE TAYCAN CROSS TURISMO 4S Range includes saloon, jacked-up Cross Turismo and Sport Turismo bodies. Big battery is a cost option on some variants. £73k rear-drive saloon is the least expensive; the £140k Turbo S Cross Turismo the flagship. Longest range is the 304-mile GTS Sport Turismo.
PRICE £88,270 (£102,961 as tested) POWERTRAIN 83.7kWh battery, twin e-motors, all-wheel drive PERFORMANCE 563bhp, 2245kg, 4.0sec 0-62mph, 155mph EFFICIENCY 3.0 miles per kWh (official), 2.4 miles per kWh (tested), 309-mile range (official), 201-mile range (tested)
BMW iX3 M SPORT PRO
One rear-wheel-drive set-up but two trim options, M Sport (£60,970) or our M Sport Pro. Power and performance are the same, and official driving range is in the region of 280-285 miles, depending on wheel choice. In reality much more than 200 miles is a stretch.
PRICE £63,065 (£64,740 as tested) POWERTRAIN 74kWh battery, single e-motor, rear-wheel drive PERFORMANCE 282bhp, 2185kg, 6.8sec 0-62mph, 113mph EFFICIENCY 3.3 miles per kWh (official), 2.6 miles per kWh (tested), 283-mile range (official), 198-mile range (tested)
THE KIA REALLY WAKES UP ON THE THROTTLE, ITS E-MOTORS SWEEPING THE EV6 THROUGH CURVES
Electric cars are not, as a rule, cheap. But tempting as it is to make a beeline for Porsche’s six-figure Taycan, right now the pulverising POLESTAR 2 is proving there’s entertainment to be had for far less – £46,900 in the case of our top-spec Long Range Dual Motor. (You can get into a single-motor 2 for £41k.) The first pure EV from Volvo’s posher, cleaner sister brand (the 1 was a plug-in-hybrid curio), this car’s also equipped with the £5k Performance pack, which includes four-piston Brembo brakes, stickier 20-inch Contis and, rather astonishingly, spanner-adjustable Öhlins dampers. On paper at least, this thing could have been created to hit our brief: to find out which of today’s best electric cars also satisfy as instruments for swift, rewarding driving. And of course, with 469bhp (courtesy of an optional power increase), the 2 is silly-quick too. Need to overtake? The 2123kg Swede (that’s a lot of root vegetable…) can smash 50-75mph in 2.2 seconds. Blimey.
The five-door notchback/crossover design doesn’t stray far from the Volvo gene pool, and this is no clean-sheet architecture, so inside there’s still a centre tunnel and not the sense of space you get in a bespoke EV. The boot’s small and it’s a squash in the back row. Some of the prominent plastics are also less than plush and the seats are too firm, but I like the calmness of the vegan interior and the huge portrait touchscreen powered by Google Android (meaning brilliant Google Maps navigation that predicts how much battery you’ll have at your destination – and when you return home again). The 2 also looks kind of Tonka premium and gets glances galore.
Performance is served progressively and smoothly, making it easy to dip into the car’s vast reserves, and the 2 nails curves thanks to a combination of strong brakes with meaty feel, fantastic body control, a low centre of gravity and huge grip. Roll it in at an indecent lick and it simply soaks up the g-force, then ESC Sport and all-wheel drive gives you enough slack to lay into the performance on the way out. You’d give a sports car PTSD.
Shame the decent-enough steering is so synthetic, and that the damping feels unnecessarily curt when I’m nursing the remaining range – it’d be nice to have a more supple UK setting out of the box (the non-Performance pack car also has a firm ride, and goes without adaptive dampers).
