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Jaguar officially unveiled their C-X16 sports car concept two days ago at the Frankfurt Motor Show as CarAdvice has already reported, but there’s a lot more excitement to come from this car manufacturer over the next few years.

It was a spectacular event with huge numbers of media and press attending and giving the vehicle a unanimous thumbs up. With an expected retail price range of between €60,000 and €80,000 a piece, this is a car that is bound to shake up the sports car segment in no uncertain way, should they decide to build it.

Jaguar is well and truly on a roll that started with Ian Callum’s XK and surged ahead with XF current XJ designs, which was the start of what can only be called a design revolution for the quintessentially British marque.

Jaguar has a long and successful history in motorsport and through the years that success and obsession with beauty and performance has produced some of the world’s most desirable race cars and road cars. The D Type and C Type racers were two standout racers that looked as good as they went. Then came the iconic E-type Jaguar, which Enzo Ferrari himself proclaimed was “The most beautiful car ever made”.

While Jaguar has since produced a succession of high-powered grand tourers with the XK, XKR and their most powerful car yet in the XKR-S, which CarAdvice recently track tested on track in Portugal, they have never designed and built a series production two-seat sports car to replace the iconic E-type.

Hopefully, with the worldwide reveal of the C-X16, the wait may be over.

The response from dealers, current Jaguar owners and future prospects has been overwhelmingly positive. The styling (both interior and exterior) combined with class leading performance specifications and pricing that will undercut its closest competitors by thousands of pounds has got those in the industry either salivating or quivering. Whichever way you look at it, Jaguar simply MUST build this car and the sooner, the better, for a whole world of reasons.

But what do call the first proper two-seat sports car from Jaguar in decades? Believe it or not, there is a large group of Jaguar aficionados from the globe that think the E-type badge should be revived for the C-X16 production series. I’m not sure that would work, neither does Jaguar design boss Ian Callum, who says that the E-type is a global icon and is sacrosanct and should be left alone.

Jaguar’s Global Brand Director, Adrian Hallmark, is not so sure. He told CarAdvice that reviving the E-type nameplate is not out of the question. What else do you call it?

Whatever Jaguar ends up calling their sports car concept, it’s unlikely to affect the car’s powerful styling and blistering performance. The specifications for the C-X16 include a 0-100km/h (0-62mph) sprint time of 4.4 seconds, but Adrian Hallmark told us that it will be quicker than that; closer to 4.2 seconds or less, which brings it line with other high speed cars such as Porsche’s 911 GT3 and others in the so called ‘junior supercar’ segment.

Ian Callum believes it’s all about street presence and prominent grilles these days and the C-X16 has got that pretty much covered with its highly assertive grill and front splitter treatment.

We also asked Ian about a more pronounced bonnet bulge on the C-X16 too, as per the E-type, given the current Jaguar model range all have a degree of bulge but nowhere near as large. He told us that various regulations prevent that feature from being any larger than it is. It’s the same story with the wing mirrors, although, the industry believes that mirrors will eventually be replaced by cameras that will project the view on a monitor inside the cabin, but that’s most likely a while away yet.

Callum also indicated that what you see in the C-X16 concept car is probably close to what the final production series car will look like, at least from a styling perspective. If the car does get the green light, expect the first car to roll off the production line within 18-months of the sign off.

As far as drivetrains go Jaguar has said that as a company (that’s not necessarily for the C-X16) that they will look at a range of powertrains including four-wheel drive.

What was made abundantly clear by Adrian Hallmark, was that this car, if it goes into production, will not be a £35,000 Porsche Boxter beater; in his own words, “It’s not going to happen”. That’s also obvious when you look at the projected retail pricing of the car that Jaguar has put out there. The C-X16 will be a far more premium offering than the Boxter, more likely above the Cayman and below the 991 Carrera.

Jaguar might be on a roll launching several new models in as many years, but there are still a few key segments in which they don’t currently play. One of those segments is the critical small luxury car segment, which includes those volume sellers such as the A4, 3 Series and C-Class. To put this opportunity into some perspective, that particular segment three times larger than all the segments that Jaguar currently compete in. So, although it wasn’t spelled out, letter-by-letter, it’s fair to assume that one of the next production concepts we see from the maker of ‘beautiful fast cars’ will be smaller than any Jaguar model in the company garage.

While new cars for a company on a roll such as Jaguar are mandatory if they are to move ahead with the times and grow their market share, so too is providing the right powertrain for each individual market. Jaguar still has some work ahead of them in this area. Take Europe for example, until two months ago, they didn’t have a four-cylinder diesel to sell. That effectively meant that Jaguar was effectively missing out on a slice of 70 per cent of the European premium market, which means huge potential for growth without the need to build another new model.

In China, the potential is even greater, but this time it’s about V6 petrol powertrains, which as far as XJ goes, represents 90 per cent of the that market segment that until quite recently, Jaguar didn’t have the product to compete with. Those growth numbers alone are nothing short of staggering for a company the size of Jaguar. Try 400 per year to a current run rate of 550 per month. And there are other gaps that Jaguar needs to fill too, with the likes of four-cylinder petrol engines and Hybrids, to name just two of those. Down the track, they their portfolio will probably include various green technologies such as electric vehicles and even fuel cell powered cars.

We’re also pretty certain that Jaguar believes they should be in the SUV game too, that’s compact and large SUVs, but that maybe a few years away yet.

Jaguar will continue to get their engines from the Ford Motor Company, which they engineer and optimise for each specific model, as that relationship provides a high level of security and reliability with supply during critical growth phases.

Let’s revisit the final name of the C-X16, what about the F-type? That was a brilliant looking Jaguar concept from the early 90’s that never made it into production despite being given the ‘go ahead’ – on two separate occasions.

Ian Callum, said of the F-Type in a 2001 press statement,

”F-TYPE represents one of the greatest design challenges in Jaguar history. It must capture the spirit, sensuousness and passion of the original concept, reflect Jaguar’s future direction and meet real world packaging and performance requirements. The challenge is to create a true 21st century successor to the E-type, the icon of the 60s”.

He’s absolutely right. So what would you call the spiritual successor to the iconic E-Type Jaguar?




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