Jaguar C-X16 unveiled

* Sports car concept * Hybrid powertrain * Production version due by 2013...

Jaguar C-X16 unveiled

This is the Jaguar C-X16 concept car, which will make its official debut at the Frankfurt motor show next week. The good news is that youll be able to buy something very close to it within 18 months.

The C-X16 show car is said to have been designed to gauge public reaction. However, its being called a production concept, and is likely to appear in showroom-ready form, as a convertible, by the Geneva motor show next March.

The concept is 445cm long, around 35cm shorter than Jaguars XK 2+2. Its also 10cm narrower with a wheelbase thats 13cm shorter. Much of the difference in overall body length is down to a very short rear overhang on the new model. Theres so little bodywork behind the rear wheels, in fact, that an Audi TT-style pop-up wing is likely to be necessary on the production model, to aid stability.

The concept is powered by a hybrid set-up, with a supercharged, direct-injection, 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine (producing 376bhp and 332lb ft) doing the bulk of the work. However, a push to pass button on the steering wheel frees up energy stored via an F1-style Kinetic Energy Recovery System, and kicks in an electric motor that boosts power by 94bhp and 173lb ft for up to 10 seconds.

Jaguar claims the car can do 186mph, crack 0-62mph in 4.4sec and accelerate from 50-75mph in just 2.1sec. It also emits a modest 165g/km of CO2, returns 41mpg and can drive in electric-only mode at up to 50mph.

The C-X16s dramatic all-red interior finish will be toned down for production, although much of the basic layout, including the aircraft-style toggle switches, is likely to be retained. One element thats purely for show is the rear glass, which is side-hinged, in a direct nod to the classic E-Type. It will be replaced by a regular hatchback.

Jaguar has yet to announce prices for the production model, which is also likely to carry a different name. However, wed expect basic, non-supercharged V6 versions of the car to start from around 50,000, allowing more extreme variants to cross over into XK pricing, at up to 80,000.