For over a year, the Jaguar I-Pace had the all-electric SUV world sewn up. It had seen off every competitor, including the Tesla Model X, with ease. But then came the Audi e-tron.
So, does the Jag have what it takes to retain its crown, or will the four-ringed German newcomer disrupt the status quo?
On the whole, both the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron are outstanding electric vehicles. They each excel in their own areas, but really, there’s very little to choose between them.
The e-tron is a touch classier, has a smoother ride, comes with more space and offers a more refined driving experience. Meanwhile, the I-Pace is sharper in the corners, is faster from 0-62mph, has a greater range and is more fun to drive.
So, then, it really depends on what’s important to you in a vehicle. Both Audi and Jaguar have done a marvellous job in creating a highly-desirable all-electric SUV. Both are convenient to live with and both will save you money against their fossil-fuelled counterparts.
But, being better value for money and a more versatile SUV, the Audi e-tron is the one we’d buy.
Winner: Audi e-tron
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Exterior Design & Styling
The exterior styling differences between the I-Pace and the Audi e-tron really tell their individual stories.
The Jaguar I-Pace is a sporty SUV which looks as good as it drives. Its position on the road is hunkered, almost coupe-like, and the optional air suspension drops it 10mm lower at speeds above 65mph.
It’s a rarity in that very little has changed in the I-Pace’s design from its concept drawings, including sweeping front fenders, dramatic curves, muscular haunches and a striking waistline – inspired by the Jaguar C-X75 supercar – as well as imposing 20-inch wheels.
Everything was created with aerodynamics in mind, including active vanes in the front bumper to regulate airflow between the vehicle’s interior climate control and cooling the batteries.
A low bonnet, sweeping roofline and squared-off rear give the I-Pace a drag coefficient of just 0.29 – 0.05 less than the internal combustion F-Pace – and integrated door handles both look great and contribute to the vehicle’s sleek nature.
Meanwhile, the Audi e-tron is taller, wider and longer than the Jaguar I-Pace – helping emphasise its all-conquering demeanour.
The e-tron is a more imposing figure on the road – even the Sportback model – yet still has a lower drag coefficient than the Jag.
That’s down to the Audi’s aero-focussed design, which includes a lower, more closed front grille, a sloped roofline, and exterior shoulder lines, which surround the vehicle, ensuring a lower centre of gravity.
At the rear, the e-tron also features a single panoramic light band which not only creates a futuristic look but also reduces drag, as does the rear glass, which appears to connect seamlessly with the car’s shoulders.
Both cars’ styling and design is intelligent and created to improve performance and range. Which is best comes down really to personal preference.
The Audi’s rear is hard to top, but the sportier looks and sleeker detailing on the I-Pace get our vote.
Winner: Jaguar I-Pace
Range, Charging Time & Running Costs
Despite its smaller size, the Jaguar I-Pace comfortably trumps the Audi e-tron in range.
The I-Pace boasts 298 miles from a full charge, whereas the e-tron’s best is 252.
It’s the same with charging times. At home, using a 7kW charge point, the I-Pace will charge up in 13 hours – a rate of 20 miles per hour – while the e-tron takes 14 hours – 17 miles per hour.
This translates to cheaper running costs for the I-Pace, too. When charging at home, the e-tron will cost more than 1p per mile more than the Jag. And even though that doesn’t sound like much, over the course of a year while driving 12,000 miles, it’s a saving of over £120.
Despite the e-tron having a quicker fast-charge time using a 150kW charge point – 30 minutes compared to 40 – the I-Pace is easily the standout vehicle when it comes to overall range, charging time and running costs.
Winner: Jaguar I-Pace
Engines, Drive & Performance
Even though the Audi e-tron has a smaller range, it has a larger battery than the Jaguar I-Pace – 95 kWh 396 V lithium-ion to 90 kWh 388 V lithium-ion.
You’d think, then, that with a greater power source the e-tron would be faster off the mark. But you’d be wrong.
The Jaguar I-Pace reaches 62mph from a standing start in just 4.8 seconds – that’s the same as a 5.9-litre Aston Martin Rapide S. In comparison, the e-tron takes 5.7 seconds.
Both, however, come with the top speed of 124mph.
Behind the wheel, the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron offer different driving experiences.
The e-tron is more comfortable, quieter, smoother and comes with all-wheel-drive as standard, so it can tackle almost any terrain.
Meanwhile, the I-Pace’s suspension struggles more with potholes and bumps in the road, particularly around town. And although the air suspension improves the vehicle’s range, it doesn’t address its firmer ride.
As with any electric vehicle, you can bring it to a halt without touching the break as the car harvests energy.
In the I-Pace, the decrease in speed is more unpredictable, making it a pain to drive at times. While the e-tron’s optional front sensors read the road ahead, so it slows depending on the environment around you.
There’s no doubt that the I-Pace is more fun to drive than the e-tron. Its nimble steering and ability to attack the corners give it a certain edge, as well as a quicker 0-62mph time.
But overall, the Audi’s drive is smoother and more comfortable, important aspects for an SUV.
Winner: Audi e-tron
Audi is well known for its high-quality interiors. And the e-tron is no different.
