Jaguar is so far under-performing, recording a 27% sales drop in the first quarter of the year. Indian owner Tata Motors is determined though to turn its fortunes around by investing US$2.5 billion annually for the next five years in the British luxury carmaker and its Land Rover stable mate in order to develop 40 new models and variants.
A spiritual successor to the legendary E-Type is certainly a good start: a modern sports coupe along with a roadster variant boasting compact dimensions and 21st century design and driving dynamics. This is exactly Jaguar’s main attraction at the 64th Frankfurt Motor Show: the C-X16 “production concept”, as the study is officially named, clearly pointing at a road-going model.
To mark the event, Jaguar organized a motorcade of 50 classic models, such as XK120s, C-Types, D-Types and, of course, E-Types that drove through the city of Frankfurt starting at the Villa Kennedy and ending at the Palais Thurn and Taxis where the C-X16 was presented to the media.
Jaguar/Land Rover head of communications, Frank Klaas, who drove a D-Type in the parade, commented: “What better way to start the motor show than by driving such a selection of beautiful sports cars through Frankfurt, culminating with the global debut of the future of Jaguar sports cars, the C-X16.”
The two-seater compact coupe (4,445 mm in length, 2,048 mm in width and 1,297 mm in height) uses a shortened version of the next-generation XK aluminium platform. The concept features a hybrid system that combines a 380 HP 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with a 95 HP electric motor integrated in the eight-speed automatic transmission’s structure.
Like the much more exclusive and expensive C-X75, the C-X16 has a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). This allows the driver to use the electric motor for extra acceleration by pushing a steering wheel-mounted button, just like in Formula 1 cars. The difference is that, unlike the four-wheel drive, two-electric motors equipped C-X75, the small coupe’s KERS will be simpler and drive will be directed only to the rear wheels.
Jaguar has even announced performance data for the C-X16: it accelerates from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.4 seconds, reaches a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and weighs 1,600 kg (3,527 lbs). Looks like Porsche’s Cayman and 911 will, in the near future, have another contender added to their rivals’ list.