This is the Jaguar C-X17, a concept previewing a potential sporty SUV. It also introduces the company’s new lightweight aluminium architecture that will underpin a host of future models.
The C-X17 is officially just a concept but company insiders have told What Car? they are keen to produce a Jaguar to rival the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and forthcoming Porsche Macan. A final production version could be on sale by 2016.
The C-X17 is 4.7 metres long and 1.65 metres high, making it distinct from any present or past Jaguar, but also lower and sleeker than many SUVs. It uses the same four-wheel drive system as the recently launched (but not available in the UK) XF and XJ all-wheel drive saloons. Jaguar is promising that such a set-up will result in similar driving characteristics to a saloon.
In normal conditions, most of the power is delivered to the rear wheels but if the car detects wheel-slip it will send torque to the front wheels to provide more traction.
Inside there are four individual, lightweight bucket seats, separated by a central tunnel running through the middle of the cabin. This incorporates an ‘Interactive Surface Console’, which houses a series of touch-screens allowing passengers to control all infotainment functions, as well as connect to the in-car wi-fi and Internet. The SUV also features touch-sensitive controls for the driver and a head-up display.
The C-X17’s cabin also showcases materials that could be used on future Jaguars, such as milled aluminium and black brushed anodised metal finishes. The seats are also upholstered in laser-cut dogtooth saddle leather. Two additional ‘leisure seats’ also swing out from the boot floor for use when the hatchback tailgate is lifted.
The C-X17 also gives huge clues as to the styling cues of Jaguar's 3 Series-rivalling saloon that will be launched in 2015. Jaguar's design director, Ian Callum, told What Car? that ‘our concepts are now never more than 5% away from the real thing’.