Jaguar has a bit of a tricky history with supercars. The only previous example it actually built was the XJ220, which remains an impressive specimen even 20 years later, even though it never quite lived up to what the original concept car promised those who put down their deposits. Then in 2010 the British automaker unveiled the C-X75 and our hearts stopped.
The show car packed an intriguing twin-turbine powerplant into an alluring svelte shape, which only begged the question: would Jaguar build it, and if so, would it incorporate such an experimental propulsion system?
We had what we thought was the full answer last year when Jaguar announced that it would indeed produce the C-X75, but that the turbines wouldn't make it to the road, replaced instead by a hybrid drivetrain including a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Disappointing, sure, but a little less so considering that the Williams F1 team would help develop the powertrain.
Now it seems that, while the hybrid turbo four will power most of the 250 examples of the C-X75 earmarked for production, a limited quantity will actually include micro-turbines as envisioned in the concept car. The jet engines (which will drive the rear wheels, so don't go expecting flames shooting out the back, Batmobile style) are reportedly being produced by the Bladon Jets Engineering Centre in Coventry – a company based near Jaguar's headquarters and partially owned by Jaguar's parent company Tata.
Although the turbines are only expected to produce 95 horsepower each (they are just a bit smaller than the ones you might find in a jet airplane), they need none of the cooling or lubrication systems required by traditional internal-combustion engines, leaving them lighter and easier to package – and making plenty of room for additional electric power to help the turbine-hybrid C-X75 hit 60 in just three seconds while returning exceptional fuel economy and emissions figures.
It'll be a few years still before this super-cat hits the road, but when it does, we're looking at something that will re-write the rule book even more than the XJ220 that came before.