Jaguar promises to build a production version of the C-X75 concept originally shown at the 2010 Paris auto show.
Wayne CunninghamManaging Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Jaguar's C-X75 concept was the most stunning car unveiled at the 2010 Paris motor show. Along with its sleek exterior, it boasted a hybrid power train, mixing electric motors and microturbines that would make it go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. Now Jaguar says it will build a limited production run of 250 vehicles.
We often see concept cars at auto shows and wish the automakers would actually build them. In this case, Jaguar is granting our wish, sort of.
The company pledged to keep the body style of the concept, a low, exotic-looking car that should fit well with the McLarens, Paganis, and Gumperts of the world. Jaguar will work with Williams F1, a racing team, to develop a carbon fiber chassis for the car.
The concept featured electric motors at each wheel, a power-train design Jaguar will keep. It also used two microturbines as generators to keep juice flowing to the motors. That part of the design, alas, won't happen. Tata, Jaguar's parent company, is working with Bladon Jets to develop microturbines for use in cars, but that technology is not ready for prime time.
Instead, the production C-X75 will use a compact gas engine as a generator. Think Chevy Volt. That arrangement may not be as interesting as the concept, but at least it will allow the car to come to production. Those microturbines looked very cool under the car's back glass, and the engine generator won't have nearly the same visual impact.
Still, Jaguar says the C-X75 will actually hit 60 mph in less than 3 seconds, and will have a pure electric range of over 30 miles. Top speed will be 200 mph, yet its CO2 emissions will only be 99 grams/kilometer.
The story of the C-X75 looks very similar to that of the Porsche 318 Spyder, a hybrid supercar originally shown as a concept. Porsche later found enough potential buyers that it decided to build a production version of the car. It would seem that many millionaires are interested in hybrids these days.