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Stunning Jaguar concept to become reality – for some

Pricey pussycat: Jaguar plans to reinvent itself by taking the slick C-X75 from show to go.

Jaguar C-X75 supercar concept to morph into million-dollar hybrid road car

7 May 2011

JAGUAR’S Paris show-stopping C-X75 hybrid supercar concept will go into production in 2013, but it won’t be for everyone.

The stunning jet-powered coupe was the undoubted star of last September’s French motor show and now Jaguar has announced it will enter a limited production run of just 250 examples.

The sleek super-coupe will be even more rapid than previously advised, with a claimed 0-60mph (97km/h) acceleration time of less than three seconds making it one of the world’s quickest production cars.

Jaguar’s CO2 emissions target of less than 99g/km would also make the C-X75, which will be able to run in all-electric mode for more than 50km/h, one of the world’s most efficient.

To fund the landmark project, which will see the Indian-owned British luxury brand create a direct rival for Porsche’s equally ground-breaking 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid, Jaguar has announced a price of between £700,000 and £900,000 ($A1.07m-$A1.38m), “depending on market and local taxes”.

At the same time, it threw open its order book by inviting expressions of interest via its public web site and dedicated phone numbers for British, Chinese and global customers.

The production C-X75 – a name that may not continue into production – will therefore be about as pricey as the Porsche, of which 918 examples will be made globally from September 2013, each priced at $A1.29 million including Australian taxes.

Jaguar’s first million-dollar model – and its first hybrid - will therefore be more far affordable 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.

But the C-X75 marks a quantum leap over Jaguar’s last supercar, the mid-engined 404kW twin-turbo V6-powered XJ220, just 281 of which were built 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.

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 – mid-way between Mercedes-AMG’s new SLS super-coupe ($468,820) and established segment leaders like the Ferrari 458 ($526,950).

Like the XJ220 and 918 two-seaters, however, the C-X75 will only be produced in left-hand drive form, meaning any potential Australian buyers will not be able to drive them on public roads, making the super-Jag an ultra-indulgent track day special.

And when the production version joins Bugatti’s Veyron in the million-dollar supercar club in a little over two years, the C-X75 will not be powered by the unique jet turbine technology that wowed the industry in Paris.

6 center imageJaguar says it and newly announced technology partner Williams F1 will continue development of the concept’s micro-turbine system for future models, with its parent company Tata Motors taking a significant stake in Bladon Jets to develop the advanced technology “as a medium-term aspiration that will play a part in Jaguars of the future”.

Autocar reports that the final 50 of the 250 C-X75s to be built will be gas turbine-powered, while Jaguar has said that at least 50 will be racing versions.

In order to “bring Project C-X75 to showroom reality within the time scales of a conventional model programme”, however, the production model will also discard the 145kW electric motors positioned at each of the concept car’s wheels.

Instead, Jaguar has announced the production C-X75 will be motivated by a pair of “powerful” electric motors - one for each axle – combined with a “state-of-the-art small-capacity highly boosted internal combustion engine”.

While the latter, which could produce up to 400kW, might be related to the 1.6-litre four-cylinder race engine to be employed by Williams and other F1 teams from 2013, it is unclear whether the all-wheel drive C-X75 showroom car will match the performance outputs of the 1350kg concept.

The C-X75 show car 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 it 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.

Built primarily to celebrate Jaguar’s 75th anniversary, the range-extending C-X75 plug-in hybrid concept also featured two small, lightweight (35kg) diegas turbines, which each produced 70kW at a constant 80,000rpm and increased the car’s driving range from 110km on battery power alone to 900km.

Developed in partnership with Bladon Jets, the gas turbine engine’s miniaturised turbine blade is said to increase the compression and efficiency of micro-turbines “to the point at which they can be viewed as a realistic power source”.

Claimed to be the first axial-flow micro-turbine and be able to run on a range of fuels including biofuel, diesel, CNG and LPG, it charged a 19.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which can also be recharged in six hours via a domestic power source.

Either way, Jaguar has claimed some scintillating early performance numbers for the initial C-X75 road car, including 0-60mph in less than three seconds, 0-100mph in less than six seconds and a top speed of more than 200mph (322km/h), with CO2 emissions of less than 99g/km.

That makes it quicker than Porsche’s 1490kg 918 Spyder (0-100km/h in 3.2 seconds), which delivers a total output of 528kW via a 368kW 3.4-litre petrol V8 and three electric motors, including two for the front axle.

The 918 is more efficient, however, with claimed fuel consumption of just 3.0L/100km and CO2 emissions of only 70g/km. It too features a (water-cooled) Li-Ion battery bank, which Porsche says offers a shorter 25km-plus driving range and can be fully charged in just three hours.

Key to the C-X75’s environmental friendliness will be the same carbon-fibre chassis that underpinned the concept and “direct technology transfer from top-level motorsport” via Jaguar’s inaugural association with Williams.

It should result in a super-aerodynamic hybrid that employs Williams F1’s composite materials knowledge to weigh less than 1400kg, including a 230kg lithium-ion battery pack in the spine of the carbon tub.

Production of the C-X75 was announced yesterday in London by Tata chief Carl-Peter Forster, with Sir Frank Williams in attendance.

“Never before has the company launched such an ambitious, world-beating vehicle program,” Mr Forster.

“This is the Jaguar of the future. The opportunity for innovation like this in the UK is part of the reason Tata Motors invested in Jaguar, and it’s fantastic that products like the C-X75 can become reality.” The C-X75 will be designed, engineered and built in Britain, allegedly creating more than 100 highly skilled UK jobs.

“Our new association with Jaguar Land Rover provides us with an exciting opportunity to work with one of the motoring world’s most famous and iconic brands,” said Williams F1 chairman Sir Frank Williams.

“Williams has always considered itself an engineering company and so this project will allow us to combine our technical expertise to create something truly exceptional.” Jaguar says its hybrid supercar will “stay true to the initial concept design study… while fulfilling requirements that allow it to be homologated for road use”.

Shorter and lower than the current crop of supercars, the C-X75 show car has a 0.32Cd drag coefficient and measures 4647mm long, 2020mm wide and 1204mm. It rides on a 2725mm wheelbase and turbine-themed polished alloy wheels measuring 21-inch at the front and 22-inch at the rear.

“We were always determined that the Jaguar C-X75 would be as striking on the road as it was in concept form,” said Jaguar design director Ian Callum, whose team drew styling inspiration from Jaguar’s C-Type and D-Type racers of the 1950s and the 1966 XJ13 Le Mans prototype – a car he regards as “arguably the most beautiful Jaguar ever made”.

“This will be the finest looking and most innovative Jaguar ever produced. Even in the world of supercars, we can still produce the most beautiful.” Exterior design elements including the grille and headlights are believed to preview the next-generation XK and a smaller sportscar also rumoured to be in development.

“The C-X75 received an incredible reception as a concept car,” said Jaguar brand director Adrian Hallmark.

“We’ve been building on that momentum and there is a clear business case for the exclusive halo model. No other vehicle will better signify Jaguar’s renewed confidence and excellence in technological innovation than this.”

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