Drumroll please. Jaguar has just pulled the silk off its first ever sports crossover. To which you have to ask the question: So what took you so long?
Of course they’re calling it a ‘concept’, the C-X17 Concept. But this very sleek and sexy sport-ute rolling on monster 23-inch wheels and stealing the spotlights at this week’s Frankfurt auto show in Germany (65th annual International Motor Show), is pretty much what you’ll be able to buy in a couple of years time.
Jaguar is on a roll right now, making money and looking to grow. So the plan is to take the next big step and produce a whole new line-up of BMW 3-Series rivals, kicking off with an all-new four-door sports sedan in 2015.
The big difference is that Jag will take the bold and very expensive step of building this new model range in lightweight aluminum - just like the big XJ sedan, the sporty F-TYPE roadster and elegant XK line-up.
The C-X17 cross-over - expect it to be badged something like XE - will be part of this new family, along with a coupe, convertible, and inevitable R-models, competing with the likes of BMW’s X3, Audi’s Q5 and Porsche’s upcoming Mecan crossover.
It’s a terrific-looking SUV - most definitely the Jaguar of cross-overs. I love the muscular haunches over the rear wheels, the very sexy rear with styling cues from the new F-TYPE sports car, the raked windshield, and the classic Jaguar power bulges on the hood.
Inside it’s all auto show glitz, with four slim bucket seats and rear-facing pop-up ‘leisure’ seats for tailgate partying. Plus there’s the obligatory screens on the center console - Jaguar calls it ‘Interactive Surface Console’ - with internet connectivity so passengers can enjoy the journey updating their Facebook pages, Tweeting or Instagraming.
But the quality and sheer variety of the materials used in the cabin is just tremendous. And nice that Jaguar has called-on renowned, oh-so-British leather specialists Connolly for the hides.
Powering this new Jag crossover with be a brand new range of high-economy four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, plus the supercharged 3-liter V6 that powers the new F-TYPE roadster.
Couple these with that lightweight, super-strong aluminum body structure, and this should be one Jaguar crossover that purrs.