The Jaguar C-X16 at the Frankfurt Motor Show

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07 September 2011

“The C-X16 is our 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.”  (Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director, Jaguar Cars)

This one-plus-one concept sports car explores future performance hybrid options. Its design is cool and rugged, with sweeping roofline, a racy front wing crease, and rear haunches. By stretching the main feature lines back from the focal point formed by the grille and pushing the wheels as far into the corners as possible, the car has a taut, poised-for-action stance. The two-seater cabin is trimmed in dramatic red leather. The engine is an innovative supercharged 3.0-litre V6 producing 380PS (280kW) and 332lb ft (450Nm) of torque. A high-performance hybrid system boosts output by 70kW and 235Nm. Top speed is 186mph, 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and 50-75mph acceleration in 2.1 seconds. But wait for it: the electric-only top speed is 50mph! This hybrid was inspired by the Limo-Green research project and the C-X75 supercar concept. The eight-speed ZF gearbox has Quickshift changes; the intelligent Stop/Start system improves fuel economy.

The C-X16 takes the traditional front-engined, rear-wheel drive formula that Jaguar defined over the decades and reinvents it for the 21st century in a performance-oriented hybrid drivetrain with 50:50 weight distribution. The latest version of Jaguar’s ‘Redefining Performance’ ethos, the system is based around a prototype supercharged all-alloy V6 engine which produces 380PS (280kW) and 332lb ft (450Nm) of torque from 3.0-litres thanks to its innovative design. Supplementing this is an electric motor producing 70kW and 235Nm (equivalent to 95PS and 173lb ft), available to the driver at the push of a steering-wheel boost button. Allied to an eight-speed gearbox and mounted in a lightweight aluminium chassis, this allows the
C-X16 to sprint to 62mph in 4.4 seconds and reach 186mph while returning 41mpg (UK gallon) and emitting 165g/km of CO2.

The cabin is trimmed in the finest leather and Suedecloth. As expected of a Jaguar, premium materials are used throughout, with the main touch surfaces composed of a combination of anodised aluminium, rich piano blacks, dark chrome and carbon-fibre that underline the car’s performance potential. The manually-adjustable bucket seats are made of lightweight composite materials with a central carbon-fibre spine for rigidity and support.

The C-X16 takes inspiration for elements of its layout from aeronautical ergonomics, such as the joystick-style gearlever and banks of toggle switches that also reference classic racing Jaguars. As a result of this thinking the dashboard has been shrink-wrapped around the driver to provide the best view forward, allowing the car to be placed with absolute precision in corners, aided by the sharp creases on top of the front wings.

The desire to keep the top of the dashboard as unadorned as possible led to the creation of an Intelligent Venting System. Governed by complex algorithms built in to the advanced climate control, this double vent – inspired by the intakes on the Typhoon fighter jet – deploys out of the dash to provide an intense blast of hot or cold air as needed to rapidly alter the cabin temperature and then discreetly retracts when the desired level is reached.

In the same way that the exterior door handles are concealed until activated, a desire for ergonomic clarity means aspects of the interior remain ‘secret until required’. Pushing the starter button initiates an aircraft-inspired starting sequence that powers up the hidden-until-lit displays in a cascade down the centre console. What looks at first sight like a TFT screen in front of the driver is revealed to be an elegant twin-dial instrument panel, a hallmark of Jaguar sports cars, hidden behind smoked glass.