Jaguar C-X17 comes to London, but it's only ever going to be a folly
If you like the Jaguar C-X17 4x4 concept car, we've got some bad news. On its first official outing in the UK, Jaguar has told Pocket-lint that in its current form, it won't be going on the market.
Julian Thomson, director of advanced design at Jaguar, told us that the car has been created to allow its designers to have some fun, for the company to test out new technology and get customer feedback.
But don't write it off just yet. The car isn't a complete pipe dream. A lot of the elements of the C-X17 will be making it into other vehicles on which the car maker is already working.
Take the aluminium unibody frame for example: it is already destined for a brand new saloon Jaguar hopes to launch in 2015 that will take on the 3-Series.
At 4,718mm (185.7 inches) long and 1,649mm (64.9 inches) tall, its dimensions are clearly that of a crossover, yet in its design it shares strong family traits with Jaguar’s current range.
For instance, the grille is an evolution of the distinctive nose of the Jaguar XJ luxury sedan, while the sculptured haunch lines hint strongly at the Jaguar F-TYPE sports car.
A low-sitting stance and overall profile combine with 23-inch alloy wheels to give the C-X17 a sporty, aggressive presence, while the LED headlamps, J-shaped running lights and frosted-glass foglights set into the large front intakes add to the C-X17 vehicle’s purposeful intent.
The C-X17 is painted in what Jaguar calls a "lustrous Cesium Blue finish", with gloss black brightwork surrounding the windows, while the split five-spoke alloys are Dark Atlas Graphite with gloss black finishes.
The interior of the C-X17 offers four individual bucket seats. It features a combination of Jet saddle Connolly leather and Orchid Connolly leather on the instrument panel, seats, armrests, doors, floor and in the cargo area, with stitching on the saddle leather creating a tactile feel.
A centre tunnel running the length of the car, from the instrument panel through to the rear passenger seats, incorporates the Interactive Surface Console – an interactive multi-passenger infotainment hub with a series of touchscreens under a continuous panel of transparent acrylic glass, which in conjunction with the secure in-car Wi-Fi network, enables the vehicle’s passengers to connect and share experiences with each other and the outside world via social media.
The in-car digital audio system has been specially designed for the vehicle by Meridian, and the car’s centre console is configured for a Heads Up Display projector just for good measure.
But ultimately this is just a test bed for a number of projects, Thomson candidly tells us over a coffee at the launch of the Wallpaper Handmade showcase in Harrods.
The exhibition, shown off in 12 of the Knightsbridge store's windows, brings together several design pieces, some by Jaguar's own designers.
The concept is also there to bring some distraction to a project that, in some cases, can take more than five years to complete. Thomson is already working on cars that aren't due on the road until 2020.
Locked in a room, concepts, and in particular the C-X17, allows Thomson's team to experiment a bit more freely without the worry of having to create a car that will sell. Something he clearly njoys.
As for designing a car that won't be available for another seven years, it is fun but challenging, explains Thomson. The Jaguar man believes technology will eventually level the playing field for many, forcing brands like Jaguar to make sure it's about the emotion and design rather than just sitting in a "Googled car".
Thomson says electric self-driving cars won't be the de facto in seven years' time, but he does believe there will be huge advancements in assisted driving features including using GPS to know what the road is ahead and automatically adjusting the suspension to create a more comfortable ride.
The bottom line? Expect your car, especially if it's a Jaguar, to get a lot more intelligent, utilising the cloud and other technologies to help your driving become a lot easier before you hand over the reins completely.