The large volume of coffee we needed to attain coherence for the 7am start time of the first Paris auto show media day was only partially what we hoped to start the day with. Jaguar definitely got us wide awake when we saw the anniversary gift they created to mark the company’s 75 years of automotive design and innovation. The manufacturer unveiled the C-X75 concept which is exactly the kind of vehicle we like to be greeted with at an auto show. It sports a sleek exterior design, mad propulsion system, and an interior not production friendly but which looks fantastic. This is the kind of car that immediately gets you dreaming, not about hauling groceries, but about the fun of driving.
The C-X75 is described by Jaguar as a range-extended electric supercar. It has the capability to go nearly 70 miles on electric power without generating any tailpipe emissions on a plug-in charge. If getting somewhere fast is on order, the car can reach 205mph under battery power alone. An individual electric motors located in each wheel provide direct power. At this point you may be wondering what sort of engine provides the supplementary power to charge the batteries. This being a supercar, Jaguar couldn’t just drop in a common gas engine or fuel cell. Thankfully they decided to opt for something a bit more crazy sounding. The C-X75 has two advanced micro gas-turbines (aka jet engines) located in the rear of the car. The turbines, which can reach operating speed in seconds, create thrust which don’t actually propel the car but drive generators to either recharge the batteries or provide current to the wheel motors. Why turbines? The engines themselves are lightweight and good for short bursts of power. Jaguar has also developed an engine control system so that the turbines can work in tandem or individually when the need is reduced.
Design inspiration for the C-X75 came from the aircraft nature of the turbine engines. The vents, wheels, and interior all have both functional and styling components derived from the flow of the air into the turbines. Early concepts leaned more in the direction of futuristic. But this being an anniversary project, Jaguar also looked to infuse the car with heritage and looked to some of its prototype cars from the 1960’s. Specifically the elegant XJ13 race car prototype made in 1966.
The interior feature a lot of led illumination, something you’ll see turn up in other concepts we’ll take a look at. In order to better facilitate driver comfort, the whole dashboard panel can can telescope in and out at the push of a button. This keeps not only the steering wheel at a comfortable distance, but also the gauge cluster. The entire dashboard is back lit with led lighting giving the appearance of a floating panel.
Will Jaguar actually make the C-X75? We hope not. The car is a beautiful design study and should probably remain that way as a piece of inspiration. That’s not to say we wouldn’t like Jaguar to return to producing cars with an elegant simplicity with unique engineering. Their current crop of road cars seem to have lost this characteristic. But Jaguar is intending the C-X75 to be a preview of a new design language for the brand so we’ll have to wait and see.