Frankfurt auto show: Jaguar prepares to enter SUV market

British luxury brand tests the water for beefy new model

New Jaguar SUV likely to be called Q-Type or XQ

New Jaguar SUV likely to be called Q-Type or XQ

 

The most significant thing about Jaguar’s revealing of its CX-17 concept car is not that it’s Jaguar’s first-ever SUV. No, that fact had been much trailed, rumoured and leaked over the past few months, so much so that the unveiling of the actual car had the faint whiff of anti-climax about it. No, the most significant thing is that Jaguar is still not, officially, saying that the car is going into production, badged either as Q-Type or XQ.

“The C-X17 sports crossover represents an exciting new direction for Jaguar” Jaguar MD Adrian Hallmark said at the car’s reveal. “Its purpose is to highlight our all-new aluminium architecture. With this technical foundation, we will dramatically expand Jaguar’s product offering, market potential and customer appeal. This new philosophy will bring technology from our luxury products into an accessible price segment, and when combined with our new ultra-efficient engines, we will set a global standard. Add to these rational values, the class-leading dynamics, and the beauty and purity of form that Jaguar is renowned for, and we have the formula for a monumental leap forward.”

You see? Not a word of actual production, giving Jaguar, it seems, an ‘out’ at the last minute if it is to be decided that the car treads too heavily on sister brand Land Rover’s toes.

That does seem rather unlikely though, and the CX-17 seems to be more or less production ready, taking a mix of XF and F-Type styling cues and melding them into a largely successful overall shape on a car that makes an obvious and compelling rival for Audi’s Q5 and BMW’s X3. It is also a car for which Jaguar’s dealers, especially those in the US, have been crying out for for some time.

As a showcase for Jaguar’s ever-increasing commitment to aluminium construction, it does make a useful statement, and in that sense marks a throwback to the original 1948 XK120. That car, also constructed largely of aluminium, was only supposed to be a technology demonstrator, showing off the then-new XK straight-six engine. A public clamour ensured its production life and one suspects litle will be different now.

In technical terms, the CX-17’s alloy underpinnings are both modular and scalable, providing a high degree of flexibility and making it possible to produce a wider bandwidth of models and derivatives than ever before. It is lightweight, extremely stiff and incorporates innovative technologies that emphasises Jaguar’s commitment to sustainability, such as a new high-strength alloy made from almost 100 per cent recycled raw material.

The engines will represent a new beginning for Jaguar too, with the first use of the new 2.0-litre ‘HotFire’ family, in both diesel and petrol forms. Turbocharged for both efficiency and power, the new range of engines will stretch from sub-100g/km models (especially the much-touted 2015 compact saloon 3 Series rival) all the way up to high-powered 300kmh models,

The interior is also a step forward for Jaguar, taking the XF’s overall design and feel but paring it back, making it more minimalist and, in doing so, adding layers and layers of desirability. The days of woody, fussy Jaguar cabins are long, long gone.

And are the days of the Jaguar 4x4 truly here? Undoubtedly so, however coy the press release.

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