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Attention Grabber? Jaguar C-X16

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Jaguar Cars ::: Jaguar C-X16

UNVEILED before the unveiling in Frankfurt, the world (or the portion that cares) has had a chance to gauge Jaguar’s new sub-XK hybrid C-X16 sports coupé par excellence. Jumping the P.R. gun as is car makers’ want these days, one wonders the need to rent auto show floorspace at all.

But that’s neither here nor there for this discussion.

Jaguar has said – and apparently “we” – have long desired a GT that’s slotted beneath the range topping, $80K+++ starting, XK for quite some time now.  And, as much as we’ve appreciated the XK’s sheetmetal over the last half decade or so, that cat never really set either the road nor our imagination on fire because it really presented nothing new.

Perhaps the C-X16 is a better stab at retaining our attention.

The taut rear with U-shaped windscreen, great hulking C-pillars that resemble jacked traps, twin sets of gunbarrel exhausts, and thin LED tailamps that stare like an unblinking UFC fighter all combine successfully to convince us of this Jag’s prowling intentions.

The face is less convincing. More prey, than predator, like the XK, the C-X16′s front is pointedly devoid of aggression due to those wide-eyed, vertically drawn headlamps that seem to owe their inspiration more to the Mitsubishi Eclipse than, yes, the XKE.

Add to that, there are count’em seven separate divisions where air is allowed into the engine compartment. Seems like fussy overkill.

C-X16′s interior appears to be a posh cabin we’ve visited before. A conceptual cross between Porsche driver orientation and Maserati leather lounge, Design master Ian Callum’s team threw in some Star Trek blue diodes and instruments to chillingly remind us that the Brits want to build cars that showcase technology just like ze Germans.

Conceptually, the little Jag coupe is a success in that it’s prompted discussion in the great auto forum. Then again, anything actually new with the leaper badge would.

It is likely that what we see in the C-X16 is what we’ll more or less receive in production form. No bad thing.  Aesthetically, it’s a convincing exercise in motoring athleticism. When produced, we’re sure to spy the Jag in the parking lot faster than the new Camry. But our eyes may spot the neighboring “speed yellow” Cayman first.

September 08, 2011
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About the Author: Gunnar Heinrich is publisher of Automobiles De Luxe online and is executive producer of the Automobiles De Luxe Television series on PBS member station CPTV.

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  1. Hmmm, I’m not sure. With the XK, Jaguar was criticized for aping Aston Martin in the design language for that car. At the time that could be justified as Ford owned both and senior design and engineering managers had input to both brands. Aston has gone on to build a series of sport and GT cars sharing an evolutionary design, while Jag stuck with the initial XK and refreshed it, but has not moved beyond. You would hope that Jag would have struck a new direction with this car rather than provide what appears to be another Aston clone.

    If you had photo shopped Aston logos for the Jag’s and said that this was a proposed down market AM, it would have been entirely believable. Attractive car but not distinctive and alas the manual transmission will never make it to the US.

  2. The design of this car is very attractive. I am loving the exterior design but the red interior is equally spectacular !

    Thank you for this article Gunnar

  3. De rien.

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