With Tesla having all but owned the upscale sector of the electric vehicle market, two European brands debuted luxury and performance minded models of their own for 2019, the Jaguar i-Pace and Audi e-Tron. They’re both premium priced, are truly quick, come standard with all-wheel drive, seat five, and deliver operating ranges in excess of 200 miles.
The Audi e-Tron comes in Premium Plus and Prestige trims, at $75,795-$82,795 (including the destination charge but not options). The Jaguar i-Pace is offered in EV 400 S, SE, and HSE trim levels that range in price from $70,495 to $81,495. There’s also a limited production First Edition model for 2019 at $85,895.
While they're comparable in many ways, both models differ in a number of key areas.
Of the two, the Jaguar i-Pace is the more expressively styled, with sweeping lines running front to rear, muscular fenders, and a sloping coupe-like roofline. There’s Jaguar’s signature grille up front, and a large airflow scoop atop the hood. The door handles are flush with the bodywork and extend when the car is unlocked. The vehicle can be equipped with an optional full glass roof that absorbs infrared light. It rides on 18-inch alloy wheels, with 20- and 22-inch alternatives offered. The i-Pace stands at 184.3 inches long, 74.6 inches wide, and 61.3 inches tall.
On the other hand, if you prefer understated luxury you might find the e-Tron’s exterior more appealing. It fits right in with the automaker’s other crossovers, with Audi’s large front grille, a largely horizontal roofline, and a rather clean and uncluttered overall appearance. It features 20-inch alloy wheels, with 21-inch rims optional. Also available are 19-inch wheels with low-rolling resistance tires. The Audi is somewhat larger than the Jaguar, overall, at 193.0 inches long, 86.3 inches wide, and 65.5 inches tall.
As is the case with all electric cars, both the Jaguar i-Pace and Audi e-Tron put all of the power their electric motors have to offer to the pavement instantly and continuously. The Jaguar’s dual electric motors generate a robust 394 horsepower with 512 pound-feet of torque. The i-Pace can make the sprint from 0-60 in a rapid 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 124 mph. While most electric cars are eerily silent, Jaguar pipes faux operating sounds – like a subtle whoosh – into the cabin for added aural impact.
The i-Pace is estimated to achieve an average operating range of 234 miles on a charge. You do pay a penalty for all that under-hood power, however, as the i-Pace gets a low MPGe rating – though it still beats all gas-powered rides – at the equivalent of 80/72 mpg in city/highway driving. It’s covered under warranty for 5 years/60,000 miles, with the battery pack covered for 8 years/100,000 miles.
The Audi’s dual-motor system typically delivers 355 horsepower with 414 pound-feet of torque, but it amps up to 402 horses and 490 pound-feet with the vehicle’s Boost Mode engaged. That enables a 0-60 mph time at 5.5 seconds, which is one tick off the I-Pace’s pace. Boost Mode, however, is only enabled for up to eight seconds, and with the vehicle set in Sport mode. Top speed is likewise at 124 mph.
The e-Tron will run for 204 miles on a full charge, and is rated at 74/73-MPGe, which is the lowest among all EVs for 2019. Audi covers the e-Tron under warranty for 4 years/50,000 miles and extends it to 8 years/100,000 miles on the battery pack.
The i-Pace’s battery pack can be fully replenished in around 13 hours via a 240-volt Level 2 home charger, while a public Level 3 DC Fast Charger can bring a drained battery up to 80 percent of its capacity in 40 minutes. In the e-Tron, it’s nine hours to recharge a drained battery with Level 2, and 30 minutes to recover 80 percent of battery capacity with Level 3. Audi gives e-Tron buyers 1,000 kWh of free charging via the Electrify America network, which roughly translates into 2,000 miles of range.
Both models are sufficiently nimble, all the while losing little in terms of delivering a decently smooth ride. By all accounts the Jaguar delivers a sportier feel than does the Audi, however. Both include selectable driving modes, and the ability to dial in more or less regenerative braking as desired, with the Jaguar able to afford “one-pedal” driving.
The Jaguar i-Pace and Audi e-Tron treat their occupants to cleanly designed and nicely finished cabins with an abundance of high-quality materials, and a choice of seat treatments and trim items. Both are sufficiently roomy and comfortable, though the Audi affords a bit more head- and legroom in the front and rear, and a nominally larger cargo capacity than does the Jaguar. They each come with configurable electronic instrument panels, and offer a multitude of comfort, connectivity and convenience features. Both offer many of the latest driver assist systems for added safety.
The Jaguar’s interior is highlighted by dual touchscreens at the center of the dashboard for the infotainment and climate control systems, and assorted settings. Both feature a multitude of menus and the one at the top can be swiped from one page to another like a tablet computer. Unfortunately, The displays are drab looking, are confusing and distracting to operate, and are slow to respond.
The Audi’s infotainment system fares much better than the Jaguar’s, with its MMI operating interface being far more attractive and intuitive to operate. It likewise comes with dual displays, and they include both haptic and acoustic feedback. The system also includes a fingertip handwriting pad that makes entering navigation destinations easier.
The Bottom Line
Both the Jaguar i-Pace and the Audi e-Tron are superior, though pricey, luxury electric vehicles, and could well attract a few customers away from Tesla. Each is sufficiently roomy and offers a full range of convenience, connectivity, and safety features. The Audi is more formal looking, while the Jaguar is more wildly styled and delivers a somewhat sportier driving experience, with a one-second-quicker run to 60 mph. The Jaguar's infotainment system is more difficult and distracting to operate than the Audi’s, however.
Importantly, the i-Pace delivers a longer operating range than the e-Tron, at 234 miles versus 204 miles, and is a bit more energy efficient, though the Audi does charge more quickly. The Jaguar also costs over $5,000 less than the Audi and comes with a longer warranty, which could well seal the deal in favor of the i-Pace, provided you can live with its onerous operating system.