Jaguar C-X75 supercar cancelledComment on this story
Maybe it was too much, too soon; maybe it really was too beautiful to be true. Jaguar's exquisite C-X75 supercar has followed the Renault DeZir, the Aston Martin Bulldog and the prettiest Mercedes-Benz ever to turn a wheel, the C111, into automotive legend.
Global brand director Adrian Hallmark confirmed to Autocar magazine on 11 December that production of the radical hybrid supercar had been cancelled, because, as he put it, "looking at the global austerity measures in place now, it seems the wrong time to launch an £800 000 to £1 million (R11 million - R14 million) supercar".
The award-winning C-X75 concept was the star of the 2010 Paris motor show when IOL staffer Dave Abrahams said it was "streamlined to swooning point and so gorgeous you find yourself walking circles around to find more angles from which to admire".
"Like all great designs, it's deceptively simple; just a straightforward central fuselage surrounded by prominent wheel arches, yet the detail work is utterly exquisite. "
But its Achilles heel, then and now, were the tiny Bladon gas turbines that were to drive the generator.
Bladon Jets never actually got them to work and, when the C-X75 was green-lighted for production in May 2011, it was with a screaming 10 000rpm, all-alloy, 1600cc four-cylinder engine with both a turbocharger and a supercharger, that delivered in excess of 375kW, driving a big electric motor on each axle.
At the time, we quoted Jaguar as saying combined would be about 660kW, 0-100 would take less than three seconds (that's 0.95g!) and top speed would be more than 325km/h.
Hallmark told the magazine development of the five running prototype cars would continue until May 2013. Then one of them would be put into storage for a planned Jaguar museum, one would be kept alive for running demonstrations and the other three would be auctioned off.
Given that Jaguar had taken about 100 orders for production C-X75s before the first one was built, interest in that auction is likely to be intense.
Production cars were to have been built on Jaguar's first carbon-fibre monocoque, developed from Formula One technology by Williams, but Hallmark told Autocar their relationship would end when the project was wound down, although he expected Jaguar and Williams to work together again in the future.
He wouldn't tell the magazine how much money had been sunk into the C-X75, but insisted it wouldn't be wasted, saying 60 percent of the technology would "filter through" to future Jaguars.
The concept's superb aerodynamics would influence new models for years to come, he said, while the high-pressure supercharger technology was being lined up for use on smaller Jaguar sports-cars with four-cylinder engines.
And finally, he revealed, the C-X75's hybrid architecture could be used in tandem with a three-cylinder engine to give it silent running around town and the power of a six-cylinder engine with petrol and electric drive combined.
Now, why do we think that sounds like more than mere speculation?