Polestar clearly has the TESLA MODEL 3 in its sights in terms of pricing, but the Californian is a formidable foe – it was the UK’s second best-selling car in 2021, beaten only by the Vauxhall Corsa. We’re testing the £49k Long Range Dual Motor, with its 374-mile official range and 4.2sec 0-60mph dash. Just looking at the Tesla tells you it doesn’t sit on a legacy platform. The bonnet cuts way down low like a mid-engined supercar, while the roofline bubbles over your head like it’s driven straight off Pixar’s Cars. That reaps
huge benefits inside, including a flat floor and much more generous room for rear-seat passengers. It also gives the Tesla a highly driver-centric feel from behind the wheel, even if the complete absence of an instrument binnacle does leave it feeling stark and cheap, like you’re driving an arcade game rig (all the controls are consolidated on one 15-inch screen). On the plus side you have a fantastically uninterrupted view out, while the visible arcs of the front wings help you place the Tesla on the road, like a McLaren.
The 3 delivers on its DIY driving promise. The steering is as lightning quick as the performance, the front Michelin Sport 4s bite hard and it’s playfully adjustable when you carve through roundabouts. Toss it in, let the generous if measured bodyroll smear the back end round, then pin the throttle and the Tesla’s away like a ball off a bat. It’s pretty refined and quiet too, though the price for its dynamic competence is a tough if far from intolerable ride.
Crack on and that bodyroll becomes more of an issue, and the always-on stability control graunches crudely in protest (the Model 3 Performance offers more options here), subtracting not just speed but flow too. All in all, though, the 3’s a fun drive that also proves far more efficient than the Polestar. On our efficiency test route the Swede records 2.1 miles per kWh (editor Ben is getting the same in his long-term-test 2) versus the Tesla’s laudable 3.8.
For Tesla to nail driving dynamics is a bonus; for some brands it’s a hygiene factor. That’s especially true of the new BMW i4, which looks and is so much more traditionally BMW than the radical i3 that set Munich’s EV ball rolling. An electric fastback derived from the same CLAR architecture and bodyshell as the 4-series Gran Coupe, the i4 just rides a few mm higher, its track widths are slightly wider, plus there are blue bits and glossy sealedoff kidney grilles – I don’t know whether to plug in for a drive or a shave.
This one’s the entry-level i4 eDrive 40, which decodes as rear-wheel drive with 335bhp (the more powerful i4 M50 is all-wheel drive). You sit low in gorgeously supportive seats and the dash architecture is all familiar from the 3- and 4-series, if not the new infotainment system with a huge display that curves round the dash like an amphitheatre. It’s a slick and largely
SMEAR THE BACK END ROUND, THEN PIN THE THROTTLE AND THE TESLA’S AWAY LIKE A BALL OFF A BAT
intuitive system, but some of the touchscreen is so far away you might need a passenger to do it for you (though you’ve still got the iDrive rotary controller).
At 2050kg, the i4 is 400kg heavier than a 430i, so you’d forgive it for unravelling under duress, but the e-BMW remains remarkably cohesive and robust with Sport mode selected and ESC off. Performance is good, if without the full catapult effect of the Polestar or Tesla, the steering firm, brakes strong, and you can steer it on the throttle, powersliding it like traditional BMWs, though the build and progression of internal combustion is replaced by a much more abrupt thump to kick out the tail, plus a rowdy squeal from the Hankook tyres. Still, it’s easy to strike up a fast, precise rhythm.
Doing efficiency runs on the road in Eco Pro mode, something’s missing. The i4 is refined and quiet enough (though there is some wind whistle on the mirrors), it rides well, but it feels heavy and numb, with indecisive steering and a body that rocks about as the suspension struggles to contain two tonnes of chunkiness. It’s a rare example of a car that actually needs the most aggressive Sport suspension setting to properly click on the road, and only then does the promise shown on track resurface. Body control tightens up to give a much more precise feel and everything flows more cohesively. It’s satisfying to squirt between a series of corners, leaning on the grip and smearing the rear tyres out of corners.
Clearly, the BMW is going to be near the top of this pile. It’s more enjoyable than a wheezy 420i (if less than a 430i I reckon) but the i4 is a long way from a Taycan. It also makes for an interesting comparison to the iX3, BMW’s other contender, the talents of which creep up on you, partly because the X3 it’s based on is older than the spangly i4, so you suspect it’ll be half a job, like a classic that’s had its engine swapped for EV. It’s anything but.
