Jaguar reveal plans for a stunning new SUV and BMW 3 Series rival at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
A decade or so ago if you were to mention an ‘SUV’ in a Jaguar business meeting you’d have beentold to take your cigar and brandy then quietly leave the room and not return. Ever. An SUV just seemed too against Jaguar’s key philosophies, their cars had to be low slung and handsome, not tall and boxy. So then, why are you staring at images of an SUV that is quite clearly a Jaguar?
It’s simple. The world has gone completely SUV mad, and every man and his designer branded polo shirt wants one. They’re symbols of power and class, Jaguar’s Chief Designer, Ian Callum, says “this sort of car is the aspirational car of choice for an entire new generation”. Basically, if you’re a premium vehicle manufacturer and you don’t have an SUV, you’re a nobody, and that’s precisely why Porsche, BMW, Audi, Mercedes and co all produce SUVs, and they’re literally rollin’ in it thanks to their chunky luxury ‘soft roaders’ – all of zi German manufacturers have office showers that actually rain money… Probably. Ok, we sort of made that last bit up, but here’s a fun FACT; the BMW X5 is known internally as ‘The Boss’ because of its huge profit margins and massive sales demand.
Jaguar’s C-X17 SUV concept is arguably the tastiest looking high-rider ever made, to these eyes at least it looks genuinely beautiful. At the front there’s the big Jaguar grille and a set of headlights looking not to dissimilar to those fitted to the XF sedan – it’s an assertive face, but one that lacks the insulting brashness of the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7. The windscreen is raked back and the glass area is relatively small considering the car’s size (it’s 4.7m long), this, when combined with a very short front overhang, gives the car excellent proportions. A bold character line kicks up over the rear wheel arch and flows into the taillights which are one hundred percent F-Type. Continuing the F-Type theme is the way Jaguar have kept the design of the C-X17’s rear end uncluttered and clean, giving it a very suave look.
Ian Callum says “It took longer than I’d anticipated to get it to the point where it was as exciting as it could possibly be. We worked very hard to generate that sense of speed and movement, even for something that is relatively pragmatic. The glass area is about as slim as we could go. Having said that, this isn’t fantasy land. There’s nothing here we couldn’t do in a production car.”.
The cabin however is a little more concept-car-y. The seats are slim, futuristic and mounted lower than we’d expect to see in a production Jaguar SUV. The basic shape of the dashboard and center console will likely make production but the switchgear and displays, while looking extremely cool here, will almost certainly be swapped for more conventional items.
The C-X17 Concept rides on Jaguar’s all new ‘Intelligent Aluminum Architecture’ or IQA. It’s a totally new versatile scalable modular platform that will underpin Jaguar’s new BMW 3 Series rival, the next generation XF and the company’s new SUV. Jaguar say the IQA platform will be able to underpin vehicles capable of stretching to speeds of up to 186mph while still achieving sub 100gm/km CO2 emissions, perhaps not all in one single car though, unless some witchcraft is used… Basically it means that the platform can be configured to work with anything from high performance cars to polar bear-friendly hybrids.
The first all new Jag to roll on the IQA architecture will be the British 3 Series fighter which is set to enter production in around 18 months time with a range of new engines and this lovely new SUV should follow closely behind.
These are exciting times at Jaguar!
By Aiden Taylor (@AidenT_RD)