Jaguar's C-X75 : XCAR drives the Hybrid Hypercar that never wasThe Jaguar C-X75 was supposed to be a halo car that'd put Jag back up there with the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche. It only ever made it to Prototype stage, but thankfully we were allowed to play with one of five.
This is the Jaguar C-X75. There are only 5 in the world and that's all they'll ever be. You'll probably never see as fine shaped sleek down a high street or hear its 1.6-liter 500 brake horsepower engine at full chap outside of Gaydon where it and its 4 sibling prototypes lived. For a brief moment it looked as though it reached production but that was never to be. I remember seeing the C-X75 concept on Jaguar stand at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. It sat there promptly pretty much bewitching everyone that walked past. It was created to celebrate Jaguar's 75th anniversary and the concept had 4 electric motors and they got their electricity from jet. It had jets. However developing a production car with a jet electric hybrid system was a little much. So in May 2011 Jaguar announced that it was creating a limited run of 250, 700-thousand-pound plugged-in hybrid petrol hypercars. Production was due to begin in 2013 and end in 2015. It was set to run a highly boosted petrol electric hybrid setup and be developed in conjunction with the Williams Formula 1 team. It should've been a bit of a hit, but due to the ongoing economic crisis Jaguar top brass didn't think that creating a limited run million-pound hypercar was the best of ideas. All that remains of the dream, the ultimate Jaguar is 5 prototypes. Each works, each has a fully outfitted cabin, and each can release all of its near-900 brake horsepower potential. The C-X75 prototypes run a 1.6-liter turbo and supercharged engine which puts out just over 500 brake horsepower to help those 500 along. There's also 2 electric motors which push out just under 200 brake horsepower each which means this thing is kicking out just below 900 brake horsepower. 0 to 62 miles an hour takes under 3 seconds, naught to 100 in less than 6 seconds, and it'll soar past 200 miles an hour. And despite the fact that it's got nearly 900 brake horsepower and 738 pound-foot and that it can do all of that the C-X75 emits only 89 grams per kilometer of carbon dioxide. It's a shame that a car that could manage all of that never really reached production. Before I was allowed behind the wheel, Jaguar's handling don Mike Cross showed me how it's done. Mike's a man with more talent than his eyebrow than I have everywhere. Mike pushed the car up to a shade over 200 miles an hour and made it dance around Gaydon's massive circuit. The noise that engine makes, only 1.6-liters with turbo and supercharged it makes the Silverstone 500 make if it's correct. When Mike came around I was told by [unk], one of the chaps behind the car that the gearbox doesn't like low revs and that I should use all of its 10,000 plus rev range. I don't need to be told twice. The acceleration on offer is ferocious. It soars up to 150 then just keeps on going. Where its electric motor sets a beast mode in the 1.6-engine working at full song the performance felt unlike anything I'd ever driven. The car felt composed and balanced in the bends thanks to its massive width maybe, but also thanks to some very well suited spoilers and dampers. While the ride will punish you over anything too nasty and rutted, it felt surprisingly comfy. The C-X75's drive may be other worldly but its look is refined, restrained almost especially when you compare it with the likes of the cars falling out of Pagani and McLaren. Aesthetically even though it looks pretty much the same as the 2010 concept, it's actually different in every single way. The roof line is a bit wider. The rear window is a bit bigger. There are vents in the flanks for cooling and pressure relief even though from the side you couldn't actually tell they're there. So even though it does look pretty much bang-on, the differences are actually quite noticeable. When you consider how it looks and all of the cooling, all the little changes that had to be made to make this almost production-ready because prototype number 5, the blue one in there is pretty much bang on. They could package that up and send it and it would be fine, but when you consider all of that then you also get the range of a Chevrolet Volt 40 miles in all-electric mode. You have 200-mile-an-hour plus top speed and naught to 62 time of pretty much nothing and with all the radiators and technology and cooling and engine bits and batteries all in there and a cabin that's actually comfortable for humans. With the LaFerrari, Porsche 918, and McLaren P1, Jaguar classically should be there too. It has form with the XJ220, the XJR-15, the D-Type, the C-Type, and the XJ13, the car that inspired the 75's stunning look. See, Jag isn't a stranger to making groundbreaking heart-stopping cars at all. All the tech and engineering inside the C-X75 would've put its showroom price up to 7, 8, 900,000 pounds and even though there are very, very many wealthy car collectors out there, Jaguar would simply couldn't see a business case for it. Concepts come and concepts go. They lend their likenesses or parts of them to other cars later down the line. Their proposed tech is watered down and popped on far more pedestrian models, but the C-X75 seemed different. It had a hope of making it to production to helping Jaguar take on the really big boys again. So is the C-X75 the greatest car that never lived? Well, no because well look. I've driven it, this very one. I'm standing right next to it. I drove it at 189 miles an hour just an hour so ago. It's problem for production at least is it was just a bit too much for its time.