Jaguar stuns Paris show with modern day XJ220 supercar; now more pics

Jaguar has made waves on the eve of the Paris motor show with a surprise ultra-low emissions supercar that could catapult it back into the rarefied market it left in 1994, when the 217mph XJ220 ended production.

The C-X75 pictured here has been unveiled to the world’s media at the Paris show’s press day today. Jaguar officially describes it as “a commemoration of 75 years of Jaguar heritage, and a glimpse at the design cues and technology that will characterise our cars in the future.”

But internally, as Autocar can reveal, Jaguar considers the car almost wholly realistic for production and it has ambitions to bring it to the road, relaunching Jaguar as a powerful, forward-looking force in the supercar world.

“With the current XK, XF and XJ, we’ve refreshed and enhanced the public’s perception of the Jaguar brand,” explained deputy design director Julian Thomson. “The time’s right for us to push on again. To make people aware that we can make an even more exotic and special kind of car — a true supercar that’s sustainable and future-proof, and that also combines performance, luxury and beauty in a way that only a Jaguar can.”

What makes the C-X75 particularly remarkable is its experimental powertrain. Powering this 4.6m-long, 205mph, two-seat berlinetta are four 195bhp electric motors, one at each wheel. They give a combined 780bhp and 1180lb ft of torque, and provide for zero-emissions running, dynamics-enhancing torque vectoring, and pace that even an XJ220 couldn’t match: 0-62mph in 3.4sec, 0-100mph in 5.5sec and 0-186mph in a Veyron-beating 15.7sec.

“The electric powertrain gave us total freedom to give the C-X75 absolutely perfect stance and proportion,” said Thomson. “In conventional supercars, you’re hampered by accommodating a large piston engine, but using four relatively small electric motors instead meant we could keep the car low to the ground and put the driver precisely in the middle of the wheelbase, right where you’d ideally like to be.”

Jaguar design chief Ian Callum is already on record with his view that this car is the most beautiful Jaguar that the company has ever produced — prettier, even, than the 1966 XJ13 prototype racer.

He said: “The C-X75 is as close to a pure art form as a concept car can get.” Its grille and headlights, and pure fuselage-like body surfaces, are also a clue towards the looks of Jaguar’s next XK, and its often-rumoured smaller sports car.

The C-X75 is no strict EV but a range-extended plug-in hybrid of an unprecedented sort. It has an electric-only range of 68 miles, but backing this up is a pair of miniature gas turbines mounted behind the cabin that could be run on diesel, biofuel, compressed natural gas or LPG.

The turbines produce 188bhp (140kw) of electrical power spinning at 80,000rpm. This can be used either to supplement the output of the car’s lithium-ion batteries or to recharge them on the run and extend the car’s cruising range to a theoretical 560-mile maximum.

The turbines, made by UK specialist Bladon Jets, are still experimental and have never been integrated into a working production car. Capable of swallowing more than 1000 litres of air per second between them, and running very high exhaust temperatures, their suitability for this kind of application remains to be proven. However, their size and efficiency made them particularly attractive to Thomson’s team.

“The turbines are a designer’s dream,” he told us. “They’re compact, efficient and much lower maintenance than a piston engine. They also give us the opportunity to give the C-X75 active aerodynamics.” In Jaguar’s vision for the car, the turbines’ hot exhaust gas could, at the flick of a switch, be channelled under the C-X75 and past its large underbody venturi, increasing downforce on demand.

“The turbines are also magnificent to look at,” Thomson said. “They’ve provided an aeronautical inspiration for the styling of the C-X75, which is a perfect match for Jaguar.”

The experimental supercar has 21in and 22in alloy wheels and air vents designed to mimic its turbines’ look. It also has a jet-fighter-like roof-mounted control panel, an aircraft throttle-style gear selector, and interior door handles situated between the occupants’ legs, designed like ejection handles.

Underpinning the C-X75 is a bonded aluminium chassis similar to the one used in Jaguar’s current production range and it contributes to a low overall kerb weight of 1350kg.

Cabin highlights include gimbal-style LCD instruments, fixed seats, an adjustable pedal box, steering column and instrument panel, and Bowers & Wilkins hi-fi nano speakers hidden behind perforated wave-formed door panels.

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Comments
65

29 September 2010

Attractive for a milk float, but I still can't see the relevance of electric cars. All it does is move the pollution from the car to the power station. Nice styling, probably about as useful as the proverbial chocolate tea pot. At least their trying something new, but am I alone in preferring Jags of the sixties?

29 September 2010

I can't see the turbines making production, however pretty they look. That said, if the majority of the car is kept as it is, ie: the range extenter engine set-up, but with a conventional engine in place of the turbines it would rival the Porsche 918 and open up a whole new supercar sector.

29 September 2010

Well Jaguar should be applauded for showcasing new technology that has a feasable future. As for the looks, Jaguar needs to make this car, not for a profit (sell it a loss if need be) but for a reputation that appeals to everyone.

29 September 2010

This is absolutely stunning - love the visible turbines, what a lovely touch. I think this is the first properly cool electric car. Hope Jaguar will make it. There is no reason not to really - the technology is pretty much already there, demand is there (enough people out there with plenty of cash trying to show they're saving the planet whilst looking good and going fast). The range extender turbines also provide much needed real world usability, which the tesla for instance can't.

29 September 2010

[quote Mr£4worth]At least their trying something new, but am I alone in preferring Jags of the sixties?[/quote]

Considering the hammering the S and X-Types got, I'd say probably yes. I love Jags from the 60's too but I wouldn't 'prefer' one over a gorgeous new XJ. We live in the 21st century and Jaguar has to be relevant to this time.

This car is an absolute cracker. As someone else already said, the turbines won't make production (just yet at least) but with a decent ICE up front and the wheel-based electric motors this could be a new generation of supercar.

Love the styling, love the new grille shape.

29 September 2010

What a stunning car! Makes the current crop of supercars look flabby and dull. Who do I have to kill to get one?

29 September 2010

Arghhh! My eyes, my eyes! Ye gads that's ugly at the front. It looks shocked to be alive! How charitable of Jaguar to let a blind person design their car. Abysmal.

29 September 2010

A left-hand drive concept car from JLR! What a major surprise? Seriously, is there ANY other manufacturer ANYWHERE in the world that produces a concept car with the steering wheel on the opposite side to the country it is from? It's a fantastic-looking car, but I can't take JLR seriously.

29 September 2010

[quote Lesia44]Arghhh! My eyes, my eyes! Ye gads that's ugly at the front. It looks shocked to be alive! How charitable of Jaguar to let a blind person design their car. Abysmal.[/quote]

Shoulda gone to Specsavers - its stunning!!!!!!!!!!!

29 September 2010

Without the the Jag badge you'll be struggling to recognize this car. I don't think it's ugly, I think it's very well sculpted. It's a shame that apparently the oval grill just can't be integrated into any the new Jaguars thanks to stringent global safety regulations.

It just doesn't say Jaguar to me at the moment... But I'm sure in a few years we'll have forgotten what the original grill looked like.

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