Sunday, 6 December 2015

Auto Review: the Jaguar C-X75

by Lottie Perry-Evans

Jaguar C-X75, as featured in Spectre
Many of you have probably seen the most recent James Bond film. For me the biggest attraction to every Bond film is not the actors or the fight scenes (although these are, of course, a big part of it), but the cars that star alongside the actors and the inevitable car chases.

In the most recent film (Spectre), there were two cars which caught my attention: the Aston Martin DB10 which is one of the most incredible cars I’ve ever seen, in both its design and engineering, and there was also the Jaguar C-X75, which car intrigued me the most because it is a feat of engineering brilliance. I say this because it has the power of a Bugatti Veyron but also has the economy of a Toyota Prius. Now, this may sound impossible but I will explain how Jaguar and Williams Advanced Engineering worked together to create this machine, in this article.

Jaguar unveiled the C-X75 in 2010 as a concept, and in just two years it was made into a fully working prototype. In that incredibly short time span, Jaguar and their development partner Williams Advanced Engineering created an all-wheel drive, plug-in parallel hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) with the world's highest specific power engine and Jaguar's first carbon composite monocoque (single shell) chassis. In 2012, it was decided that due to the global economic climate, the C-X75 would not enter full production and so was left as a concept car. The C-X75 represents the pinnacle of Jaguar’s engineering and design expertise.

Now to explain some of the more complicated engineering aspects of the car. The C-X75 has a combined power output in excess of 850 bhp (brake horse power) and 1000 Nm (Newton metres) of torque, thanks to its state-of-the-art, Formula 1-inspired, 1.6-litre dual-boosted (turbocharged and supercharged) four-cylinder power plant which generates 502 bhp at 10,000 rpm. In simpler terms, this means that the car can sprint from 0-100 mph in under six seconds and has a theoretical maximum speed of 220 mph. This hybrid also has a pure-electric range of 40 miles and the official-cycle CO2 of a Prius: 89g/km.

Not only is this car a feat of pure engineering brilliance, but it also looks incredible. Every single line and surface drips elegance and fluency, at least until you get to the back, where there’s a great big diffuser, which is all about purpose not beauty. There’s also a rear wing with multiple positions for downforce and cooling, which at rest sits flush to the body so as not to disrupt the lovely curves of the car’s hips and lower back. However, the wing mirrors stick out from the rest of the car and muck up the design and cause noise, drag and turbulence, none of which you want when paying £750,000 for a hypercar such as this. However, the C-X75 is not made for practicality, in order to squeeze in an engine, two electric motors, a battery, a fuel tank, 14 radiators, inboard bell-crank suspension, a habitable cockpit and keep the shape of the car slinky and aerodynamic, Jaguar had to miss out including a boot. So this car is made purely for enjoyment and technological innovation, not for practicality.

Unfortunately, this car was not able to be entered into full production. The decision to kill C-X75 production must have felt to Jaguar like strangling a puppy, but there simply were unlikely to be enough buyers for this. However, the fast-track engineering it embodies will certainly live on in hundreds of thousands of people’s Jaguars and Land Rovers, in very, very few years from now. But, even so, right now I’m very sad that we’ll never be given the chance to have our day brightened by the sight of its wonderful shape gliding by, or experience it disappear in a vision-blurring, ear-splitting testament to the new-world power it embodies.

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