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An afternoon with the Jaguar C-X75

The stunning Jaguar C-X75 will never be made, so an afternoon with four of the five prototype cars produced won't be one we forget in a hurry.

CNET Reviews staff

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Jaguar launched the C-X75 concept at the 2010 Paris Motor Show to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
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It was powered by four electric motors that were fed delicious electricity by diesel fuelled jet turbines. JETS!
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Sadly, a production car with jets was a little impractical. Jaguar had to rethink its approach because people were clamoring for it to be made.
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Jaguar teamed up with Williams F1 to make a petrol/electric hybrid.
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Plans were laid down to make 250 C-X75s and sell them for £800,000 (ish).
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Production was due to begin in 2013, ending in 2015.
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However, the project was put on ice.
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Top brass couldn't justify selling a near £1,000,000 hypercar in an economic climate that is best described as 'unstable'.
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They didn't think they'd sell all 250... Shame.
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However, the team had built five fully working prototypes.
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Each one has a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a sniff over 500bhp and two electric motors with just shy of 200bhp each.
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The petrol engine revs to over 10,000 rpm and has a supercharger AND a turbocharger bolted to it.
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The goals for the C-X75 project were fairly straightforward. Build a car that had the emissions of a Toyota Prius, the performance of a Bugatti Veyron, the electric range of a Chevy Volt and the look of the original concept.
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So that's precisely what Jag's engineers did.
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0-62mph takes less than three seconds, its top speed is in excess of 200 mph (Mike Cross took me out and topped it), an all electric range of 40 miles, CO2 emissions of 89g/km and yeah, it looks like the original concept.
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In reality, the prototypes have all-new body work over the concept.
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The body work is slightly taller, but its wheels are smaller (21" rear, 20" front rather than 22/21) to take that in to account.
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There are pressure reliving vents over the front wheels, and cooling vents in the back - though these aren't visible from a profile view.
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Its grille has been squared off to put it in line with the F-Type. They were designed in the same studio.
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There's also a whacking great splitter at the back, modified form the concept so "it actually works."
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There's also an active spoiler built in to the rear deck that not only adds downforce but acts as an air brake.
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The C-X75 protoypes are a masterwork of packaging.
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Under its slinky bodywork sits 14 radiators, miles of wiring, two electric motors, a 'cool box' to keep components chilled and a twin-charged engine.
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All of that means there's no boot to speak of, but the cabin is suitable for normal-sized humans to sit in. It's by no means uncomfortable.
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The bodywork is entirely carbon fibre to keep weight down.
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Even though the cars are prototypes, they're remarkably well sorted.
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Car five (the blue one) is as production ready as a gen one prototype can be.
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It's beautifully upholstered, has a working nav screen (borrowed from Jag's other cars), switch gear that does what it's supposed to and it doesn't have an in built fire extinguisher...
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I was given two runs in two different cars.
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The black car was for an all-electric hoon around Jag's test facility.
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It's capable of going 40 miles on electricity alone, and can breach 90 mph, too. Sound synthesizers pump an eerie 'futuristic' whine in to the cabin that changes depending on throttle position and speed.
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The silver car was for the full show - petrol and electric motors working in parallel to make best use of its near 900 bhp potential.
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The noise it makes is ferocious, its acceleration doubly so.
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I managed 189mph at Jag's track, Jaguar's handling ace, Mike Cross, pushed it over 200.
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It's remarkably easy to drive.
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The steering is light and it handles incredibly well - you can feel how stiff the chassis is.
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Its robotised manual gearbox doesn't like sitting at low revs, and it's quite viscous at full pelt. It's very fast though.
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Before I went out to drive I was told: "The engine revs to over 10,000rpm and doesn't like lower revs, so please push it." Don't have to tell me twice.
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You have to agree - it's a stunning proposition. Why won't Jaguar make it?!

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