Like the i4 there are CLAR bits beneath, plus it’s rear-wheel drive with all that clever fifth-generation BMW e-motor tech neatly packaged at the back. There are no adaptive dampers to tweak its character, but there’s real finesse here, its drive defined by consistency and isolation; the supple ride, easily modulated brakes (with a more natural low-speed bite than the i4), distant if chunkily weighted and accurate steering, cotton-wool refinement. It’s the relaxing cruiser you’d hope for, yet it steps up to the plate through demanding twists, where you can really lean on the grip and body control, use the rear-drive oomph to adjust your line and tuck the nose in. It’s not especially rapid, with ‘just’ 282bhp, but that’s all relative in the parallel EV universe of instant thrust, and really there’s enough to get shifting.
The iX3 is a more practical car too, of course, with much more generous space in the back seats (the i4 is cramped for adults) and a large boot, though in common with the i4 there’s no space for luggage under the bonnet, just power electronics. It’s a shame the iX3’s ability to swallow people and stuff is partly offset by being 135kg chunkier with 7kWh less of usable battery than the i4, which drops the official range to 283 miles from the i4’s 369 miles. Our testing sees that gap narrow but it’s still a chasm. Frustratingly, the iX3’s a long-distance cruiser that can’t cruise for very long.
If the iX3 has to work from an existing architecture, the KIA EV6 goes full clean-sheet, built on the same E-GMP architecture as Hyundai’s Ioniq 5. That’s obvious from the striking-if-chintzy SUV-cum-GT design, with its low bonnet and long 2900mm wheelbase. It’s obvious too when you sit in the loungey interior, particularly the rear, which has more space than most home-working millennials. That feeling continues up front, too, where you sit higher than the looks suggest. The floating centre console, flat floor and concave door casings all emphasise the expanse.
The seats are firm (if big on lateral and lumbar support) and many of the plastics are nasty. But it’s effective overall, costs a reasonable £51,945 in toppy GT-Line S trim, and gets lots of equipment including heated/chilled memory seats and a host of overly-keen driver-assistance tech.
A 577bhp flagship arrives this year, but for now our AWD GT-Line S is the most potent EV6 with 321bhp – yep, big gap. That’s tranquilised in Eco mode, but helps yield an impressive 3.0 miles per kWh over our test route, enough for more than 230 miles from a battery a smidge smaller than most rivals. It’s also a very natural-feeling drive – from the bite of the brakes to the calibration of the regen and power delivery, it all hangs together very organically.
Flick to Normal or Sport mode and while the EV6 is not exactly lusty, it’s more than frisky enough. Kia talks of a sportier suspension set-up without specifically name-checking the softer Ioniq 5, and the price for its extra ‘focus’ is some fussiness over road-surface scars, particularly at low speeds. But there’s no huge dividend in terms of engagement. Steering response is punchy, but it catches the chassis napping, so it dithers as you load it up for a corner. Better to baby the Kia on turn-in, because it really wakes up on the throttle, the e-motors dynamically sweeping the EV6 through curves, powering outside wheels to make this SUV feel impressively fleet-footed and
rear-biased. A likeable European Car Of The Year winner then, significant and worthy as these things often are. But I won’t be scheduling any alone time with it on a sunny Sunday morning.
But I would JAGUAR’S i-PACE, the Kia’s muse. It too is a blue-sky SUV/ crossover built on a bespoke EV platform, and it too once won CotY. But it pre-dates the Korean by years, and you can see plenty of the Jaguar’s low-bonnet/cab-forward supercar silhouette in the Kia. A £65k price of entry places expectations on a whole other level though – not to mention the £74,390 for our HSE spec, to which £15k of additional luxury is added. Cor.
