Jaguar today revealed its vision for a 21st century Jaguar sports car - the new C-X16 production concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Designed by the same team that produced the Jaguar XJ, XF and XK - headed by Jaguar Director of Design Ian Callum - the C-X16 concept is a precursor to future Jaguar sports cars that will aim to set new class benchmarks in design, vehicle dynamics and technology.
"Great Jaguars have always been beautiful, innovative and have looked firmly to the future," commented Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar Cars. "The finished C-X16 concept has the potential to do these things while retaining the ability to surprise, to excite and invigorate."
The C-X16 concept will aim to set benchmarks in design, vehicle dynamics and technology for future Jaguar sports cars. The C-X16 represents a step forward from the 2010 Jaguar C-X75 supercar concept and works towards enhancing the driving experience as well as the car's environmental credentials.
The two-seater model is environmentally conscious but is also built and designed to a beautifully high spec, with the cabin trimmed in dramatic red leather.
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 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.
The cabin is trimmed in the finest leather and Suedecloth. As expected of a Jaguar, premium materials are used throughout, with the main touch surfaces composed of a combination of anodised aluminium, rich piano blacks, dark chrome and carbon-fibre that underline the car's performance potential. The manually-adjustable bucket seats are made of lightweight composite materials with a central carbon-fibre spine for rigidity and support.
"This car has been designed from first principles. It is an evolution of the design ethos of past Jaguars and defines the agenda for a future of dramatic, innovative sports cars," said Ian Callum. "Purity of line and intent is what Jaguar does best."
If anything can be said to define Jaguar designs it is one word: drama. The C-X16 is no exception, taking the traditional two-seater sports car template and redefining it in the Jaguar idiom.
In its simplest form, sports car design is defined by the relationship between the mechanicals and the bodywork. The aim at Jaguar has always been to wrap the form as tightly as possible around the function to create a taut, sculpted appearance that could only be that of a Jaguar. Finished in Gunmetal, there is no wasted space, movement or surface on the C-X16, every line serves its purpose in creating a whole that is more than the sum of its parts.
The C-X16 moves the award-winning Jaguar design language on to the next level and is startling in its simplicity, defined as it is by three 'heartlines'; the front wing crease, the rear haunches that wrap into the tail and the sweeping roofline.
"The stance of this car is everything. It is fundamentally a driving machine and that has driven every aspect of the design," explained Callum. "We have pulled the three signature heartlines back as far as we can to create a dynamic tension. The car possesses a sense of latent power; the potential to leap instantly into action."
The C-X16 also makes use of newly established Jaguar styling signatures such as the subtly rounded trapezoidal grille. Inspired by the C-X75 concept car and recognisably related to the current XF and XJ, this is the focal point for the front end of the car, providing instant rear view mirror recognition.
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 defining role of the front wing line is taken up by a further finely chiselled crease that forms a double 'coke-bottle' curve, swelling outwards and upwards from the waist of the car to encompass the muscular haunches that are a Jaguar hallmark. This feature line then swoops, unbroken, round the rear of the car to create the tail, which mimics the appearance of the trailing edge of a swept aeroplane wing.
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.
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.
The structural properties of carbon-fibre are further utilised in a bracing bar that flows back from the centre console dividing the seats and then splits in two, before being bolted to the rear suspension turrets to provide additional rigidity. Further carbon-fibre is found in the centre console, framed by the tailored passenger grab handle that flows organically from the dashboard to the transmission tunnel. The floor is finished in aluminium and black Poltrona Frau leather that has been subtly hand quilted with a Hex pattern influenced by the historic Jaguar lozenge - this same motif is found stitched into the Suedecloth headlining.
Nestled discreetly behind the front seats are the lithium-ion battery pack and inverter that provide power to the hybrid drive system. Positioned here for optimum weight distribution, they are hidden under an aluminium cover machined from solid and designed with integral heat sinks.