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Jaguar C-X17 concept (2013) Jag 4x4 at Frankfurt motor show

Mon, 09 Sep 2013

Here it is then: Jaguar’s brave new future, the C-X17 crossover concept car, unveiled of the eve of the 2013 Frankfurt motor show. Officially, it’s nothing more than a Frankfurt-bound design study to show off the talent of Jaguar’s new ‘iQ Al’ modular aluminium platform. But with the luxury crossover market in overdrive and armed with a contender that looks this sharp, you can bet this is far more than a statement of intent...

I’m not sure whether to love it or hate the Jaguar C-X17…

For a traditional sporting British brand like Jaguar to even consider a posh-roader will be blasphemous to many. But, look how well the Cayenne serves Porsche – and remember the upcoming super-SUVs from Bentley, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce, and you just can’t argue with the potential rewards. Besides, are you really going to deny that the C-X17 looks sensational?

For more unseen Jaguar CX-17 location photos and an in-depth feature, pick up the October 2013 issue of CAR magazine, out Wednesday 18 September

I spot F-type here, XJ there – but not much Range Rover. What gives?

Jaguar’s acclaimed designer Ian Callum told CAR that though his team was naturally aware of sister brand Land Rover’s huge success with the new Range Rover – and its Evoque little sister – they strived to give the C-X17 its own identity, concentrating on the silhouette to create a sporty profile.

The front lights are clearly related to the XF and XJ saloons’ clusters, while the trademark' box' grille appears unchanged from its transition from regular Leaping Cat to 4x4. And F-type influences are obvious in the rear lights and tailgate surfacing, but the C-X17 manages to sidestep the ‘sports car on stilts’ landmine trodden on by the Mk1 Porsche Cayenne.

Surely it’s all concept car nonsense, though?

Not as much as you’d think. Callum admits the glasshouse is slim, and the 23in wheels a necessity to enhance the C-X17’s ‘look-at-me’ wow factor on motor show stages. But in fact, nothing about the bodywork is outlandish enough to deny production feasibility – it’s even got proper door mirrors and handles.

Aha! I’ve just spotted the Starship Enterprise interior…

True, the cabin is more outlandish, but look closer and you’ll see it’s merely a de-cluttered, minimalist take on current Jaguar interior design. There’s still a transmission tunnel-mounted rotary gear selector, three digital dials for ventilation and temperature control (like on the F-type) and a Range Rover Evoque-esque sloped centre console containing a central infotainment touchscreen.

That's the new Jaguar SUV, then. Over to you...

Click here for CAR's interview with Jaguar design boss Ian Callum on the new C-X17's interior

Click here for the lowdown on the Jaguar C-X17's new aluminium chassis

Click here to watch the global unveiling of the Jaguar C-X17

By Ollie Kew