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Frankfurt 2011: Jaguar C-X16 in the flesh

Wed, 14 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0700

Jaguar C-X16 - in the flesh at FrankfurtFrankfurt

We’ve been accused of ‘dissing’ the new Jaguar C-X16 Concept when we first saw it revealed a few weeks ago. But that wasn’t the point of the story at all.

We love the look of the Jaguar XE to be – just as we love Jaguar’s entire current range – but we did wonder out loud if Jaguar had been a bit timid with the C-X16.

Surely a new, sporty and more compact sports car from the Leaping Cat was the perfect opportunity to push the envelope a bit; show-off Jaguar’s new-found design flair. Instead we got a very derivative design, albeit one that’s derivative of a hugely appealing design language.

So having wound-up every Jaguar nut on the planet after our recent musings, perhaps we can redeem ourselves a little by saying we think the new Jaguar looks brilliant.

It’s compact – if rather wide – and seems to be built with the driver very much at the forefront, but let’s not forget that the XE/C-X-16, certainly as a concept, is also offering a very clever powertrain as well as a very powerful one.

The hybrid setup the C-X16 enjoys delivers a very decent 375bhp and 332lb/ft of torque from its cut-down AJ-V8, which now has a more compact V6 layout. But add to that an extra 93bhp and 173lb/ft of torque brought in to action by a KERS button on the steering wheel, and you have a new Jaguar with real teeth.

O-60mph is dispensed with in a neck-snapping 4.4 seconds and the C-X16 has enough oomph to keep on going to 183mph. And all that torque really shines when you look at the 50-75mph time of 2.1 seconds.

Thanks to its energy recovery system built in to the back axle, the C-X16 can even do an all-electric party trick for a few yards using power from the 1.6kw lithium-ion battery pack lurking behind the seats. But only as long as you’ve given the XE a damn good thrashing first to get some charge to play with.

What all this adds up to is a very 21st century ‘Cake & Eat It’ scenario, where you get proper performance with the ability – if you drive like a nun – of emitting just 165g/km of CO2 and sipping petrol fuel like a miser.

So we give the new XE – which will also come with the choice of non-hybrid V6s and a V6 diesel – a nice fat 9 out of 10 – just so long as it drives as well as we’d expect.

But it would have had a 10 if it had pushed Jaguar design on too.

(45 photos – click any thumbnail for full gallery)

By Cars UK