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Frankfurt show: Jaguar SUV marks start of new family

Light fantastic: The Jaguar X-C17 concept uses an all-aluminium monocoque platform, which is expected to appear in future production models.

Jaguar SUV concept heralds all-new compact models, starting with 2015 sedan


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10 Sep 2013

JAGUAR has unveiled its C-X17 SUV concept at the Frankfurt motor show this week, marking the start of an ambitious new-model program based on an all-new aluminium platform that will be first employed on a volume-selling small-medium sedan due to reach showrooms in 2015.

The new vehicle architecture will hand the hallowed British brand a long-awaited new sub-XF rival for the likes of the dominant Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, and is billed as the first aluminium monocoque vehicle in the mid-size premium C/D segment.

Jaguar is confident it will be “the most advanced, efficient and refined sports sedan in its class”.

The SUV concept also previews a forthcoming “sports crossover”, as Jaguar describes it, which will use the same ‘intelligent aluminium architecture’ – or iQ[Al] – and will be a radical move for the hallowed British luxury car brand, which has succumbed to global trends and sales volume aspirations with the move into off-road motoring.

Stand by for coupe and station wagon models built off the same strong, stiff but lightweight platform, as well as high-performance R models across each body style.

Indeed, Jaguar says the architecture enables its designers and engineers to approach their work with the attitude “anything we can imagine, we can create”, delivering a new portfolio of products that are less restricted by technical or manufacturing restraints.

The C-X17 rests on a 2905mm wheelbase – just 4mm shy of the XF – and measures 4718mm in overall length, 1959mm in width and 1649mm in height. Ground clearance is a useful 213mm, while the footprint places it in among key rivals such as the current BMW X5, albeit with a slightly lower and longer – read sportier – stance.

Indeed, Jaguar is going to great lengths to highlight the vehicle’s potential as a road-biased sports crossover rather than a mud-plugging bush-basher that travels the same path as its sister brand Land Rover, which is also set to benefit from the new platform, powertrains and technology in the works.

Power for the forthcoming sports sedan and crossover will come from a new family of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines to be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s new Wolverhampton engine plant in the UK, offering claimed “class-leading performance” including top speeds of more than 300km/h and CO2 emissions lower than 100g of CO2 per kilometre.

The circa-280kW 3.0-litre V6 in service in the F-Type will also be employed in the new wave of compact models, with Jaguar confident of “best-in-class specific power output” thanks to the lightweight architecture.

A high level of in-cabin technology is also showcased in the four-seater C-X17, including a multi-screen ‘interactive surface console’ that links occupants with the outside world through social media channels. The console also has provision for a head-up display.

Jaguar’s global brand director Adrian Hallmark described the SUV as representing “an exciting new direction for Jaguar”.

“Its purpose is to highlight our all-new aluminium architecture. With this technical foundation, we will dramatically expand Jaguar's product offering, market potential and customer appeal,” he said.

“This new philosophy will bring technology from our luxury products into an accessible price segment, and when combined with our new ultra-efficient engines, we will set a global standard.

“Add to these rational values, the class-leading dynamics, and the beauty and purity of form that Jaguar is renowned for, and we have the formula for a monumental leap forward.”

Jaguar says its all-wheel-drive SUV will offer “refined on-road dynamics and sedan car-like handling” with factors such as its low height, optimised centre of gravity and dynamics technology such as torque vectoring.

Design-wise, the grille has an evolution of the XJ sedan’s distinctive nose, while the “sculptured haunch lines” are reminiscent of the F-Type sportscar.

The low stance and other elements such as show-special 23-inch alloy wheels, twin ‘power bulges’ on the long bonnet and large front intakes aim to give the C-X17 a “sporting, aggressive presence”.

Jaguar design director Ian Callum said: “We designed the C-X17 from the ground up from a distinct set of principles, a deep sense of what makes a Jaguar: exciting proportions, clean lines, balance of form.

“Assertive and powerful, yet with a beautiful sensuality about it, the C-X17 is boldly, distinctively Jaguar.”

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