I lost count of just how many hours I spent on planes trying to get to where I needed to be to drive this car, but if Jaguar calls me again, I’m ready to fly to the moon and back for it, no problem. If it involves the Jaguar C-X75, the magical prototype supercar that stars in Spectre, I’m there.
[Full disclosure: Jaguar flew me to Mexico City, put me up in the hotel where all the Formula One people stayed, then took me to the Williams garage at the Mexican Grand Prix on Saturday.]
Yes, I have driven the C-X75. But before I tell you what that was like, it is necessary for me to recount the unlikely story of how it went from a promising but troubled concept to Hollywood glory.
A Long Road To Reality
There are many supercars out there that failed to make it past the prototype stage, but nothing quite like the C-X75. Its continuing story started with a concept built in house by Jaguar for their 75th anniversary which debuted at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.
The original 2010 concept.
Powered by a combination of a micro gas turbine engine and an electric motor on each wheel for a combined output of 780 horsepower, it was more of a study of what future hybrids can be than anything else. Only one car was made, and when they had to take it out for this photoshoot, turning it around on the road took forever because its giant wheels gave it a steering angle next to nothing.
The reason why it could never be more than a concept car was that although those jets worked just fine generating electricity in an efficient manner, they also operated at such high temperatures that the car was always close to melting point. Once solution could have been to get the jet out of the car and use it as a compact external charger for the batteries set up in your garage.
But since this was the time when Bernie Ecclestone just couldn’t tell manufacturers whether they have to build a V6 or a four-cylinder hybrid for the 2014 Formula One season, Jaguar let the turbine idea go and turned to Williams instead. The C-X75 became Williams Advanced Engineering’s first major project.