Analysis : What the future holds for C-X16

Keith Adams

Jaguar C-X16 in production form will look little different to the concept
Jaguar C-X16 in production form will look little different to the concept

Despite the world and its daughter knowing that there’s a new small Jaguar sports car on its way, the appearance, and overall beauty of the C-X16 still managed to surprise the world’s media when the first pictures appeared days before its Frankfurt début. The question that’s on everyone’s lips is when does the production version, tipped to be called XT, go on sale, and how close in style to the concept will it be?

One thing’s for sure – C-X16 is the result of a lengthier gestation than you might imagine. An entry level Jaguar sports car has been on the product plan since at least 2006, and following Tata’s buy-out of the company in 2008, it’s said that Ratan Tata’s first major product decision was to get the new sports car codenamed X152 into production. Three years on, we get our first sighting of the results of that decision, and in a marketing plan rather similar to Land Rover’s with the Evoque, the new Jaguar will make it to production almost untouched from the concept – with only awkward to engineer details such as the side-opening hatchback not making the cut.

Marketing the car will be interesting, because it would appear that it doesn’t have any close natural rivals. At the anticipated list price of £55,000-70,000, it undercuts the Aston Martin V8 and Porsche 911, but it’s also probably rather less focused than the Porsche Cayman. Of course, we’ll know the answer to that question when it goes on sale – sometime in 2013-’14, depending on how hybrid development progresses.

It would have been sooner had the 3.0-litre V6 was to be a stand-alone engine option, but as Jaguar is taking alternative drivetrain technology very seriously indeed, this will need to be perfected first. Given that Williams F1 is co-partnering Jaguar on the gas turbine hybrid system on the beautiful C-X75 (which is certain for production too), there will be useful cross-pollination between the projects.

The underpinnings of X152 will use elements of the all-aluminium XJ platform, and keeping weight down will be of paramount importance. Forget thoughts of a cut-down XK platform (the prototypes doing the rounds are lash-ups), it will be all new underneath. Jaguar is setting itself some tough performance benchmarks for the production C-X16, and the figures quoted for the concept tell their own story: 0-60mph in 4.4sec and a limited maximum of 186mph.

That supercharged V6 produced 375bhp and 332lb ft, and is based upon the impressive modular AJ-V8. It’s heading for production, too, seeing the light of day in the XF and XK before being rolled out in the C-X16 – a long-standing Jaguar tradition. It will be EU6 compliant, so that means stop/start and lean-running. In the concept, it’s combined with the 95bhp electric power pack to deliver those impressive stats, as well as 165g/km of CO2 emissions.

But it’s the C-X16’s styling that dominate first impressions of the car – and unlike the XK, XF and especially XJ, which moved forward the marque’s design language by breaking with the past, the more organic C-X16 is instantly recognisable as a Jaguar. Design boss Ian Callum says it is, ‘an evolution of the design ethos of past Jaguars,’ but adds, ‘it defines an agenda for a future of dramatic, innovative sports cars.’

It is stunning, especially around its carefully crafted flanks, and the haunches in the three-quarters are unmistakably Jaguar. There are a number of design mechanisms that link the C-X16 with the original E-type, such as the rear lamps and hatchback, but they are handled delicately and at no point is there a whiff of retro about them. In short, it’s a masterclass. And the good news is that, barring the tiniest of tweaking, it will make production looking just like this. Elements of the prototype are far too sophisticated to be anything than production ready – including the pedestrian-friendly nose.

And that’s what makes the C-X16 so exciting. What we’re looking at is a Jaguar’s new sports car – arguably its first since the Jaguar E-type Series 1 – in production ready form. It comes on the back of what has been a particularly fertile period for the company, with the XF and XJ increasing sales, and the XK entering its post-facelift phase looking stronger than ever.

The production X152 will hit the market strongly, undercutting the Porsche 911, while offering XK owners the most appealing downsizing path. And don’t underestimate that – Land Rover Evoque has taught JLR all about the benefits of offering an appealing entry-level model that is just as appealing as the full-fat model.

The C-X16 is going to be a massive success for Jaguar – and will bring much needed younger custom to the showrooms… will they now have the bravery to launch an entry level saloon/crossover to continue the company’s successful run?





Keith Adams


  1. Let us hope that the changes from design concept to road-going production model are minimal as it does look fantastic in its current form.

    Using Jaguar’s AJ-V8 engine in a modular sense to create a new V6 to replace the current Ford supplied engine, shows that Jaguar is looking at further avenues to help it keep its cost base under control. Such a new engine will be important for most of Jaguar’s models, as well as possibly as a replacement for the Volvo-supplied in-line six engine used in the Freelander.

    Good luck to all at Jaguar Cars in getting both car and engine into production as soon as possible!

  2. Hope they also launch an entry level saloon – but not interested in a Crossover… what is it with the British obsession with SUV’s & Crossovers?

  3. I like it but still unsure why they are pricing it at XK money? Surely it would make more sense to keep the XK where it is and then bring this XE underneath a la Boxster?

    Not convinced on the hybrid drivetrain either, sure it’s great for the yanks but Europe would be better with the excellent 3.0 diesel. If a diesel is good enough for BMW 6 series then it’s good enough for Jaguar.

  4. @ dolomitefan

    Looking at the quote price of £55,000 – £70,00 for the ‘XE’, this does seem extremely expensive as a rival to the Porsche Cayman or Boxster S.

    Then again, with a new generation XK sports car due out within the next two years, perhaps the plan for the new XK is to take it onwards and upwards in terms of price and its position in the marketplace whereby it will compete head on with the Aston Martin AMV8 Vantage. After all, the latest XKR-S variant is already £91,000.

  5. It’s a good looking car, certainly, but it’s just so reminiscent of the DB7 / Vanquish / DB9 / XK. Whilst he has no problem in developing new themes with saloons, Ian Callum needs to learn some new tricks with his sports cars, as they all look fundamentally the same.

  6. “the more organic C-X16 is instantly recognisable as a Jaguar”
    tbh the front shot above, it could be any Japanese sports car from Nissan, Toyota etc, not what i’d call instantly recognisable.
    The back however does look rather good.

    I can’t see the tail gate being hinged like that, and what would be the point? A conventional top hinge would be simpler and the interior wouldn’t get so soaked if you opened it in the road.
    The actual tail gate hinge on that concept looks like the same type of hinge they use on dinky toys. Still i guess it would make it simple for Maisto to make an accurate 1/18 scale model of it haha.

  7. “what is it with the British obsession with SUV’s & Crossovers?”

    Our roads are crap, covered in speed humps and full of pot holes.

  8. In the top picture, with the elevated road in the background, where would that be then; if it’s not some ‘photo-shop’ creation… ??

  9. Dumping the oval Jag front intake smacks of trying way too hard to be new and radical. Similar sports car makes would love to have such a brand identity feature as the Jag oval intake.

    As it is the front end looks like a Mazda

  10. How differnet is the AJ-V8 which was unvieiled during Ford ownership, used in Jag, Ford, Lincolns, Land Rovers, an Astons & I think Volvo ?

    I thought all ford V engines where pretty much modular ?

  11. This is probably as close to an E-type as you can now make, given constraints of legislation, etc.
    Jag wants to have a common grille shape; and there are problems with getting enough air in through an oval; which is a shame, but there it is.
    The proportions are nice – it makes the XK look like a lounge lizard.
    A diesel is definitely required.
    As for the video – look out for the excavator in the tunnel!

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