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Jaguar Jumps Back in the Supercar Ring With Paris Concept

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On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 9:11AM | By: Chris Weiss

Jaguar Jumps Back in the Supercar Ring With Paris Concept

Back in the early 1990s, Jaguar was among the elite of the elite in terms of high-performing supercars. For a brief time between 1992 and 1994, the company produced the XJ220, a car that held a world speed record of 217 mph for several years before the McLaren F1 broke it with its 240 mph run. Not only was the Jaguar XJ220 fast, if you look at a list of the world's fastest cars over the past 20 years or so, the XJ220 was arguably (not very arguably, in my opinion) the sexiest one of all.

Unfortunately for the auto world, while the XJ220 was a great success at the track, it was a market flop. And Jaguar abandoned the supercar segment ever since its production ended. Until today.

On the very same day that Lamborghini revealed its Sesto Elemento concept, Jaguar made some rather big waves by unveiling a Paris surprise: the C-X75. While the Lambo was teased, rumored, and leaked on for weeks, the Jaguar came out of left field. It's especially surprising considering Jaguar's 16-year absence from that end of the spectrum.

Similar to Lamborghini, Jaguar is selling the C-X75 as a concept that will preview future technologies and design that will make their way across the Jaguar range. According to Autocar, however, Jaguar designed the concept with the road in mind, and does have some early intentions of bringing it into production.

When it comes to technology, Jaguar certainly wasn't content to give us just any old supercar. Giving the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid a run for its money in terms of cutting-edge, high-performing technology, the C-X75 uses 195-hp electric motors at each wheel, delivering a total of 780 horses and 1180 lb-ft of zero-emissions output. Two experimental flex-fuel turbines (gas, diesel, biofuel, lpg, compressed natural gas) augment the 68 miles of all-electric range, delivering up to 560 miles of driving. Of course, those turbines are still in the rough stages so that's an optimistic figure.

Those electric motors provide some impressive performance specs: 3.4 seconds to 62 mph, 5.5 seconds to 100 mph and 15.7 seconds to 186 mph. That last one puts it faster than the Bugatti Veyron. Top speed is given at 205 mph.

When compared with the Porsche 918, which seems like the only other logical comparison out there at this stage, the C-X75 has an extra 60 horses, tops out about 7 mph higher and gets to 62 mph just .2 seconds behind. All without a hulking 3.4-liter 500-hp gas V8.

Don't get us wrong, both cars are exciting, albeit different, takes on the future of greener supercars. And both are but concepts at the moment, with the C-X75 being the more rough and prototypical of the two.

In terms of styling, the C-X75 follows in the path of the XJ220 in melding groundbreaking performance with flowing beauty. In fact, Jaguar's chief designer Ian Cullum called it the most beautiful Jaguar ever, opining: "The C-X75 is as close to a pure art form as a concept car can get."

Deputy design director Julian Thomson said of the car: "The time’s right for us to push on again. To make people aware that we can make an even more exotic and special kind of car—a true supercar that’s sustainable and future-proof, and that also combines performance, luxury and beauty in a way that only a Jaguar can."

Hopefully this follows in the tradition of the 918 Spyder in the form of months of whispers and speculation followed by an official announcement of production intentions.

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