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Jaguar C-X75 Prototype Drive

By raccars Published

Behind the wheel of the Jaguar supercar they’re never going to build…

… and five more performance used Jaguars you CAN buy!

Jaguar has built a supercar – but unfortunately will never sell it. RAC Cars has still driven it though – and can confirm, yes, it is amazing.

We took to the track for some fast laps at a secret German airfield test track, and also spoke to the engineers from Jaguar and engineering partner Williams to find out all about the 220mph supercar.

Be in no doubt, the partnership has created something quite exceptional. You can tell this the moment you set eyes on one of the five prototype models built: it really does have the appearance of a genuine supercar.

But then you discover what’s beneath the surface and discover why Ferrari and Porsche are perhaps breathing a sigh of relief that the Jaguar challenge will never become a reality…

Styling and interior

The Jaguar C-X75 concept stunned the Paris Motor show when it was revealed there back in 2010. Often, amazing concept cars turn into pale imitations once they reach production. If anything, the showroom-intent C-X75 looks even better than the concept, with more definition and a slightly better overall balance to the shape. When opened, its semi-gullwing doors are brilliant.

The interior is less well advanced. The original concept had a flat floor and a paired-back, racecar look. For production, Jaguar both intended to make it more luxurious and had also repositioned the fuel tank in the middle of the car, so creating a ‘tunnel’ between drive and passenger. It hadn’t quite finished it when the project was cancelled though, so more imagination is needed here.

Occupants sit very low and very far forward, with the C-X75 also having a long wheelbase and a well defined wheel-at-each-corner feel. It means it feels not unlike a racing car from inside. Which is very apt…

Performance

The Jaguar C-X75 is a petrol-electric hybrid supercar. It has two electric motors, one for the front wheels and one for the back, with an additional 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels. Don’t let the engine’s small size put you off though – it produces a stunning 503hp which, when added to the electric motor output, means the C-X75 offers well over 850hp. Jaguar says that gives it performance that’s a match for a Bugatti Veyron.

Not at first, though – because the Jaguar starts off in electric mode. Thanks to a Nissan LEAF-sized battery, it has enough power to drive up to 37 miles without the engine even firing up, and the car’s light weight and near-400hp of electric power means performance is perfectly swift enough even in this mode.

The real fireworks come when the engine is started, though. It sounds a little clattery at idle (Jaguar still had work to do here) but, on the move, it is amazing – not least because it has a 10,300rpm red line and the sort of wailing sound effects you only normally get from a race car engine. The performance is a measure for a race car too: immediate, ceaseless and very, very strong, it creates an absolutely first rate performance supercar that completely takes your breath away.

Handling

The Jaguar handles corners as well as it fires towards them. Very delicate, precise and Jaguar-like steering, plus a surprisingly compliant ride, has you wondering what it will be like but the first time you turn in and feel the bite and confident grip puts any doubts to the back of your mind.

The C-X75 is as immediate though the bends as it is on the rush towards them, with the front end sticking hard even when you overcook it and the rear end remaining stable even if you boot it hard. For a stunning-performance supercar, it’s incredibly easy to drive, but not without reward either.

Price and value

We will never be able to buy a Jaguar C-X75 from a showroom. If we could have, Jaguar was banking on a list price of around £900,000. So the planned 250-car production run wouldn’t have been cheap.

Good value, though? Depends on how you value, err, value. For a bespoke-build supercar, made from carbon fibre and packing an extraordinary engine shared with no other car and which owes plenty to the race track, being limited to 250 units and having performance as stunning as this, we reckon a price tag of below £1 million would have made it a bargain. Remember, the ageing Bugatti Veyron costs much, much more than this…

Fuel economy

The Jaguar C-X75 has one further surprise – fuel economy and emissions. Jaguar wanted it to match a Toyota Prius for emissions, which would have equalled 89g/km CO2 and more than 75mpg. Yes, you read that right: it’s all thanks to the battery’s plug-in recharging capabilities.

As meeting this efficiency target was one of the firm’s stated goals for the project, we can virtually take it as read: this 850hp, 220mph supercar would have become the first in the world to average 75mpg. Which you have to admit is pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Preview verdict: Jaguar C-X75

Jaguar has created an instant legend with the C-X75. It is colossally fast, sounds amazing, looks stunning and has a supercar-league price tag as well. It’s every inch the exotic dream car.

The global recession and Jaguar’s need to roll out other cars fast means it’ll never become a reality, but this doesn’t mean it’s not going to become a legend. In our eyes, it already is: a car that really is as amazing to drive as it is to look at. We can but dream…

5 Fast Jaguar Alternatives To The Jaguar C-X75 You Can Buy Now!

1. XKR-S

Jaguar’s most powerful road car to date, with a full-fat 550hp and outlandish styling to match. Top speed is 186mph and even this is electronically limited: with an aggressive suspension tune to complement the power, it’s a true Porsche-rivalling Jaguar.

2. XKR

If the Jaguar XKR-S is a bit too racy for you, Jaguar also offers the standard supercharged XKR. It has sold this for longer than the ‘R-S’ model so there are more on the used market – its blend of power and elegant comfort is a very desirable one.

3. XFR

The Jaguar XFR is a very cultured four-door sports saloon. In its latest guise, it has classy looks and an exceptional 5.0-litre V8 engine, delivering ample performance for the well-sorted chassis to handle. Every inch the British BMW M5 alternative.

4. S-Type R

Before the XF, Jaguar sold the S-Type. In racy R guise, it really came into its own, thanks to a supercharged V8 engine, full suspension makeover and understated styling enhancements outside and in. Today, they’re on the market for well under £10,000 – a genuine performance bargain.

5. F-Type

The new F-Type is Jaguar’s latest sports car, and the long-awaited replacement to the classic 1960s E-type. The two-seater model is already offered as a very high-performance 5.0-litre V8, while there’s also a sporting V6 S: take your pick, either is fantastic.

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