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Frankfurt show: Jaguar unveils C-X16 coupe concept

Purr-fect: The C-X16 is labelled a production concept, meaning the model that will eventually arrive in Jaguar showrooms is likely to closely resemble the Frankfurt show car.

Frugal Jaguar C-X16 coupe concept uses hybrid tech to match XKR-S performance

Jaguar logo7 Sep 2011

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

JAGUAR has issued a comprehensive set of images and information for its highly-anticipated C-X16 “production” sportscar concept that previews its forthcoming 'afffordable' sub-XK two-seater and will no doubt be a huge drawcard at the Frankfurt motor show next week.

The front-engined, rear-drive coupe promises supercar-like performance equalling that of Jaguar's $340,000 XKR-S flagship, while low weight and hybrid technology help it consume around half the fuel of its V8-powered big brother.

Pitched to steal some thunder from Porsche's Frankfurt debut of the new 911 and tempt buyers away from German rivals like the Porsche Cayman/Boxster, BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK, the aluminium-bodied C-X16 was widely expected to be unveiled as a convertible, but the issued photos show the car in coupe form.

At 4445mm in length with a 2622mm wheelbase, the smallest Jaguar is 69mm longer than the Cayman – which is due to be replaced in the next year or two and could grow to match the size of the Jaguar.

The Jaguar concept is also 206mm longer than the Z4 and 311mm lengthier than an SLK. In true Jaguar style, most of that extra length is in the bonnet.

Under that bonnet beats a prototype all-alloy 3.0-litre supercharged petrol V6 pumping out 280kW of peak power and 450 Newton metres of torque – an impressive specific output of 93kW per litre – supplemented by a 70kW/235Nm electric motor bolted to its eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

6 center imageThe result is a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.4 seconds and an electronically-limited 300km/h top speed – matching the XKR-S.

More impressive is that Jaguar claims the 1600kg coupe requires just 6.9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle and contributes 165 grams of CO2 to the atmosphere per kilometre travelled while complying with the tough Euro 6 emissions standard.

Environmental performance is helped by the presence of idle-stop, regenerative braking and the hybrid drivetrain.

Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark describes the concept as the company's “compelling vision for a 21st century Jaguar sports car”.

“It embodies the established Jaguar strengths of sensual design, animal-like agility and inspirational performance and combines these with attributes that set us on a course to create sustainable sports cars of the future.” Squatting on huge 21-inch alloys that nestle under muscular wheelarches, the C-X16 has short overhangs and an aggressive, purposeful stance that recalls the rip-snorting XKR-S but is at odds with the traditional elegance usually associated with the British luxury brand, although from most angles it is still unmistakeably a Jag.

Flush door handles that emerge from the bodywork to greet the driver and a seamless rear deck aid aerodynamics. The luggage compartment is accessed by swinging open the rear windscreen, although whether this unusual feature will make it into production is questionable.

Jaguar's celebrated design director Ian Callum describes the C-X16 as an evolution of Jaguar's design ethos that “defines the agenda for a future of dramatic, innovative sports cars”.

“The stance of this car is everything. It is fundamentally a driving machine and that has driven every aspect of the design,” he said. “The car possesses a sense of latent power the potential to leap instantly into action.” Inside, the crimson leather-lined two-seat cockpit looks almost entirely plausible as a production interior but moves Jaguar's bias from luxury to performance with its driver-focused layout. Two lightweight race-style buckets seats are reinforced by a central carbon-fibre spine.

Carbon-fibre is also used on the centre console fascia, fro which sprout buttress-like carbon-fibre grab handles. The high-strength, weight-saving material is also used to for a bracing bar that flows from the centre console, between the seats and is bolted to the rear suspension turrets to increase the car's structural rigidity.

Jaguar has tried to avoid turning the dashboard into a switch-fest by continuing its use of features that only appear when required, as debuted in the XF sedan, plus a touch-screen with two rows of shortcut keys.

Some controls such as the ventilation knobs – which encircle small OLED displays – incorporate several functions that are accessed through twisting or pushing.

The driver is faced by Jaguar's now-trademark digital instrument binnacle and flat-bottomed, multi-function steering wheel with paddle-shifters for the automatic transmission.

The helm also features a red 'push to pass' button that like the KERS system of F1 racers, deploys the C-X16's electric motor to provide up to ten seconds of extra thrust (70kW and 235Nm) when overtaking.

In addition to providing extra punch and reducing fuel consumption, the electric motor – which is linked to a 1.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack located behind the rear seats for optimum weight distribution – enables the C-X16 to operate as a zero-emissions vehicle at up to 80km/h on low throttle openings.

The batteries take most of their charge through an electro-hydraulic regenerative braking system mounted on the rear axle, with a dashboard display informing the driver when enough charge is available to use the 'push to pass' function.

As GoAuto has reported, the compact Jaguar sportscar is part of Jaguar Land Rover's five-year product development blitz that will also see the big cat brand release either a competitor to the BMW 3 Series or a luxury SUV.

Jaguar's Australian sales are down 32.1 per cent so far this year to 440 units. A facelift of its best-selling model, the XF executive sedan, will be launched here in October, with a new 2.2-litre diesel-powered entry variant priced from $78,900 that should see sales pick up again.

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