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Future big cats lighten up


ASK ANY automotive expert what the single biggest contributor towards high CO2 emissions and blunted performance is and they will say ‘weight.’ A vehicle can have as much power as its maker’s desire, but if the mass is too high the fuel consumption and performance will be mediocre.

Jaguar realised this many years ago when it used aluminium in the construction of its XJ220 supercar. This lightweight technology has been transferred into an exciting sports crossover concept that I was fortunate enough to view in the Western Cape. It is called the C-X17 and features new aluminium monocoque architecture. The monocoque is significant due to its high strength, low weight and rigidity. 

The importance of the concept lies in the new platform which will become Jaguar’s own scalable architecture as seen with the likes of Volkswagen’s MQB platform. Jaguar’s version is called the iQ [Al] on which all new-generation Jaguars will be built. The scalable architecture is being adopted by many manufacturers due to the fact that it allows for flexible high-volume production across many different models.

The first model to come from this new technology will be a mid-size premium-segment sedan set to compete against the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which will go on sale in 2015. This will make this unnamed sedan the only vehicle in its class to feature an aluminium monocoque. There will also be a new range of engines, some of which will be performance orientated while the others will emit less than 100g/km of CO2. The engines will be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s new engine production facility, currently under construction in Wolverhampton in the UK as part of an R8.7 billion investment.

The concept also displays potential interior technologies such as the Interactive Surface Console, which makes use of several screens to make up an infotainment system that is able to link passengers with each other and the outside world through social media. There is also a 12-loudspeaker system specifically developed by audio experts Meridian.

The exterior design is complemented by massive grey 23-inch wheels offset by the rest of the design, which takes elements from other Jaguars such as the nose from the XJ and rear lights similar to those on the F-Type. The C-X17 is 4 718mm long and 1 649mm high with a ground clearance of 213mm, making it a proper crossover that would fit in-between the likes of the Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport.

Article written by Sean Nurse
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