In truth it does feel a very special cabin, particularly with our car’s optional sports seats, but the real magic lies in the sweet balance struck between comfort and dynamism – how the i-Pace faithfully translates Jaguar values into the EV realm, and how cohesively all the electronics and dynamics fuse together. It just all feels so right, so together.
With 395bhp and 2133kg to lug, the i-Pace doesn’t have the accelerative shove of the bit-more-powerful Polestar 2, but it can squeeze you back in your seat and compress long straights into much shorter ones. More importantly it’s a truly fluid drive when you properly crank it. The steering blends weight and precision with twirly effortlessness lock-to-lock, and even on full Ian Callum-spec 22-inch wheels it glides over road scars that jar rivals. Then it encourages you to grab it by the scruff because its feedback and measured responses so quickly earn your trust. It’s up on its toes, eager to switch direction, and the torque vectoring effect is particularly enjoyable, snapping the i-Pace alive on the throttle and tucking it into corners the harder you drive. It works surprisingly well on track too, arcing into corners like it’s swinging round a post – this front end is helium light, but grippy too.
Bad news, though, because the i-Pace records a disappointing 2.1 miles per kWh of energy efficiency over our test route, at which rate it’d drain its battery in less than 200 miles.
FORD’S MACH-E GT gets closer to an i-Pace kind of drive than the Kia, but the whole concept of putting the most storied musclecar name of all time on an e-SUV still blows my mind. It’s like Fender making a Stratocaster
synthesiser, but at least the old-school Mustang look is cleverly translated to an entirely different body with a reasonable boot and decent rear seats.
Ours is the GT model, with 480bhp, 20-inch wheels, Brembo brakes and adaptive MagneRide suspension, plus B&O audio, an electric tailgate and 360° camera ticking the convenience boxes. But £66k…
Climbing aboard is much like trying to enter a lift in a high-security area. There are buttons like eye scanners on the A-pillars, rows of red digital numbers for keyless access, even a little wing for a handle… posh gizmos out of kilter with the Fiesta key in my pocket. Nice 15.5-inch vertically-mounted touchscreen, though, and these wing-back seats are fantastic.
I get off to a decent start in the Big Mach. Even in the gentlest Whisper mode it’s rapid, and Ford’s handling magic surfaces at the first roundabout, where it’s surprisingly responsive and adjustable for such a tall machine.
There’s even a dedicated Untamed Plus mode with an actual warning that things are about to go more nuts than maybe you can handle, then it amps everything up and layers a synthetic sort of V8 noise over the top when you click okay. It’s actually a lot of fun, with huge speed and grip combining with a chuckable chassis and all-wheel drive that comes a solid second to the Taycan’s exuberance. Launch it in to tighter flicks, let the front tyres suction-cup themselves to the surface and you can mash the throttle and ride it out on opposite lock. Yee and haw.
Driven more sensibly round our efficiency route, the Mustang manages a respectable 2.6 miles per kWh, good for an i-Pace-humbling 229 miles. So the fundamentals are here, but the Mach-E is let down by rough edges most prominent at typical driving speeds. There’s excess road noise, suspension that jitters like it’s walking on hot coals, an inconsistent brake pedal at low speed, and steering cursed with an overly aggressive self-centring effect. It needs a good polish to unlock the last 10 per cent.
If all these £60k-plus price tags are wearing thin, how about the VW ID.3, which in Pro Performance guise costs £39,500 but starts from £4k less. VW bigs it up as next in line for mobilising folks after the Beetle and Golf, hence
the 3 in the name, and really it does signal a similarly substantial step with its bespoke MEB platform, making this the first all-new ground-up VW EV (the e-Golf came earlier). The design sums up its transitional role, with a stubby little alien nose and canopy-like screen that morphs into a more familiarly Golf-like rear three-quarter. It’s very different, yet reassuringly VW all at the same time.
Jump in the cabin and you sit higher than expected on relatively comfy seats, select gears with a twisty thing to the right of the instrument cluster like a BMW i3, and faff for crucial functions like air-con controls on a touchscreen that plumbs new depths of user-unfriendliness, but compensates by responding to the phrase ‘my bottom’s cold’ by turning on the heated seats. I’m unsure whether to be impressed by the AI or perturbed that an adult driving a 1.7-tonne vehicle can so quickly descend to helpless infant.
