Jaguar greenlights its C-X75 hybrid supercar!

Jaguar-C-X75 at the Paris motorshowIt was the star of last year’s Parisian motorshow: the Jaguar C-X75, the concept of a plug-in hybrid supercar with turbines to produce electricity while on the run. It looked fantastic and was shockingly fast: 200+mph. A real supercar by any standards, and also green with its innovative powertrain. So there was only one question: would it make it into production? I’m happy to report that it will. But with a difference. The turbines have been deemed too sci-fi for a production model. That technology is not ready for a production automobile. Jaguar, and the Indian Tata group that owns it, remains confident that turbines will make their way into cars sometimes but more development and testing are needed.

The production car evolving from the C-X75 concept will use a gas engine. Nothing is known about it yet, but I had the surprise to see Frank Williams, the man behind the F1 team that bears his name, at the press conference announcing the greenlighting of the C-X75. He was there because his men will help Jaguar on a carbon fiber chassis, but he could also provide the engine. Formula One racing will switch to 1.6-liter turbocharged four cylinders in 2013, and one of those would make a fine generator for the hybrid supercar. To be even more speculative, as I know Tata Motors is trying to get into international motorsport, I could imagine the Indians buying the Williams team. With Frank Williams at retirement age (he’s 68), that would be a fine way for him to exit…

Back to the car, Jaguar won’t release a full spec sheet before September. What we know today is that the car will have a top speed of more than 200-mph, that it will need less than 3-seconds to reach 62-mph and that its fuel economy will be exceptional. Maybe not as good as a Prius, but better than a Honda Insight. The car will also offer an all-electric range of more than 30-miles in city driving. That is better than a Porsche 918! The only thing not to like is the price between £700,000 and £900,000 (depending on local taxes), but buyers will enjoy a limited-production automobile: Jaguar will make only 250 of them. There’s no doubt they’ll become prized collector models.