Jaguar C-X75

20 Jun, 2013 11:15am Paul Bond

We get behind the wheel of the stunning Jaguar C-X75, which gets a hybrid powertrain and 880bhp

Verdict

5
We were expecting to find a hastily glued together prototype but in fact, even in its current state, the C-X75 is a match for the Porsche 918 Spyder (we’re yet to drive the P1 and LaFerrari), so it’s a crying shame that it won’t be built. And we’re not the only ones that think so: “We really should be building it shouldn’t we? I guess I’m probably not meant to say that,” Jaguar’s design director Ian Callum let slip.

The hybrid Jaguar C-X75 was supposed to go on sale this year - alongside the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari - forming the fourth member of the greatest hypercar battle of all time. But back in December last year Jaguar pulled the plug, blaming economic conditions for the U-turn.

But the project wasn’t ditched altogether; five prototypes continued their development, and now that process has come to an end and we have been invited to take a drive and experience first hand what might have been.

To get your head around what a stunning technical achievement the C-X75 is here is a simple set of numbers that the whole team were given as targets: The finished prototype had to match the performance stats of a Bugatti Veyron, emit less C02 than a Toyota Prius and an electric-only range that's identical to a Chevrolet Volt, all while sticking as closely as possible to the gorgeous design of the concept car.

The last time Jaguar transformed a wild concept into a road car was with the XJ220 back in 1992, and the C-X75 shares the same 220mph top speed - but that's where the similarities end. Crammed into the narrow gap between the bulkhead and the rear wheels is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces a staggering 502bhp thanks to a combination of a twin-scroll supercharger and a gigantic turbo. When combined with the two electric motors – one at each axle – that add another 390bhp into the mix, the final performance figures are 880bhp and 1,000Nm.

Few - if any – cars can accelerate with the same ferocity as the C-X75 can. The engineers claim it will pull 1G on a dry surface and the tiny engine growls fiercely (more like a V8 than a four-cylinder) at low speeds before erupting into a bona fide racing car howl once it revs past 7,000rpm.

Fortunately for us, drive is sent to all-four wheels and it felt incredibly stable even when we hit an indicated 194mph on the straight. Drive is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automated manual gearbox, while the front wheels are powered by their own separate electric motor. In normal driving 70 per cent of the torque is sent to the rear, but there is no mechanical link between the two and there is so much tech packed behind the driver that the fuel tank sits under the centre console.

Pull the paddles on the steering wheel back and the gear changes slam home in less than 200 milliseconds, jerking your head back and adding to the raucous nature of the powertrain. In other areas, though, the C-X75 feels amazingly finished for a prototype. The light steering has great natural feel through the rim and allows you to place the two-metre-wide carbon-fibre body with relative ease, while the ride is impressively supple despite the 21-inch wheels. Simply put, it still feels like a proper Jag.

Yet the performance and handling capabilities are only half the story and there’s a pure electric mode, too. The claimed CO2 emissions of only 89g/km are an incredible achievement, while the combination of an incredibly powerful pair of lithium-ion battery packs and those electric motors mean the C-X75 is just as impressive during silent running.

Top speed is capped at 90mph in this mode and although Jaguar won’t release an exact figure, Williams engineer Paul Newsome did tell us that the batteries and motors weigh “easily more than the engine and gearbox combined”. They were developed in-house by a joint team that included the KERS specialists from the Williams F1 team – who also helped sculpt the active aerodynamics that give the prototypes its stunning looks.

Disqus - noscript

BUILD IT PLEASE. I think I prefer this to all the others - even the P1 and the LaFerrari. There is something more adventurous and pioneering about the powertrain in this car than those others, which is likely to excite and interest buyers. I have a hard time believing they couldn't sell these out, nor that it wouldn't be worth having a halo car considering the expanded and renewed Jaguar range.

I haven't done the calculation, but I suspect it could pull more than 1G...

TATA, please reconsider building this car,

Sincerely

The Car appreciating public

Was this the car that was originally proposed to have small turbine engines driving generators which powered the electric drive motors? That would be like the promised V-12 in the XJ220 that was transformed into a turbocharged V-6 developed from a Metro 6R4. Many of the original customers who paid an advance deposit for the V-12 were disappointed. What happened to the proposed micro Turbine engines of 800bhp that were incredibly light? I suspect the supercharged, turbocharged, 4 cylinder engine with multiple radiators and substantial gearbox will be really heavy. At least rechargeable batteries that are heavy can be mounted as a thin flat layer under the floor keeping Centre of Gravity Low, unlike that Engine with multiple air & water pipes going everywhere. How many radiators on a Veyron?

This is something they should build. Even if only 20 or something. Jaguar (and LR) are in the ascent. British people should be proud. I know Tata own them, but Jaguar will always be British.

Got to be as technically interesting and as an outstanding achievemment as when the Veyron was release.... or the Mclaren F1.... or dare as say... as the E Type?

If not - can I have the engine? Will it bolt straight into my Corsa...................................
KIdding.

Just look at the detail and finish of the rear wing, it's amazing. This must have been so near a green light for production. Jag, please re-think, we need this car!!

Veryron has 10 radiators:

3 heat exchangers for the air-to-liquid intercoolers.
3 engine radiators.
1 for the air conditioning system.
1 transmission oil radiator.
1 differential oil radiator.
1 engine oil radiator

Of course will they build this amazing car. They are not idiots

wow well done

Sounds like they have used most of the tech from the Audi R18 race car which just won Le Mans which can't be a bad thing! Williams did the hybrid drive on that too.

What an incredible missed opportunity. It seems Jaguar are derstined to continue to tease people only to subsequently let them down when in terms of its cutting edge concept cars.
You can't keep dangling the carrot only to take it away and expect to be taken seriosuly forever. Callum is right: this is one car that should have been built anbd sold, regardless of costs and profits, or lack thereof. OK, Tata might have had to put its hands into its pockets again but not for so much, and the kudos would have been massive. However, Tata has been a pretty good owner investment-wise thus far.
Just a shame we'll never get to gawp at this terrific car and that the world will not see that Jaguar is well-capable of this sort of cutting edge machine.

Don't wish to be too negative though and Jag remains my favourite manufacturer. Great to see it forging ahead into the future. All power to it and JLR as a whole.

Can't you read? It was cancelled as a production vehicle in 2012 due to the economic downturn.

Key specs

  • Price: £1,000,000 (est)
  • Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbo-super and electric motors
  • Power: 880bhp (est)
  • Transmission: Seven-speed automated manual, four-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 2.9 seconds (est)
  • Top speed: 220mph
  • Economy: 72.4mpg (est)
  • CO2: 89g/km
  • On sale: Never
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