The ID.3 doesn’t make any claims of being a great driver’s car, but it is rearwheel drive with 201bhp to play with, and the truth is you can chuck the ID.3 around, unsettle its so-so body control and dig in to its rear bias for comedic effect. But really the ID.3 is about getting around comfortably and quietly at a decidedly modest rate of knots, its dynamics layered with a similarly consistent if sterile feel to those of the current Golf, which is probably the target market. Plus it manages 3.3 miles per kWh: enough for 191 miles despite the relatively small 58kWh battery.
The MERCEDES EQS sits at the opposite end of the spectrum, the priciest car on test (by base price) at a huge £106,995. Merc’s first purpose-built EV, it also has the largest battery, a 107.8kWh whopper for a 443-mile official range. That helps excuse the 2.4-tonne portliness. That and the fact it’s 5.2 metres long and loaded with luxury like heat- and noiseinsulating glass, Burmester sounds, leather everywhere and class-leading MBUX infotainment that you don’t even have to touch because the voice control is so impressively natural.
The rear seats are blissfully comfortable, there’s space to make business class look pokey and, while some prominent surfaces sound hollow when you tap them, the overall effect is very impressive. What a gorgeous thing to be chauffeured in.
Firing a luxury limo about the place is about as fair as pitching the QE2 into a powerboat championship, and obviously the EQS is soft and out of sorts under duress. But I’m surprised by how eagerly it turns (partly weight distribution, mostly some heavy lifting from the rear-wheel steering, which really shrinks that length) and that it’s got enough of a sense of humour to let you slide it on the power. I’m also surprised that the Merc doesn’t ride as nicely as you’d like on the road. In softer settings its air suspension swills about like a drunk dancing while secretly eyeing a place to nap, and there’s too much patter. Like the i4 it actually needs the Sport setting to get its act together. But generally it’s as effortlessly refined to waft about in as you’d expect of what’s essentially an S-Class without an engine and more space. All of which brings us back to the Taycan. This is PORSCHE’S CROSS TURISMO 4S: basically the same estate-style body as the Sport Turismo GTS featured on page 68, which adds a bigger boot and 35mm more headroom to banish the regular Taycan’s Achilles’ heel, but here the Cross moniker turns it into a kind of Allroad version.
Call me Sherlock, but the 4S Cross Turismo isn’t as tactile, sharp or rapid (483bhp, rising to 563bhp with overboost) as the GTS. It also has a less extrovert handling balance, though that’s only really noticeable on a track. Crucially, it costs a chunk less at a still punchy £88,270 (here blown to £103k with extras) and works brilliantly on the road, where the option to elevate the ride height keeps the car’s chin off the tarmac on really rough tarmac.
This is a fabulously satisfying machine to drive, either at a crawl or on a mission. The steering retains a beautiful precision and response, the chassis somehow manages to be both supple and robustly tied down, the brakes are superbly weighted, and the 4S is just so smooth and refined yet explosively fast too. Unusually for EVs, it has a second gear that it clicks into around 80mph and just takes off again. I’d soon tire of the £354 robotic Electric Sport Sound, so just put the cash towards almost a grand of Bose surround sound that excels in this quiet cabin – I crank that up instead and it’s like wearing noise-cancelling headphones.
The Taycan’s infotainment feels off the pace, hemmed in by a slim dash architecture which restricts screen size, and its voice control is rudimentary next to the Mercedes’ in particular. More pertinently, our real-world efficiency of 2.4 miles per kWh (close to the official 2.7) suggests a real-world range of 230-ish miles. So long as I had something else tucked away for special occasions/making a racket with an internal-combustion engine, I’d be very happy to do 80 per cent of my driving here, even the driving for kicks stuff. And I didn’t expect to say that.