By Frank Filipponio
Art form or concept vehicle? Frank Filipponio catches Jaguar's green supercar before its U.S. debut at the L.A. Auto Show.
After a few weeks of spotty weather and a missed opportunity to see the new Hennessey Venom GT last week after SEMA, I was extremely pleased to see that this week's show was one of the largest and most diverse Cars & Coffee meets ever.
The highlight of the show, personally speaking, had to be seeing Jaguar design director Ian Callum and his multi-million-dollar, micro-turbine range-extended electric supercar, the C-X75 Concept that is making its official U.S. debut this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
It's an amazing show car on several levels. It's gorgeous, but it was also a rare surprise at the recent Paris Motor Show, where it was completely unexpected and therefore quite a thrill to see it revealed.
Borrowing some of the design cues from the late, great XJ220 supercar of the early 1990s--and even more from the legendary XJ13 Le Mans prototype that, regrettably, never raced--it is easily identifiable as a Jaguar. And yet... it is unlike anything else the British automaker has ever offered. We saw the Jaguar XJ13 in Monterey this year and looking back at the pics, there are many similarities between these two sports cars... the elongated fastback glass and tail for starters. (See additional photos on the next page.)
"The C-X75 is everything a Jaguar should be," said Callum. "It possesses remarkable poise and grace yet at the same time has the excitement and potency of a true supercar. You could argue this is as close to a pure art form as a concept car can get, and we believe it is a worthy homage to 75 years of iconic Jaguar design."
The Jaguar C-X75 Concept was built to celebrate the marque's 75th anniversary while looking to the company's future. The C-X75 is driven by four electric motors, one at each wheel. Each produces 195 horsepower. With a total of 780 horsepower, this vehicle qualifies as one of, if not the, most powerful electric cars in the world.
Recharging the batteries behind the motors are two 94-horsepower micro-gas turbines that help the C-X75 to a combined range of 560 miles. The turbines can also directly assist the electric motors in track settings. Jaguar claims that, with its plug-in capability, the car can go 68 miles with zero tailpipe emissions, and it will do 205 m.p.h. when you release your inner Mike Hawthorn or Davy Jones.
Recognizing a great opportunity, Jaguar has hinted that the C-X75 could make it to production, joining such cars as the Porsche 918 Spyder in the burgeoning market niche devoted to greener supercars. If this is the shape of things to come, we say bring it on.