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by Tim Beissmann

The Jaguar C-X17 concept has made its world premiere at an exclusive event ahead of the Frankfurt motor show, debuting the brand’s all-new lightweight vehicle platform and previewing the first-ever Jaguar SUV.

The British luxury car maker says its forthcoming aluminium architecture, dubbed ‘iQ[Al]’, will underpin “a new range of future Jaguars”, the first of which will be a BMW 3 Series-rivalling premium mid-sized sedan, due to launch globally in 2015.

A production crossover inspired by the C-X17 is set to follow in 2016, though at this stage Jaguar’s official line is that the concept merely “illustrates the diversity of vehicles that could be produced using the architecture”.

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Developed under the leadership of Jaguar design director Ian Callum, the C-X17 concept provides a clear insight into the brand’s vision for its first urban SUV.

At 4718mm long, 1959mm wide, 1649mm tall and riding on a 2905mm wheelbase, the Jaguar C-X17 concept is similar in size to the BMW X3, though slightly longer, wider and lower to the ground.

The C-X17 concept takes inspiration from Jaguar’s existing portfolio, with its prominent grille and sinister-looking LED headlights evolved from the XJ sedan, and its sculpted, muscular rear haunches and tail-lights containing more than a hint of F-Type.

J-shaped daytime running lights and frosted-glass fog lights around the lower air intakes add character to the front end, while the grey plastic lower bumper panel with metallic scuff plate imply some level of off-road ambition.

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Twin ‘heart lines’ over the front shoulders and rear haunches define the concept’s profile, creating a sense of movement and flow along the clean door and quarter panels.

The rear spoiler adds length to the sweeping roofline and extends over the steeply raked rear windscreen. Sleek tail-lights add width to the powerful-looking rear end, which is further emphasised by the diffuser, twin tailpipes and red reflectors of the lower bumper.

Caesium Blue paint and 23-inch alloy wheels finished in graphite grey and gloss black complete the concept’s distinctive exterior.

A panoramic glass roof and four individual freestanding bucket seats enhance the sense of spaciousness of the minimalist yet sophisticated cabin, while two ‘leisure seats’ swing up out of the boot floor for added practicality.

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A torch and a camera sit in leather holsters in the boot, designed for the active lifestyles of the crossover’s target market.

Two-tone Jet/Orchid leather panels overlap across the instrument panel, seats, floors, doors and boot, while gloss black lines the doors and ruthenium (a metal related to platinum) is used rather than conventional brightwork to create a darker mood.

A configurable twin-dial TFT display fills the instrument panel and a head-up display projects vital driving information onto the windscreen.

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The Jaguar C-X17’s ‘Interactive Surface Console’ infotainment system concept comprises a series of interconnecting touchscreens linking the front and rear passengers via an in-car Wi-Fi network.

Occupants can upload pictures, videos and sound files from their mobile devices to the system as well as to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Content can also be ‘flicked’ between the front and rear displays, allowing it to be shared by all passengers.

The 12-speaker Meridian audio system was designed alongside the development of the C-X17’s interior, and claims to create an all-enveloping sound field making each passenger feel that the music is focused exclusively on them.

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The Jaguar C-X17 concept makes its public debut in Frankfurt on September 10.

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