Paris motor show: Jaguar C-X75
The Paris motor show may have found its star.
Jaguar's C-X75 concept has been unveiled at a swanky private viewing to a rapturous reception from the assembled press.
It's a supercar, but a very different type of supercar. Firstly, the styling: it is elegant and sophisticated rather than 'in your face' for people who appreciate great design rather than those who just want to pose.
The smooth, sensuous shape is genuinely feline and carries echoes of great Jaguars of the past. The tapering rear wings echo the 1960s XJ13 sports-racing car, the rear window is very E-Type and the curve over the rear wheels is a little XK-like.
However, the C-X75 wears its history lightly – it is not like some Porsches where company trademarks are stamped onto the shape of the car, regardless of whether they fit.
Anyone who did not know Jaguar's history would just think that every aspect of the C-X75 was there because it was the ideal design.
Under the skin, the car is more radical. The powertrain is a hybrid, but with a twist. Instead of a pure battery vehicle, or a petrol/electric powertrain, it has unique British-invented micro-turbines.
These come from a British company called Bladon and they claim to have cracked the problem that has stopped turbines being used in cars for the last 50 years.
Turbines have always been too expensive because they have been essentially hand-made, but Bladon says it can produce turbines with a fully-automated process.
If it really can reduce the cost, turbines could finally appear in hybrid cars – the advantage of a turbine hybrid is that the engine would be way more efficient than any petrol or diesel.
Jaguar is talking of 204 mph and 28g/km of CO2 when running on turbine power – about one-tenth of a conventional supercar.
Officially, this is only a concept car. However, after a few drinks Jaguar people were admitting that they really want to put it onto production.
If enough people turn up at the stand waving platinum credit cards, then a production version (probably with a conventional engine to begin with) is not far away.