The Jaguar C-X16 concept is a bold statement of Jaguar’s future design and technological intent.
The C-X16 takes the traditional front-engined, rear-wheel drive formula that Jaguar defined over the decades and reinvents it for the 21st century in a performance-oriented hybrid drivetrain with 50:50 weight distribution.
The latest iteration of Jaguar’s ‘Redefining Performance’ ethos, the system is based around a prototype supercharged all-alloy V6 engine which produces 380PS (280kW) and 332lb ft (450Nm) of torque from 3.0-litres thanks to its innovative design. Supplementing this is an electric motor producing 70kW and 235Nm (equivalent to 95PS and 173lb ft), available to the driver at the push of a steering-wheel boost button.
The aluminium bodywork is wrapped as closely to these mechanicals as possible to distil the essence of Jaguar sports cars into the next evolution of an already award-winning design language. By stretching the main feature lines back from the focal point formed by the grille and pushing the wheels as far into the corners as possible, the car has a taut, poised-for-action stance that is unmistakeably Jaguar.
The interior showcases important future technologies such as multimodal rotary controls. These incorporate miniature OLED screens, which reconfigure to reflect the different functions that can be performed via the controls, all of which are designed for maximum compatibility between sports car needs and everyday usability.
An example of this is the full smartphone integration via the ‘Connect and View’ system by which the central Touch-Screen reconfigures to mimic the screen of a connected device. The central screen also features a second-generation interface with fingertip touch supplemented by buttons that provide short cuts to top-level menu functions.
The Jaguar performance ethos has its roots in the company’s Advanced Aluminium Architecture programme, which focuses on agility, power-to-weight and sustainability benefits. The Limo Green project, conducted in association with the Technology Strategy Board, combined this class-leading construction with a highly experimental hybrid powertrain that was further developed in the C-X75 supercar concept.
The C-X16 signposts how the next generation of Jaguar sports cars will produce their power in an environmentally conscious manner. The concept is propelled by a hybrid powertrain that combines an all-alloy V6 engine with a performance-boosting electric motor inspired by the Formula One KERS system.
The purpose of this hybrid-performance system is threefold: to supplement the V6 engine’s already prodigious power through an on-demand ‘Push to Pass’ system; to reduce fuel consumption; and to allow the C-X16 to perform as a zero tailpipe-emissions electric vehicle at speeds of up to 50mph on low throttle openings.
The starting point is Jaguar’s eight-speed transmission with Intelligent Stop/Start, recently launched to great acclaim in the XF sports saloon. The system can shut down the engine in just 300 milliseconds after the car has come to rest and utilises a Twin Solenoid Starter (TSS) that is capable of restarting it in the time it takes the driver’s foot to travel from the brake to the accelerator. This provides for faster recovery and seamless performance beyond the capabilities of any existing competitor in production and is the first time such a system has been used with a supercharged engine.
The C-X16 extends the Stop/Start system’s functionality by linking it to a transmission-integrated motor generator mounted as one unit with the gearbox. This draws power from a 1.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted behind the seats for perfect weight distribution.
As in the most demanding motorsport environment, Jaguar employs a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). The battery pack is predominantly charged through a rear axle electro-hydraulic brake energy regeneration system.
A dashboard display graphic indicates when the additional boost provided by the electric motor can be deployed. When charged, a ‘Push to Pass’ boost button mounted on the steering wheel allows access to an additional 70kW and 235Nm of torque (equivalent to 95PS and 173lb ft) for up to 10 seconds. Because of the lag-free nature of an electric motor, this power is instantaneously available. The battery is constantly and automatically recharged, the entire system overseen by a Hybrid Vehicle Supervisory Controller.
Both the battery pack and electric motor mounted in the C-X16 are liquid cooled preventing them losing performance as heat builds up during spirited use. To cool the battery the advanced electronics draw chilled coolant from the climate-control system, the compressor for which is itself electrical rather than engine-driven to reduce losses. The hybrid system is placed within the wheelbase of the car to aid weight distribution and maximise agility by reducing the polar moment of inertia.
The front-mounted supercharged V6 engine develops 380PS (280kW) and 332lb ft (450Nm) of torque from a capacity of 3.0-litres. A modular development of the award-winning Jaguar AJ-V8, the all-new powerplant points the way to the next generation of highly efficient, powerful, petrol-fuelled internal combustion engines.
The new V6 is of the same lightweight aluminium architecture as the eight-cylinder engine with a high-pressure, die-cast block with cross-bolted main bearing caps for increased strength and refinement. The quad-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder heads are constructed from recycled aluminium to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing.
These advances in efficiency allow the V6 to produce a specific power output of 126PS per litre. Allied to the performance-boosting electric motor the result is astonishing – 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds, a limited top speed of 186mph and in-gear acceleration of just 2.1 seconds between 50 and 75mph. The benefits of the hybrid system extend beyond being merely sporting, reducing CO2 emissions to 165g/km and returning 41mpg on the combined cycle.
The muscular clamshell bonnet is defined at the outer edges by two sharp creases rising along the upper edges of the front wings. These begin in the gill-like strakes dividing the air intakes flanking the grille before blending away into the shoulder line running along the doors. The importance of this front wing line is emphasised by the angular form of the headlights, which deliberately follow the rising wing to lead the eye up and along the contours of the car rather than cut across them. The horizontal front wing vents, like those in the bonnet, are finished in carbon-fibre.
The rear lights continue the theme set with the C-X75 by extending around the flanks of the car immediately below the tail crease to literally highlight the powerful width of the rear track and, like the grille, provide instant recognition that this is a Jaguar sports car.
The singularity of purpose exhibited by the exterior styling of the C-X16 is reinforced the moment the door is opened, whereupon driver and passenger are greeted by a dramatic red interior trimmed in the finest materials; leather, Suedecloth, anodised machined aluminium, carbon-fibre and dark chrome.
The C-X16 takes inspiration for elements of its layout from aeronautical ergonomics, such as the joystick-style gearlever and banks of toggle switches that also reference classic racing Jaguars. As a result of this thinking the dashboard has been shrink-wrapped around the driver to provide the best view forward, allowing the car to be placed with absolute precision in corners, aided by the sharp creases on top of the front wings.
Made from lightweight composite materials the close-fitting and supportive racing seats feature manual adjustment to further reduce weight. A central carbon-fibre spine runs up the centre of each seatback to reinforce it.