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New cat slinks in: C-X16 ‘production concept’ heralds an all-new compact coupe from Jaguar.

Jag teases sleek new compact coupe concept which aims to spoil Porsche 911 party

17 Aug 2011

JAGUAR has released a teaser sketch of the C-X16 “production concept” that will preview an all-new compact coupe from the historic British luxury marque when it makes its global debut at the Frankfurt motor show on September 13.

Apart from officially confirming recent speculation that it will unveil the first evidence of its new ‘XE’ sportscar at Frankfurt, Jaguar says it will reveal full details of the C-X16 concept on September 7 – a week before it attempts to upstage the world premiere of Porsche’s next-generation 911 coupe with its sleek new concept.

The single artist’s rendering from Jaguar Design not only confirms long-running rumours of an all-new affordable Jaguar sportscar, but shows the C-X16 will appear first not as a roadster, as widely reported, but a coupe.

“Designed by the same team that produced the Jaguar XJ, XF and XK – headed by Jaguar director of design Ian Callum – the C-X16 concept is a precursor to future Jaguar sports cars that will aim to set new class benchmarks in design, vehicle dynamics and technology,” said Jaguar.

While Jaguar has been careful not to reveal where the production C-X16 two-seater will be positioned within its range, its compact proportions support claims the newcomer will slot underneath the XK coupe as a direct rival for Porsche’s entry-level coupe, the Cayman.

Of course, that would make a potential roadster version of the all-new small sportscar a competitor for Porsche’s mid-engined Boxster convertible, which along with the Cayman is also due for replacement within the next year or so.

In fact, European reports say the C-X16 is based on a shortened version of the all-aluminium platform that will underpin Jaguar’s next XK due around 2014, and will be the same width as the current XK but almost 300mm shorter.

“'Jaguar has set in place bold, ambitious plans for the future,” said Jaguar Cars global brand director Adrian Hallmark.

“This production concept demonstrates the depth of design and engineering ability we have within Jaguar to make these plans come to life – I look forward to sharing this latest, exciting step at the Frankfurt motor show.”

While Jaguar continues to develop a belated replacement for its discontinued X-Type compact sedan, the production C-X16 is expected to go on sale globally by the end of next year, bookending a sportscar range that will be topped by the million-dollar C-X75 plug-in hybrid super-coupe that stunned Paris motor show crowds last September.

However, according to Autocar, the C-X75’s captivating new design language will contribute to at least the C-X16’s front-end design, which is expected to feature the same upright headlight graphic, four-sided grille and vertical air-intake design as the sleek C-X75.

“Great Jaguars have always been beautiful, innovative and have looked firmly to the future,” said Mr Callum. “The finished C-X16 concept has the potential to do these things while retaining the ability to surprise, to excite and invigorate.”

It is not clear what nameplate the production version of the C-X16 will wear, but there is no doubt Jaguar will position its new addition as a spiritual successor to one of its most famous models ever – the E-Type, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and was discontinued 36 years ago – making the ‘XE’ moniker a possibility.

Autocar says the production C-X16 will be launched with a new-generation V6 petrol engine to become available in both naturally aspirated and supercharged forms, the latter giving it’s a unique point of difference while continuing the tradition of Jaguar’s supercharged V8s.

V8 petrol and even V6 diesel versions could follow, but unlike Porsche’s mid-engined Boxster and Cayman twins the C-X16 is not expected to be offered with a four-cylinder engine.

Despite that, the production C-X16 is still expected to significantly undercut both the circa-$225,000 XK Coupe and circa-$94,000 XF sedan as Jaguar’s least expensive model – at least until the X-Type replacement emerges.

Priced from under $80,000, the production version should also represent Jaguar’s first direct rival for BMW’s Z4, Audi’s TT and the Mercedes-Benz SLK.

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