The new Jaguar C-X17 4x4 concept was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show and has more recently taken centre stage at the 2014 Brussels Motor Show. Jaguar has also treated us to more images of the C-X17 in a new colour - Italian Racing Red.
We expect a 2016 release date for the production version of the new Jaguar C-X17 and a price starting around £30,000.
The Jaguar C-X17 4x4 is a rival to the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, with bold looks and powerful engines. Sister company Land Rover has, of course, a longer heritage and greater brand awareness as a maker of 4x4 cars than Jaguar, so where will the new C-X17 fit in the JLR range?
New Range Rover: Aimed at buyers wanting the ultimate rugged luxury car, whatever the price.
Range Rover dimensions: Length: 4,999mm, width 2,073mm, height 1,835mm.
Range Rover Sport: Aimed at those who demand luxury, off-road ability and a sportier drive.
Range Rover Sport dimensions: Length: 4,850mm, width 2,073mm, height 1,780mm.
Jaguar C-X17: Aimed at younger buyers who focus on style and sportiness above all.
Jaguar C-X17 dimensions: Length: 4,718mm, width 1,959mm, height 1,649mm.
Price: £35,000 (est)
Range Rover Evoque: Aimed at drivers with a smaller budget but wanting a Range Rover badge.
Range Rover Evoque dimensions: 4,355mm, width 1,965mm, height 1,635mm.
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Auto Express can reveal that the C-X17 introduces a brand new scalable aluminium architecture – known as iQ[AI] – that will underpin Jaguar's crucial BMW 3 Series rival, on sale in 2015.
A production version of the SUV will follow, and both cars are key to increasing the brand’s sales volumes and helping it compete on the global stage. Although the C-X17 is officially just a design concept, prototypes have been spotted on the road, suggesting a 2016 launch – hot on the heels of the saloon – is likely.
Jaguar design director Ian Callum also hinted at how close to production the C-X17 is, saying: “We were caught out with the C-XF concept and underdelivered; we now need to show things we know we can deliver.”
The C-X17 is 4,718mm long, 1,959mm wide and 1,649mm high, with a wheelbase of 2,905mm (30mm longer than Jag’s new 3 Series rival). So it’s targeting the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, even though it’s slightly longer, wider and lower.
And it’s not hard to see why Jaguar has chosen to take aim at these cars – this is the largest and fastest-growing market sector for premium SUVs.
We got access to the concept prior to its Frankfurt show debut, and the striking dimensions have to be seen in the flesh to be fully appreciated. If Land Rover is worried its sister brand’s 4x4 will step on its toes, it needn’t be – the emphasis is on style, not utility.
Design cues from Jag’s road car range are everywhere. The front end, with its large single-frame grille and slim headlights, is a take on the current XJ’s face, while the two oversize nostrils, lit by diffused LEDs, add aggression.
The F-Type’s influence is visible in the pronounced rear haunches and the horizontal tail-lights, while twin exhausts, a roof spoiler and 23-inch alloys all confirm the SUV’s sporty intentions.
The interior is just as focused, with four individual bucket seats – each embossed with a laser-cut dogtooth pattern. Two extra ‘leisure’ seats pop up from the boot floor; these are useful for perching on when you’re parked up.
A minimalist dashboard houses a central screen and a touch-sensitive control panel, while the centre console, itself one large touchscreen, stretches back to the rear passengers. This is called the Interactive Surface Console, and allows passengers to operate the infotainment and surf the Internet.
A new sound system, designed by JLR’s audio partner Meridian, incorporates all speakers into the A and B-pillars, freeing up room and bringing the sound source to head height.
So who is the target customer for a Jaguar SUV? “There is an entire generation of 15 to 25-year-olds that doesn’t care about sports cars or saloons,” said Callum. “They aspire to own an SUV – especially in China.
“This is going to be a driver’s car; a proper Jag. If it appeals to school run mums, too, fine.”
This concept signals the start of a run of good news for the UK car industry. From 2015, the new 3 Series rival – the first car in its class to feature an aluminium monocoque chassis – will be built at a new site in Solihull, W Mids, creating jobs directly and via the supply chain.
Jaguar’s small saloon, the SUV and a selection of Land Rovers will also benefit from a range of new four-cylinder turbo petrol and diesel engines. These engines will be built at a new plant in Wolverhampton, which is under construction at a cost of £355million, and will be operational by 2015 to coincide with the launch of the new four-door.
Among the cars based on the new iQ[Al] architecture, Jaguar intends to offer super-efficient diesel models emitting less than 100g/km of CO2, as well as high-performance versions (capable of up to 186mph) using the F-Type’s supercharged petrol V6 (the same engine in this concept).
The C-X17 has a rear-biased intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, although rear-wheel drive is also possible with iQ[Al]. Sophisticated all-aluminium suspension should ensure tidy handling, boosted by torque vectoring, which brakes the inside wheel.
So why has Jaguar decided to launch an SUV now? “The tipping point came when we were doing the XF,” Callum revealed. “I’ve always resisted this type of car [SUV], but we sent a research team around the world, and it found this is what the world wants.”
Jaguar has been building up to the launch of the C-X17 concept for sometime now. There has been years of speculation that the firm was working on an SUV. It then released a teaser image at the start of September and the first full official pictures earlier this week.