Jaguar makes a giant leap forward with its mesmerising C-X16 concept. And don't worry about the concept tag, this really is your future Jaguar sportscar.
It's just genetics, really. If Scarlett Johansson had a kid with George Clooney, you could bet your last fil it wouldn't look like Lotney ‘Sloth' Fratelli. When Jaguar brings a new car into the world, it goes without saying the thing will floor you with its beauty.
But this C-X16 is a bit too much for the senses. We don't know whether to laugh or cry at its splendour, but our knees still haven't stopped quivering. The concept takes Jaguar's existing design language, and then seduces it into a sensual shape that's hot enough to ruin a marriage.
And even though the dramatic concept was primarily created to grab attention at this week's Frankfurt motor show, this pure sportscar is a clear view into the lines of your future Jag. Ian Callum, director of design at Jaguar, came up with one basic aim: to clearly define the relationship between the mechanicals and the bodywork, by wrapping the panels around the chassis as tightly as possible to finish off with a taut sportscar with absolutely no unnecessary detailing or space. Every bit has a clear purpose, whether it's the front wing crease, the rear haunches that wrap into the tail or the sweeping roofline.
After Callum finished his masterpiece, the engineers had a tough act to follow. They came through though, triumphing with a front-engined, rear-drive petrol-hybrid formula benefiting from 50:50 weight distribution.
Under the stubby bonnet (no wasted space, remember) lies a new supercharged all-alloy 3.0-litre V6 engine which develops 385bhp and 450Nm of torque. Pitching in is an electric motor worth 94bhp and 235Nm, ready to pounce at the push of a steering wheel-mounted boost button. The chassis is also made of lightweight aluminium, as befits a Jaguar, enabling the C-X16 to reach 100kph from rest in 4.4 seconds. And an eight-speed gearbox not only helps acceleration, but lowers fuel consumption and CO2 figures to just 165g/km.
Despite the drivetrain and engine still being in the prototype stage, Jaguar isn't hiding the fact that this is the company's next series production powerplant. So when you buy your future Jag you'll get a dashboard display indicating when the additional boost is available, albeit for around 10 seconds.
The C-X16 also boasts a 300kph top speed — even with the burden of heavy batteries, because the body is all-aluminium too. And inside that dazzling body is an interior just as hypnotic, made up of dramatic red leather, suede, machined aluminium, carbon fibre and dark chrome.
The dash and tunnel console are inspired by aircraft controls, featuring a joystick-style gear lever, toggle switches (a nod to classic Jags) and a general wraparound layout.
Pushing the starter button powers up not only the grumbling V6, but also an otherwise-hidden display. Very stealthy, yet there's nothing sneaky about the C-X16 concept. It knocks you out with its beauty, and then kicks you again when you put your foot down.
Yes, it's only a concept, but if it ends up looking half as good as it does, Jaguar's onto a winner.