Jaguar will debut a baby Jag at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The junior Leaper will be unromantically dubbed the Jaguar C-X16 and it will be the marque’s smallest automobile since the first true post-WW II automobile, the XK120 of 1949. In its pre-show announcement, Jaguar called the C-X16 a “production concept” and “a bold statement of Jaguar’s design and technological intent.”
In other words, here’s the new small Jaguar that will be built to flesh out it’s line and make Jaguar competitive with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz at the diminutive end of the market. Maybe. But when Tata Motors acquired Jaguar Land Rover in 2008, it announced plans to introduce new vehicles to compete for a bigger share of the high-end segment. Land Rover is well on the way with the new Evoque, a new crossover sport-utility arriving this fall in a new for Land Rover–and perhaps the automotive market–market segment.
The Jaguar C-X16 reprises Ian Collum’s stellar XK design with fluid and appropriately feline contours for a two seater, instantly recognizable as a Jaguar. The long hood design is more than just style, as it allows the neoclassic Jag to have a mid-mounted engine ahead of the passenger compartment in a rear-drive automobile.
The C-X16 introduces not only a new supercharged engine, a V-6 sized for the small two-seater, but also a hybrid powertrain. Rather than make the C-X16 a thriftmeister, the hybrid technology is intended more as a performance boost. It’s a “press to pass” setup that Jaguar says is Formula 1 inspired, with a steering-wheel mounted button for temporary on-demand acceleration.
Integrated into the Jaguar C-X16’s eight-speed gearbox is a motor/generator which is powered by a 1.6kWh battery pack. Mounted behind the seats, the battery pack helps balance the weight distribution at an ideal 50:50 front to rear. The batteries are charged via a brake energy regeneration system, providing the juice to the motor that adds another 93.7 bhp and 173 lb ft of torque. That’s on top of 375 bhp and 332 lb-ft of torque from the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6.
If needed, the C-X16 has a sneak-home all-electric mode that will run up to 50 mph on battery power alone. In more typical conditions, however, the baby Jag will do 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds and accelerate from 50-75 mph in 2.1 seconds. Jaguar says top speed is 186 mph.