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Wednesday 12th December 2012


PH BLOG: PUTTING THE HYPE INTO HYPERCARS

Given what else is coming Harris reckons Jag was right to can the C-X75, pocket the PR boost and move on


'O, Howl, howl, howl!' the motoring media cries, resurrecting memories of the XJ220 and speculating what might have been. 'Jaguar has decided kill the C-X75, it's a tragedy!'

The only problem being: Jaguar was never going to build the C-X75.

Was Jag really up to taking on McLaren?
Was Jag really up to taking on McLaren?
This was a car in the great tradition of the motor show special - the F-Type was not yet ready to be shown, the remainder of the range was using Zimmer frames, so Jag knocked out a supercar to keep the troops interested, albeit one of the best looking, most exciting sounding supercars (in terms of specification) of modern times. That it is a shame we shall never see a C-X75 on the road is not in doubt. That people genuinely thought it would make production must warm the cockles of every conman's heart.

The positive fall-out from this announcement is that it forces us to scrutinise the new generation of hybrid hypercars. 2014 will potentially see three of them launched: the McLaren P1, the new Enzo and the 918 Spyder. Even if it had planned to build the C-X75, I honestly think Jaguar would be making the correct decision to can the project just reading the names of those three products. I mean - who is going to buy all of these cars? The stock answer to that question in the year 2012 is 'The Chinese' but sadly those Chinese who can afford such toys still have more interest in being driven in very large, comfortable cars than scratching about in racing slippers.

Bang in the middle of the worst global recession in generations, perhaps ever, the car industry is about to produce a surplus of £1m hypercars. You have to admire the sheer chutzpah, no?

Wouldn't it just be better without the batteries?
Wouldn't it just be better without the batteries?
What makes this emerging class of hybrid performance machines so risky is they do not mark a continuation from a previous generation of products in the way F50 followed F40. They are completely new standalone machines espousing new technologies designed to preface the next stage of fast motoring. They will do things their predecessors could not do - the problem being that those new tricks might not correlate with the requirements of the potential owner. Slipping silently away from rest in a 918 Spyder is a very, very cool trick, but one I suspect will wear thin in the face of all that extra mass and the realisation that, in performance terms, the 918 will not hold a huge advantage over a Carrera GT.

People currently buy hypercars for the theatre and hyperbole. They want numbers to quote, noise to make and body panels to be gloated over. In many respects it is the simplest area of the marketplace, and now it is being complicated and re-categorised into something new. We'll need to drive these new cars next year to decide whether the new technologies smother the essential lunacy of a hypercar. Right now I remain a little suspicious but, as ever, willing and hopeful of being proved wrong.

Listing these complications and conundrums, it seems Jaguar has made the correct decision to avoid this million euro dust-up. Well, it would have - if it had ever intended to build the thing in the first place. Which it didn't.

Chris

 

 

Author: Chris Harris
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