A light and airy space coated in expensive materials with intricate lighting details provide a modernistic cabin, which is only complemented by two high-definition touchscreen systems, on which you’ll find Audi’s critically-acclaimed MMI infotainment system and climate controls.
But while the setup may be aesthetically pleasing, sleek and modern, the absence of physical buttons means you’re distracted from driving more often.
As with most Audi SUV’s, the driving position is high and imposing, giving you a good range of vision from behind the wheel.
The side visibility is somewhat hampered by the rear pillars, although parking sensors and an optional 360-degree camera alleviate the issue for the most part.
You also have the option of digital door mirrors – lowering your exterior drag resistance. The vehicle’s bulky ears are replaced with slender sticks which portray their findings onto a small screen next to the door handle.
It’s a great idea, in concept. But in practice, the screens are lower than you’d want them to be, making it more difficult to view the world around you.
In contrast, the Jaguar I-Pace doesn’t seem as ‘prestige’ as the e-tron. It’s still a welcoming, plush space, and there are physical dials for the climate control system, but it’s just not to the quality of the Audi.
Like the e-tron, the I-Pace features two screens – one for the infotainment and one for the cabin controls. It’s not as neatly presented as the e-tron, and the screens aren’t as quick to respond on touch. The interface is also a lot more complicated.
Behind the wheel, it does provide a clearer view than the e-tron, and front and rear parking sensors come as standard. However, overall, the Audi’s interior has the Jaguar’s beat.
Winner: Audi e-tron
Practicality & Boot Space
Both the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace provide ample space for driver and passenger.
Both come with five seats, and although you get a touch more headroom in the e-tron, it’s negligible.
Where the differences become more apparent are the boot space and rear folding seats.
The Audi comes with a monstrous 600 litres or rear room, with extra under the bonnet. In terms of everyday use, that’s the equivalent of 12 carry on bags.
In the I-Pace, you’re afforded 557 litres, with a smaller pocket of space in place of a conventional engine.
With the seats down, which fold in a 40/20/40 split, the e-tron boasts a 1,725-litre load bay, whereas the I-Pace only caters for 1,453 litres and is less practical with a 60/40 rear split.
One positive for the Jag is that its seats fold completely flat, making it easier when transporting bulkier items – something the e-tron doesn’t offer.
Despite its slightly angled rear load bay with the seats down, the e-tron provides substantially more room and practicality than the Jaguar I-Pace.
Winner: Audi e-tron
Reliability & Safety
Jaguar’s reliability problems in previous years are well documented. However, with the I-Pace, thanks to a less complicated construction and fewer moving parts, it’s unlikely the all-electric SUV will run into that many problems.
With it only being released a couple of years ago, nothing of note has surfaced as of yet, and it’s the same with the Audi e-tron – albeit Audi’s reliability history is much stronger.
Both the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace scored five stars in their respective NCAP safety rating tests.
The Audi performed slightly better in protecting driver and passengers, and the I-Pace’s self-braking struggled when facing a cyclist. But other than that, there’s not much to split them.
On the Jag, traffic-sign recognition, lane-keeping assistance, tiredness warning, autonomous emergency braking at city speeds and a rear cross-traffic monitoring come as standard.
There’s also the option to add the Drive Pack, made up of blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and high-speed emergency braking.
In the e-tron, as you’d expect with an Audi, there’s an abundance of safety features crammed in. As standard, you’ll receive lane-departure warning, cruise control and a speed limiter, as well as forward collision detection, and a full complement of airbags.
There’s also the option to add adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alerts and 360-degree collision detection systems, as well as a 360-degree parking camera.
Both the I-Pace and e-tron are extremely well equipped with safety features, and the Jag even has the option of adding a spare wheel.
But for a marginally better score in its NCAP safety test, and historically better reliability, the Audi claims victory.
Winner: Audi e-tron
Cost & Deals
There’s nothing to split the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace when it comes to insurance groups. Both sit in the highest band – 50 – meaning premiums will be expensive.
As both vehicles are fully electric, there’s no road tax to pay, and they’re both also great to run as company cars.
There are three specifications to choose from with the I-Pace:
- I-Pace S
- I-Pace SE
- I-Pace HSE
As you scale the range, you can expect 20-inch alloy wheels – one inch bigger than the standard 19s – Matrix LED headlights, dynamic indicators, heated and cooled Windsor leather seats, head-up display and two extra safety packs.
In the e-tron, there are 10 different model variants, including both a standard SUV and Sportback model:
- S line
- Black Edition
Audi e-tron Sportback
- S line
- Launch Edition
Audi e-tron S
Audi e-tron S Sportback
To have either the Audi e-tron or Jaguar I-Pace from new, you’ll be looking north of £60,000.
The e-tron comes in a few thousand pounds cheaper at entry-level, but can quickly supersede the I-Pace as you scale the spec levels.
As both are predicted to have strong residual values, you may find leasing to be the best option.
At the time of writing, the Audi e-tron is available from £508 a month on a personal contract hire plan.
Meanwhile, the Jaguar I-Pace is more expensive at £669 a month.