A hybrid system with KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), aluminum architecture, new supercharged 3.0-L V6 direct injection gasoline engine with auto stop-start, top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), and CO2 emissions of only 165 g/km are the core aspects of Jaguar’s new C-X16 concept, which looks set for production for MY2013.
A star of this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, it will be manufactured in convertible and coupe forms, both of them two-seaters. The coupe concept has a side-hinged tailgate like the XKE (E-type) coupe's and a clamshell hood. Arguably, the front-engined rear-drive C-X16 is a 21st Century successor to the XKE, but there is almost nothing about its aesthetics that echo that car’s distinctive shape.
Jaguar decided to leave aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer’s XKE design (based on his rounded 1950s racing D-type) in the era in which it was created and eschew any overt retro touches. As a road car, the svelte XKE was very different from anything else of its time. Says Director of Design, Ian Callum: “Jaguars have always been dramatically different.”
Which is why the C-X16 is of a new era. Jaguar’s use of past visual cues in the previous-generation XJ sedan and the S-type when that appeared a decade ago, were not as stylistically advanced as they might have been. Callum added that the C-X16 now moved the company’s current design language on to the next generation, “creating a car that is the very essence of future Jaguar performance.”
In line with Jaguar’s inter-model technology sharing and use of modularity, the C-X16 will incorporate knowledge gained in the use of aluminum for the current XK and XJ models and with planned models including the next XK generation’s architecture. Reducing mass is a priority, but the concept is not a lightweight, scaling around 1600 kg (3530 lb).
Its 279-kW (374-hp) V6 2995-cm³ engine puts out 92.7 kW/L (124 hp/L), achieves 450 N·m (332 lb·ft) maximum torque, and is closely related to the company’s established 4.0-L V8. Jaguar’s extensive experience of supercharging road car engines is being applied to the new sports car.
The decision to use a KERS system is a significant element in achieving an on-demand performance boost, low emissions, and some short-range pure-electric drive capability. Sending out the right environmental message, while meeting market demand for high performance is a challenge for all performance-oriented products of OEMs and Jaguar has stated that it will design “sustainable sports cars.”
Built on a 2622-mm (103.2-in) wheelbase, the concept is 4445 mm (175.0 in) long, 2048 mm (80.6 in) wide, and 1297 mm (51.1 in) tall. It is shorter than any previous Jaguar since the 1954 two-seat XK120.
The motor generator (using brake energy regeneration) is integrated into the car’s eight-speed ZF auto gearbox and is linked to a 1.6-kW·h battery pack positioned behind the seats. This helps achieve a 50:50 weight distribution for the car. The electric motor contributes an added 70 kW and 235 N·m (173 lb·ft).
The driver has a “Push to Pass” steering wheel mounted button to activate the full hybrid state when maximum acceleration is required. The 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time is quoted at 4.4 s.
A significant departure from recent Jaguar fashion is the use of a conventional gear selector stick in place of the rotary type that has not received unanimous acclaim. The rotary is regarded as more appropriate for sedan models rather than a pure sports car like the C-X16.
The car’s cockpit has a wrap-around effect and use is made of carbon fiber. But the material is mainly applied as a styling element and probably would not be used in a production version of the car unless its cost could be reduced.