Jaguar could be ready to make a major shift in direction, at least if the C-X17 concept vehicle it plans to unleash at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show is any indication.
The British automaker has long restricted itself to a narrow niche of luxury sedans, coupes and sports cars, only reluctantly adding a pair of wagons over the previous decade. But the Jaguar C-X17 suggests that a new crossover-utility vehicle may finally be in the works, a belated concession that the highline automotive market has rapidly transformed itself in recent years, bigger competitors such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz racing to fill in every possible niche.
According to a terse release accompanying this teaser image, “The C-X17 has been created as a design study to introduce Jaguar’s new, highly-advanced, modular aluminum architecture. The concept illustrates the diversity of vehicles that could be produced using this architecture, which underpins the innovative future of the Jaguar brand.”
Set for a formal debut on Monday, September 9th, the C-X17 appears to lift some key design elements from other recent additions to the Jaguar line-up, the taillights, for example, seemingly lifted directly from the new F-Type sports car. The rear pillar, meanwhile, picks up on the XF Sportbrake – or what Americans would call wagon.
Jaguar officials have been dropping hints that a crossover might be in the works for some time, clearly trying to sound out reaction from the media and potential buyers. What is significant is that it appears the underlying platform, reportedly dubbed the Premium Lightweight Architecture, or PLA, is unique to Jaguar and not just lifted from the maker’s partner brand Land Rover. That would suggest that the PLA will also be shared by other new Jaguar products.
Indeed, brand boss Adrian Hallmark has told TheDetroitBureau.com that there are a number of other new products coming at Jaguar which is now owned by the ambitious Indian automaker Tata Motors. We’ve gotten hints of that with the launch of the F-Type – a hardtop reportedly in the works – and other concepts such as the C-X16 and Project 7.
Clearly, Jaguar and its Indian parent recognize they have to deliver more volume – and cash – to compete in today’s luxury market.
(Click Here for more about Jaguar looking to add buyers with a new crossover.)
Considering the need to differentiate the two brands, it’s unlikely the Jaguar C-X17 will be billed as a serious off-roader. That would remain Land Rover’s mission. But with all-wheel-drive already available on the XJ and other models, the Jaguar crossover almost certainly will be presented in AWD form, a production model also to offer that traction-enhancing feature.
Power could come from a range of alternatives, from the European Jaguar 2.2-liter diesel up to the big V-8s found in the likes of the XJ, XF and even the new F-Type. All would almost certainly be paired to the new ZF 9-speed automatic Jaguar and Land Rover have been adopting.
(Jaguar adding entry-level sedan to lineup. For more, Click Here.)
Barring some delays – or a particularly poor reception – don’t be surprised to see a production version of the Jaguar C-X17 reach showrooms, insiders hint, within the next years, very possibly badged as a 2015 model.