One Man's Dream Comes True: Jaguar Supercar Approved

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Within weeks of becoming Editor-in-Chief here at TTAC (and through a truly unexpected twist of fate), I was given the opportunity to interview Jaguar’s head of Design, Ian Callum on the occasion of my first-ever visit to Detroit. True to our industry-centric mission, I was in town for Chrysler’s Five Year Business Plan, and to be perfectly honest, I struggled with the challenge of interviewing a chief designer, especially one who had recently rejuvenated the aesthetics of such a storied brand.

As I was fumbling through our breakfast interview, we were joined by a GM executive who happened to live at the hotel where Mr Callum was staying, and when I got the most unexpected answer of the interview, it’s safe to say this exec jumped as high out of his seat as I did. I had asked Callum what his favorite new car was, and to my complete surprise he answered “Chevrolet Stingray Concept.” That answer actually played a surprisingly important role in my subsequent career, as it earned Mr Callum and myself an invitation to GM’s Heritage Center (once we had scraped the GM exec’s jaw off the floor), where we spent three hours wandering around and taking in the best of GM’s glorious past.

Needless to say this was a turning point for me, an experience that banished any self-doubt I might have harbored about whether or not I could be truly passionate about cars. You can not spend that much time around those cars with a guy like Callum and not emerge a changed person. Moreover, it helped me understand in a more intimate sense, what it means to struggle to live up to a faraway but epically glorious past… a challenge that GM and Jaguar share.

So when Jaguar debuted a Callum-designed mid-engined supercar, the C-X75, I felt a weird sense of connection. I knew that, whether Jaguar built this car or not, it represented the culmination of one man’s dream. Though Callum admitted he wanted to do a “proper” supercar “for selfish reasons,” he was adamant that “Jaguar has the right” to build sensual, over-the-top supercars. And, luckily for him, he has bosses who agree.

According to Autocar, Jaguar will build 250 production versions of the C-X75, which will sell for over $1 million each. And though the majority of those will not use the concept’s turbine-electric drivetrain, Jaguar says a certain (small) number of C-X75s could be fitted with the futuristic jet drive. In any case, Jaguar will not simply be bunging a version of its V8 into the new supercar, as managers argue that “people expect us to be innovators.”

To that end, the car is being developed in partnership with the Williams F1 team, and the majority will likely be powered by a “highly boosted” 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine, similar to the ones to be used in the forthcoming F1 formula. With plug-in electric power at all four corners and a carbonfiber chassis, Autocar reports

Total power could amount to as much as 1000 bhp, but the car will also have an electric-only mode for urban use. Jaguar promises a 200mph top speed, zero to 100mph acceleration in less than six seconds and an all-electric range of about 30 miles.

Is it a pity that fewer than 50 C-X75s will be jet-powered? Perhaps. But this unconventional, achingly beautiful supercar is a wholly appropriate flagship for a brand that, against all odds, has clawed its way back from the brink and rejuvenated itself in a distinctly modern way. More importantly, it’s a fitting culmination to the career of the man who possibly understands what it means to be Jaguar better than anyone else. A man who, having designed such icons as the Aston Martin DB7, wanted only to create one over-the-top, mid-engined supercar. In a business that is rapidly losing its connection between passionate individuals and distinctive, daring cars, the C-X75 embodies just a little bit of the old emotion- (and yes, ego-)driven sensibility that defined the golden age of automobiles.

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  • Tstag Tstag on May 06, 2011

    This car is awesome. TATA get's Jaguar and what it's customers want. This is a halo car that will sell lot's of Jaguar 3 series type products. Ford never got this and lumbered the car enthusiast with the Mondeo X type. If Lincoln want to survive then in the long term they need the kind of investment Jaguar is getting. But if Ford's management of Jaguar and Volvo is anything to go by then that will never happen.

    • XY GTHO XY GTHO on May 08, 2011

      I'd have to say I can't agree with you at all about Ford's ownership of Jag. Firstly, the entire current lineup of Jag (and Land Rover) were all designed and approved under the ownership of Ford. Secondly, where was Jaguar before Ford bought it? With a very poor reputation for quality. Now they're consistantly near the top of most reliability surveys. I agree that (initially at first), Ford didn't really understand Jaguar and thought that if all their cars looked like the original XJ then they'd sell. They eventually learnt their lesson, and what you see now is a result of that. Plus, the X-Type was never a bad car. To start with, the Mondeo was (and still is) a damn good car - the benchmark at the time in Europe for mid-sized sedans. I've driven both, and they don't feel like each other. The problem with the X-Type was that they decided again to make it look like an XJ, and that completely missed the target audience. Compare Ford's ownership of Jaguar with that of GM's ownership of Saab and decide who did a better job.

  • MBella MBella on May 06, 2011

    It looks like a modernized version of the XJ220 which is not a bad thing. The four banger could work if it has enough power. It would be a cool different approach to a supercar. The turbine powered version requires no words.

  • Undead Zed Pretty good write-up. I for one wouldn't mind seeing more two-wheeled content here, but given this is TTAC and not The Truth About Bikes, I doubt we'll get much.
  • RHD "Nevertheless, it was dead simple to connect, belts out 1000A..."Actually, a battery, or a booster pack, provides the current that is drawn. It doesn't force its maximum capacity into the starter motor. A 650 Cold Cranking Amp battery won't start a Ford Escort any better than a 325 CCA battery."Belting out 1000A" would fry the components in the circuit in short order.
  • SPPPP The little boosters work way better than you would expect. I am a little nervous about carrying one more lithium battery around in the car (because of fire risk). But I have used the booster more than once on trips, and it has done the job. Also, it seems to hold charge for a very long time - months at least - when you don't use it. (I guess I could start packing it for trips, but leaving it out of the car on normal days, to minimize the fire risk.)
  • Bader Hi I want the driver side lights including the bazl and signal
  • Theflyersfan One positive: doesn't appear to have a sunroof. So you won't need to keep paper towels in the car.But there's a serious question to ask this seller - he has less than 40,000 miles on some major engine work, and the transmission and clutch work and mods are less than 2 months old...why are you selling? That's some serious money in upgrades and repairs, knowing that the odds of getting it back at the time of sale is going to be close to nil. This applies to most cars and it needs to be broadcasted - these kinds of upgrades and mods are really just for the current owner. At the time of sale, a lot of buyers will hit pause or just won't pay for the work you've done. Something just doesn't sit well with me and this car. It could be a snowbelt beast and help save the manuals and all that, but a six year old VW with over 100,000 miles normally equals gremlins and electrical issues too numerous to list. Plus rust in New England. I like it, but I'd have to look for a crack pipe somewhere if the seller thinks he's selling at that price.