Watch Jaguar's I-PACE beat Tesla's Model X head-to-head

Somewhere along the line, the benchmark for making electric cars exciting was making them win in drag-races, so Jaguar has wasted no time in pitting the 2019 I-PACE against Tesla's Model X in an SUV shoot-out. Freshly announced today, the I-PACE arrives in the US in the second half of the year, with a 90 kWh battery promising around 240 miles of range from a full charge.

It's straight line speed that Jaguar is focusing on with its Tesla head-to-head, however. At launch, there'll be a single drivetrain option for the I-PACE, with all-wheel drive as standard. 394 horsepower is nothing to be sniffed at, but it's the hefty 512 lb-ft. of torque – delivered instantaneously, as per all EVs – that's probably going to be most noticeable.

The Model X, meanwhile, is offered in three configurations. The 75D is the cheapest, with a quoted 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds. In the middle is the 100P, with a quoted 4.7s 0-60 time, and then finally the P100D does 0-60 in just 2.9 seconds.

US pricing for the I-PACE hasn't been confirmed yet, but UK pricing has. There, the I-PACE starts from £63,495 for the base trim before any incentives: there are more expensive models, but they don't change the performance. In contrast, the Tesla Model X 75D is £70,500 in the UK, the 100D is £87,200, and and P100D comes in at £128,250.

Understandably, then, Jaguar started out comparing the I-PACE with the Model X 75D. The test was straightforward: a standing start, then accelerate to 60 mph, and then brake to a standstill. As you might have guessed, the Jaguar gets to 60 mph before the Tesla does – by approximately a car's length – and then brakes to a halt sooner, too.

Switching the 75D out for a Model X 100D, meanwhile, changes things a little, but still not in Tesla's favor. The more powerful SUV narrows the distance between it and the I-PACE to reach 60 mph – only a half car-length this time – but still lags behind it by roughly the same amount in the braking test. Pointing out that a P100D would almost get you two I-PACE for the same amount, Jaguar opted not to test that particular model (plus there's certainly no way the Tesla would've been beaten).

Of course, there are other reasons – beyond just straight line speed – that you might want to go for the Tesla. The biggest is probably going to be the number of seats: Jaguar is only offering the I-PACE as a five-seater, whereas you can get the Model X in five, six, or seven seat configurations. Don't forget, it's physically a larger car; the I-PACE's "true" Tesla rival will probably be the Model Y crossover, though that's not expected for a few years yet. Range is another important consideration: the 75D is quoted at getting 237 miles on the EPA cycle, similar to the roughly 240 miles Jaguar is claiming for the I-PACE, but the Model X 100D will do 295 miles with its bigger, 100 kWh battery.

Is any of this going to change purchase decisions? Probably not: like we say, there are plenty of good reasons to pick either the Jaguar or the Tesla, and even if you want raw performance from your electric SUV, this straight line testing doesn't even begin to consider how either EV holds up in the corners (though we suspect the lighter, smaller Jaguar might have an edge there). Still, as Tesla has demonstrated over the past few years, there's plenty of press mileage to be had in demonstrating that electrified powertrains aren't just for tree-huggers, and it can't exactly be surprised that Jaguar is following suit.