War in premium compact sports utility vehicle segment begins in Frankfurt

Article by Anita Panait, on September 15, 2013

The premium compact sports utility vehicle segment could not get any more exciting and more competitive as luxury carmakers Jaguar and Lexus unveiled their latest offerings at this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The British carmaker Jaguar unveiled at the show the C-X17 Concept, which is expected to provide a glimpse to an offering that targets the BMW X3 and Audi Q5.

Once the C-X17 Concept transforms into a production model, Jaguar will have its first entry in the luxury SUV segment. On the other hand, the Lexus LF-NX Concept provides a preview of an SUV offering that will target the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Lexus has yet to bring in an entry in the premium compact SUV class.

The Audi Q3 was regarded as the best-selling premium compact SUV in Europe in the first half of 2013. It is followed by the BMW X1, X3 and Q5 as well as the Range Rover Evoque. 

Mercedes-Benz also unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show its GLA model that is also targeted against the X1 and Q3. The GLA will be Mercedes’ second entry in the segment after the GLK, which was seventh in European sales in the first half of 2013. The premium SUV class accounted for 213,886 sales in Europe in the first half of 2013 and is expected to post strong gains in 2014 and beyond.

As intended, the Jaguar C-X17 concept demonstrates that the aluminum-intensive architecture could underpin a diverse number of vehicles. This platform has allowed the C-X17 concept to adopt a sporty design and fuse it elegantly with sleek likes while boasting of a high level of flexibility, an assured driving position as well as modern luxury. With its design supervised by Jaguar’s Director of Design Ian Callum, this four-seater sports crossover concept in all its glory is a Jaguar.

Jaguar has made sure that the C-X17 concept has a low height, optimized centre of gravity and employs groundbreaking dynamic technologies that ensure sedan car-like handling and refined on-the-road dynamics. One of the technologies employed on the crossover concept is Torque Vectoring by Braking, which could balance the distribution of engine torque to the wheels during cornering – resulting to reduced understeer and maximized grip – through smart use of the car’s brake system.

In terms of dimensions, the Jaguar C-X17 concept is undeniably a crossover, as evidenced by its length of 4,718 mm and height of 1,649 mm. Despite featuring crossover dimensions, the C-X17 concept is blessed with a design that has a strong resemblance with the carmaker’s current range. For example, the C- concept’s grille reinterprets that on the Jaguar XJ luxury sedan. Likewise, the sculptured haunch lines on the Jaguar C-X17 concept is adopted from the Jaguar F-Type sports car.

When viewed on the road, the C-X17 unmistakably exudes a sporting, aggressive presence as propagated by its low-sitting stance, overall profile as well as 23-inch alloy wheels. In addition, the C-X17 is able to communicate its purposeful intent through its headlamps that employ LED technology, J-shaped running lights as well as frosted-glass fog lights located in the large front intakes. The new Jaguar C-X17 sports crossover concept is wrapped in a lustrous Caesium Blue finish, with gloss black brightwork bordering its windows. Its 23-inch alloy wheels feature a split five-spoke as wrapped in Dark Atlas graphite with gloss black finishers.

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