Jaguar C-X16 Sports Car Production Concept Review
The realm of concept cars has changed dramatically in recent years. Concept cars used to be purely experimental. Today, many concept cars are teasers, representative of a model that is soon to be introduced but has not yet been officially announced.
The Jaguar C-X16 is one such vehicle. It’s Jaguar’s vision for the twenty-first century sports car and it will become available at your local Jaguar dealer some time next year.
At the launch party at the Frankfurt IAA (Frankfurt Internationle Automobil-Ausstellung), where it was hardly a secret that this was going to be a production vehicle (even a price range was announced), the room was nonetheless silent when the C-X16 made its rather impressive appearance being driven onto the stage.
Jaguar calls the C-X16 a “one plus one” sports car. It’s a two seater but it’s clearly a driver’s car and the passenger is, well, optional. From a design perspective, Jaguar says it has “seductive looks” but that’s probably because they don’t want to say it’s “pure sex” in print. The C-X16 was not only the belle of the Frankfurt IAA ball but, when it goes into production (presuming it does), it will be one of the most distinctive and beautiful cars on the market.
The C-X16 is a hybrid but a rather unusual one. The high-performance hybrid system is activated via a red button on the steering wheel, adding 70 kW (95 hp) and 235 Nm (173 pound-feet) of torque for up to ten seconds on demand. Passing? Going from 80-120 km/h (50-75 mph) takes 2.1 seconds. The car goes from 0-100 km (0-62 mph) in 4.4 seconds.
The car’s 3.0-liter V-6 engine produces 280 kW (380 hp) and 450 Nm (332 pound-feet) of torque and is mated to an eight-speed transmission.
This is why the design of the car’s rear, which was in part borrowed from the C-X75 concept car (more on that later), is so important. As the C-X16 driver blows the doors off everything it passes, that’s probably all other drivers will ever see.
The Jaguar C-X16 is one of the few cars that gives the appearance of motion even when standing still. You may not notice it at first (simply too bedazzled by its beauty?), but the lines of the car are not only clean but the surface itself is very very smooth. There are no wings or spoilers visible.
Upon closer inspection, you may notice something else is missing: namely, that there are no door handles visible. They are completely flush with the car’s surface. A touch-sensitive sensor built into the handle triggers a silent electric motor that raises the handle for entry. And if you look carefully, you will find a front splitter, which provides down force, and that is complemented by the side sills and rear design which use the Venturi effect to channel air smoothly across the sides.
During the launch event I had occasion to chat privately with Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design director and proud father of the C-X16. He sees the hybrid sports car as “the very essence” of Jaguar’s future.
AN UNUSUAL HYBRID
The word “hybrid” has far more associations with cars such as the Toyota Prius than with automobiles capable of going 186 mph, which sounds even more impressive as 300 km/h. A few automakers, notably BMW, have used hybrid options to boost performance to some extent as well, but the C-X16 brings an entirely new meaning to what one envisions when one thinks “hybrid.”
To review, the C-X16 starts with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 producing 280 kW (375 hp ) and 450 Nm (332 pound-feet ) of torque which is quite respectable on its own. Jaguar then adds the “experimental” high-performance hybrid system that boosts output by 70 kW (94 hp ) and 235 Nm (173 lb-ft ).
The battery pack, charged through braking regeneration, is mounted under the front seats. The C-X16 can run on the petrol motor alone, the electric motor, or both. On electric power alone, the top speed is 80 km/h (50 mph ).
Presuming it goes into production, the C-X16, which has engine shut-off at idle,will be the greenest sports car on the market.. It meets Euro 6 emissions standards (which come into effect in 2014) and the CO2 rating is 165 g/km.
Jaguar says that the powertrain was inspired by the automaker’s Limo Green XJ prototype whose rear wheels are driven by a 145 kW electric motor fed from a lithium-ion battery pack (under the floor of the trunk).and by the 778-hp C-X75 plug-in hybrid supercar concept that debuted at the 2010 Paris Show. The Limo Green’s motor is recharged by a small petrol motor that serves as a generator, not a direct power plant. The C-X75 had four electric motors, each driving one of its wheels, and the batteries driving these motors got their power from two diesel-fed micro gas turbines.
One look at the C-X16 and one sees a lot of the C-X75 including the front grille and the wrap-around tail lights. I see the influence of the 1961 E-Type although it is hard to pinpoint exactly where. I just got a feeling of it when standing next to the C-X16.
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