Foreshadowing Jaguar’s future product line, the C-X17 Concept was unveiled on the eve of this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
Juxtapose Jaguar’s current sales to that of its Land Rover sister brand and you’ll immediately understand the thinking behind this concept; or more specifically, what it represents. Land Rover sales have been swelling, leaving Jag choking on dust.
The company needs a clever way to offer a more diverse portfolio that will draw droves of new buyers to the brand. And it won’t be an easy task with cutthroat competition lurking around every corner of the luxury segment. That’s where the C-X17 concept comes into play.
XJ Influences in the Front, F-Type in the Rear
It employs familiar design elements found on current cars. The front end looks like any of the Jaguar sedans you could buy today, only with a vertical stretch. Walk around to the rear and Jaguar design director Ian Callum kicks in key elements from the critically acclaimed F-Type sports car. At 185.7 inches long, 64.9 inches tall and just over 77 inches wide, it’s significantly shorter, taller and wider.
Only, beneath the sheet metal, there’s something very important at work. Aside from previewing Jaguar’s apparent desire to mimic its more successful sibling, the concept is also a look at Jaguar’s new modular aluminum architecture.
As a modular, scalable platform, it will allow Jaguar to “significantly grow it s product portfolio.” Perhaps one of the most interesting undertones to the C-X17 concept is that the company chose to build a utility vehicle rather than a sedan.
You see, the auto maker also made it clear today that the first vehicle to use the new underpinnings won’t be a crossover. Instead, the long-discussed BMW 3 Series fighter will be first to arrive on the yet-unnamed platform. Furthermore, Jaguar promises that will happen globally for the 2015 model year, although North American buyers will wait until 2016.
That car will also come with a new family of gasoline and diesel engines, along with the same V6 currently found in the F-Type.
But this is a Crossover. What Does That Mean?
The choice to show a crossover is a strong indication that Jaguar intends to start selling luxury utility vehicles very soon, although the brand hasn’t delivered a timeline for when that might be.
For now, the concept demonstrates forward-thinking technologies like wifi connectivity and social media integration for all passengers. The center tunnel uses something called an “Interactive Surface Console:” Jaguar parlance for a series of connected touch screens linked to the car’s WiFi network.
It uses four bucket seats rather than a rear bench and features a massive panoramic roof along with high-grade leather upholstery to lend an open and premium feeling to the cabin. Of course, building statesmanlike spaces to sit in is something Jaguar has been doing from the start.
If there’s one thing Jaguar hasn’t been doing, it’s building SUVs. If you’re like most of the automotive community, you might be doing a little scalp scratching. After all, a successful jungle car crossover could steal sales from Land Rover. Can’t it?
Maybe, but if the C-X17 is any indication of where the company is aiming, the two will have very different skill sets. While Land Rover’s products boast off-road capability as a selling point, Jaguar designed the C-X17 concept to be a pavement-specific utility vehicle.