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Jag I-Pace is electrifying 

IT might seem a bit too early to be thinking about my car of the year for 2018.

But unless something really, really exceptional comes off the production lines between now and the October dead-line, I know where my vote will be going for the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers’ top model.

I waited expectantly for my chance to get behind the wheel when Jaguar brought its first all-electric vehicle up to Scotland recently.

And I had a huge smile on my face after a 40-minute drive in Jaguar’s I-Pace.

It’s got to be the most stylish looking SUV on the market with its sleek coupe-like silhouette – and has stacks of space in a stunning interior.

But the real stand-out features of the I-Pace are its performance and handling.

I quickly discovered that this four-wheel drive Jag will race out of the blocks like a sports car and delivered instant power effortlessly.

I’ve sampled hybrid cars in recent years as the motor industry builds up to an electric future – well the future has just arrived in the shape of the I-Pace.

The only downside to this model is for lovers of engines producing those roaring noises thundering out of the exhaust pipes.

But the green brigade will be cheering loudly at the car’s arrival – with zero tailpipe emissions, no CO2 and no particulates.

It’s a bit strange experiencing a fast car like this without engine noise but I could quite easily get used to it.

Getting under way is simple – touch the start push button and then the drive button between the two front seats and you’re off.

That’s when the real driving fun and enjoyment begins in an I-Pace that can rocket to 60mph in just 4.5 seconds.

The car cruises along ever so smoothly but be warned – it will go faster than the legal 70mph motorway limit without you noticing.

That’s why the £900 heads-up display is a handy option to keep track of your speed as you look at the road ahead.

The I-Pace’s power comes from twin Jaguar-designed motors with a combined 400ps and 695Nm.

The 90kWh battery – with an eight-year warranty – is placed between the two axles, enabling 50:50 weight distribution.

This gives the I-Pace a range of up to 298 miles and satnav will give nearest charge points when you enter in your journey.

Public charging from zero to 80 per cent takes 85 minutes with a 30-minutes charge giving a range of around 80 miles.

Home charging with an AC wall box will take just over ten hours, ideal for overnight charging.

With a top speed of 124mph, there’s more than enough power, coming instantly when required.

The raindrops were the loudest things to be heard, with the lack of engine noise, as I cruised along.

The sudden downpour didn’t spoil my drive at all as the all-wheel drive I-Pace gripped the tarmac.

Ride comfort gets top marks and this mid-sized SUV handled superbly when tackling corners at speed.

I loved the luxurious Mars Red and Ebony interior and the end of my drive came all too quickly.

There’s an exceptional high standard spec on all models with the choice of S, SE and HSE and a First Edition.

I was sampling an HSE model and its interior comforts included Windsor leather sports seats, 18-way heated and cooled, electric memory front seats with heated rear seats.

There’s lots of room up front and three adults can sit comfortably in the rear.

The cockpit has all the latest hi-tech features viewed on two screens.

This includes satnav, smartphone pack, Meridian sound system and Bluetooth.

And you will be able to ask an Alexa-enabled device for information in the Jaguar InControl remote app.

Wireless over-the-air updates ensure drivers always have the latest software.

There’s also lots of stowage space – 656-litre boot rising to 1,453 with seats folded flat – 25 litres under the bonnet, 10.5 litre central storage and tablet and laptop space beneath rear seats.

Prices for this ground-breaking Jaguar start at £58,995 (including govern-ment incentives) with the HSE model costing £74,445.