Los Angeles – Rarely, if ever, had one small automotive entity so singularly defined an era as when Jaguar delivered its E-Type to the Geneva Auto Show in 1961. Some fifty years later Jaguar pays homage to the original vision with the North American debut of the Jaguar C-X16 concept. With a 24/7 news cycle and a generation of potential Jaguar buyers glued to their iPads this new concept won’t, to be sure, duplicate the emotional storm of 1961. The new high-performance coupe has, however, a chance of providing for a new generation of drivers a portion of the E-Type’s essential charisma, while delivering levels of both performance and grip of which the E-Type team could only have dreamed.
At its announcement at the Los Angeles Auto Show Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s Global Brand Director, reminded us that “Jaguar has always had a sporting heart, and the C-X16 is the perfect embodiment of our vision for a true 21st century Jaguar sports car. It’s fast, it’s beautiful, and it also highlights our commitment to the development of sustainable powertrain technologies. We’re eager to gauge the reaction to the C-X16 here in the important North American market, and the Los Angeles Auto Show provides us with the perfect platform to do so.”
Although described as a concept, there was little to suggest the Jaguar C-X16 couldn’t be in showrooms today or tomorrow. Its all-aluminum construction was covered in a cool ‘Neutron White’, while inside the driver-oriented cockpit was swathed in hot red leather. Although this combo stood in stark contrast to a typical British color scheme, it seemed perfect for Los Angeles. And from any angle the Jaguar C-X16 was completely contemporary, posed on a wheel/tire package that featured both a race-specific tread and alloy wheels with carbon fiber inlay.
Under the C-X16 (is that awkward, or what?) lives a supercharged 3.0 liter V6, reportedly capable of 380 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Supplementing that total is a hybrid system boosting performance by an additional 95 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque. Jaguar claims a top speed of 186, 0-62 in 4.4 seconds and 50-75 (a reliable indicator of passing capability) of 2.1 seconds. Regrettably, within the confines of Jaguar’s show stand we weren’t allowed to verify their claims.
Perhaps it was the choice of color, but while examining – and admiring – the Jaguar C-X16 we were struck by how closely it mimicked Toyota’s epochal 2000GT. The Toyota Grand Tourer was Japan’s late-60’s take on the E-Type architecture, propelled by a Yamaha-modified 2.0 liter inline six. If an E-Type and 2000GT had been on display, many might have thought – especially when viewing the Jaguar C-X16 from the rear – the new Jag concept was a tribute to Toyota and not, as history has documented, the other way around.
The Jaguar C-X16 concept made it’s world debut at Frankfurt.