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Cat-attack: Slick new C-X75 will morph from concept to reality within two years.

Jaguar’s scorching million-dollar C-X75 hybrid supercar draws at least two Aussies

Jaguar logo11 Oct 2011

JAGUAR’S smoking new C-X75 hybrid super-coupe has seduced at least two cashed-up Australian fans, despite its million-dollar pricetag and an agonising two-year wait.

First revealed a year ago at the 2010 Paris motor show, the slinky jet-powered super-Jaguar has been confirmed for a limited global production run of just 250 examples from 2013.

Now GoAuto has learned that two well-heeled local Jaguar enthusiasts have put up their hands to purchase the sleek hybrid supercar, indicative pricing for which was announced in May at £700,000 and £900,000 ($A1.1-1.4 million) “depending on market and local taxes”.

“Yes, we already have two people interested – two potential clients are part of the purchase process,” Jaguar Australia brand manager Kevin Goult confirmed to GoAuto at this week’s launch of the facelifted XF sedan.

Mr Goult said final pricing and the next stage of the C-X75 purchase process were yet to be announced, but confirmed there had been strong interest from potential customers in Australia, the UK and Dubai.

Jaguar is already taking expressions of interest via its UK public website and dedicated phone numbers for British, Chinese and global customers, and will begin taking firm deposits later this year.

Jaguar’s first million-dollar model – and first hybrid – has been confirmed for right-hand-drive production and will be certified for Australian Design Rules, meaning that – unlike its most direct rival in Porsche’s million-dollar 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar – it will be street-legal here.

6 center imagePorsche will begin producing 918 examples of the 918, which will cost $A1.29 million including Australian taxes, from September 2013.

Of course, Australia’s five per cent import tariff and 33 per cent luxury car tax could push the exclusive new British supercar’s local price to more than two million dollars, but if there is no change to the current tax regime within two years then Aussie C-X75 buyers will at least be exempt from paying LCT for the first $70,000.

That is when LCT currently kicks in for vehicles that consume less than 7.0L/100km, and with a CO2 emissions target of 99g/km (which equates to about 3.9L/100km), the C-X75 will be among most efficient new cars available in Australia.

It will also be far cheaper than another stratospherically priced new limited-edition British supercar, Aston Martin’s circa-$A4 million One-77, first deliveries of which are now taking place in Europe from a global production run of just 77.

Fellow British car-maker McLaren’s all-new MP4-12C supercar is about to be released in Australia at a price of about $500,000 – midway between Mercedes-AMG’s new SLS super-coupe ($468,820) and established segment leaders like the Ferrari 458 ($526,950).

As we’ve reported, the Paris concept car ran a gas turbine that generated energy for its in-wheel motors, but most production versions will employ a “state-of-the-art small-capacity highly boosted internal combustion engine” – likely to be a high-revving 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that develops up to 400kW and will be sourced from, or at least heavily developed by, Williams.

In line with next year’s new Formula One rules, the F1 team is switching to four-cylinder engines and team boss Frank Williams attended the production announcement of the C-X75 – a name that may not be seen in showrooms.

While European reports suggest the final 50 of the 250 C-X75s to be built will be gas turbine-powered – and Jaguar has said that at least 50 will be racing versions – all versions of the UK’s super-hybrid will offer some kind of on-demand energy boost system, like the F1-style Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) with which drivers can call on extra electric energy.

Instead of the 145kW electric motor at each wheel of the concept, however, the production C-X75 will incorporate a powerful electric motor for each axle, for which energy will be stored in lithium-ion batteries, but it is unclear whether the hybrid system will recover energy from the petrol engine’s deceleration or whether Jaguar will use a flywheel hybrid system like that seen on Porsche’s 911 GT3 Hybrid racer.

Either way, the C-X75, which was designed by Ian Callum primarily to celebrate the brand’s 75th anniversary but became possible only under the ownership of India’s Tata Motors, is shaping as an iconic car for Jaguar and the company is confident it will be faster than the road-going XJ220 racecar.

Jaguar built just 281 left-hand-drive examples of the mid-engined 404kW twin-turbo V6-powered XJ220 for about $600,000 apiece between 1992 and 1994, when the McLaren F1 eclipsed its 350km/h top speed to become the world’s fastest production car.

Along with being able to run in all-electric mode for more than 50km/h, the carbon-fibre-chassis C-X75 will be even more rapid than Jaguar originally advised, making it one of the world’s quickest production cars.

When it debuted in Paris last year, Jaguar said the all-wheel-drive C-X75 concept weighed just 1350kg and delivered total electric power output of 580kW and no less than 1600Nm of instantaneous torque, corresponding to a staggering power-to-weight ratio of 431kW per tonne.

The company claimed the jet-powered version can accelerate to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds, hit 160km/h in 5.5, the quarter-mile (400m) in 10.3 (at 251km/h) and 300km/h in 15.7 seconds, while top speed was quoted at 330km/h – all with CO2 emissions of just 28g/km.

Early performance numbers for the initial C-X75 road car now include 0-60mph acceleration of less than three seconds, 0-100mph acceleration of less than six seconds and a top speed of more than 200mph (322km/h), with CO2 emissions of less than 99g/km, making the production version quicker but less efficient than Porsche’s heavier (1490kg) 918.

The C-X75 will be just one of 40 additional, new or facelifted models Jaguar has promised to release globally over the next five years, following its commitment to spend £1.5 billion ($A2.35b) every year between 2011 and 2015.

The first two arrive Down Under this month, in the form of the facelifted 12MY XF sedan range – headlined by the new sub-$80,000 XF 2.2D – and the facelifted 12MY XK sportscar range – headlined by the new XKR-S – which also arrives in showrooms in October, accompanied by price cuts of between $4415 and $15,915.

Before the C-X75 arrives, Jaguar is also expected to produce an XF wagon, an overdue successor for its discontinued BMW 3 Series rival – the mid-size X-Type – a new compact coupe to challenge Porsche’s Cayman – as previewed by the front-engined rear-drive C-X16 two-seater at Frankfurt last month – and a roadster version to compete with the Boxster, while the first Jaguar SUV is also under serious study.

The new XJ limousine is by far Jaguar Australia’s most successful model this year, and will undergo price increases of either $2600 or $8300 depending on the model this month.

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