TopGear drives the Jaguar C-X75
"We aren't just delivering a supercar, we're developing real-world technologies," Newsome says. Indeed. These axial-flux motors are a huge step ahead. So are the electronics and their cooling: instead of using heat sinks into conventional water-based coolant, the coolant is non-conducting, so it can be passed directly through the electronics without shorting it all out. The effectiveness of that cooling means the battery and motors can run at full power - nearly a quarter of a megawatt, don't forget - for sustained periods. Then there's all this downsizing tech on the engine. Remember, Jaguar Land Rover is presently building a giant factory in Wolverhampton to make four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. They might not boast 500bhp, but they'll still have healthy performance and strong economy, thanks to findings from the C-X75. And with one of these electric motors between them and the gearbox, they'll answer the accelerator pretty smartly too.
One more thing. The carbon-fibre structure of the C-X75 isn't a one-piece thing like a 918's or a McLaren's. Those use a process called resin-transfer moulding because it's relatively cheap and can be made in high numbers. The Jag was designed to be made from panels and sections of compression-moulded carbon fibre, a technique from Williams. Uniquely, such carbon parts can be easily incorporated, says Newsome, into an aluminium body shell. Who's the world leader in aluminium body shells? Jaguar Land Rover. Just saying.
The decision to kill C-X75 production must have felt to Jaguar like strangling a puppy. But there simply weren't likely to be enough buyers for this and the Porsche and the McLaren (and there still aren't, even if Ferrari, characteristically, is exempt from such struggle). But the fast-track engineering it embodies will certainly live on in hundreds of thousands of people's Jaguars and Land Rovers. In very, very few years from now. But even so, right now I'm very sad that we'll never be given the chance to have our day brightened by the sight of its wonderful shape gliding by, or experience it disappear in a vision-blurring, ear-splitting testament to the new-world power it embodies.
(Words: Paul Horrell, Photography: Lee Brimble)