Jaguar teased us a few years ago with the C-X75 but now it could actually create a sucessor to the XJ220 that might be made with help from an unexpected ally

It’s been 25 years since Jaguar discontinued its last supercar, the great XJ220 amid poor sales at a time when people really weren’t eager to buy $1 million mid-engined monsters. Nowadays, there are more millionaires than ever in the world and Jaguar, while focusing on expanding its EV lineup, could be planning a shock return to the world of high-performance supercars with something inspired by the jaw-dropping and all-electric Vision Gran Turismo presented late last month. This may well become the halo car for a new era of the Leaping Cat.

We know the world wants more than just an F-Type replacement from Jaguar

1961 - 1968 Jaguar E-Type High Resolution Exterior
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We’re always told to dream big and aim for the stars.

If you look at Jaguar's current lineup you don't really see that aspiration to shock the world like the E-Type did when unveiled at the 1961 Geneva Auto Show.

In fact, the only bona fide sports car Jaguar currently makes is the six-year-old F-Type, a car that replaced the XK grand tourer but with a smaller package, acting as a spiritual successor to the E-Type. A few souped-up versions of the F-Type including the 573-horsepower SVR have graced the auto show floors since 2013 but that’s all a company once known for winning Le Mans three times on the trot has had to offer.

This status quo, frustrating for Jaguar fans of old that remember the company’s unassailable link with the world of motorsports, may, however, change if Jaguar will get to the drawing board and create a supercar. As a matter of fact, the Britons have done just that and the end result is a voluptuous grand tourer that you can drive yourself. No, we’re not suggesting you can drive if after plotting a successful bank heist because this latest supercar from Birmingham was created to be enjoyed in the virtual premises of Gran Turismo.

Enter the Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo Coupe

Could the Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo Signal Jaguar's Return To The Supercar Arena?
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Called the Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo Coupe, it joins a fleet of other awe-inspiring cars made by prominent automakers for use in the successful Playstation sim racing game. The car isn’t, though, as extreme as the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo Audi’s e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo, the Hyundai N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo or the Peugeot L 750R Vision Gran Turismo. Instead, it looks like something that could actually preview a running and driving production model, a bit like Mercedes’ Vision GT from 2013.

This got us thinking. Could Jaguar be telling us something between the lines with the reveal of this swooping two-door, two-seater road bullet?

The Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo Coupe could preview not only its future design language but also a future model, namely a supercar - a successor to the XJ220!

The proposition of a Ferrari-threatening Jag inspired by the cues of the legendary D-Type sure is tempting, especially when you glance at the numbers. Building on the technical foundations and knowhow from its I-TYPE 4 Formula E and I-PACE eTROPHY racing cars, Jaguar says the GT Vision Coupe’s all-electric drivetrain develops 1,006 horsepower and 885 pound-feet of torque, enough to send the 3,086-pound beauty from naught to 62 mph in under two seconds.

Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo specifications
Engine Three electric motors
Horsepower 1,005 HP
Torque 885 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph < 2 seconds
Top Speed >200 mph

The positioning of the three electric motors, one on the front axle and two in the back, allows for a nearly 50:50 weight balance and, with so much oomph, a top speed in excess of 200 mph is possible. All these numbers are impressive and, given the fast-paced development of electric technology, aren’t confined to the world of video games. The Pininfarina Battista with its 120-kWh Rimac-sourced battery, trumps the Jaguar Vision GT Coupe with a total output of 1,877 horsepower and 1,696 pound-feet of torque from four electric motors. The top speed of the Battista is said to be 217 mph and 0-60 mph should take about two seconds flat. In other words, it’s all possible.

An XJ220 Successor Doesn’t Sound Completely Feasible, but It Worked for Lexus with the LF-A

We think it’d be a great way for Jaguar to firmly step in the EV age with a bang, a car that will endure across generations just like the XJ220 or the D-Type have before it. You could argue that, in today’s topsy-turvy economic landscape, Jaguar Land Rover can’t afford to fund such a project but, then again, this is the sort of car that comes along once in a generation for a brand, a car that can then be referred to whenever needed to boost brand image. Lexus pulled out all of Toyota’s stops to make the LF-A a tangible reality and, even though it’s been almost nine years since it was released, the Japanese still think there’s no need for another Lexus halo car - that’s how strongly the LF-A impacted the public image of a company previously considered to be boring and unimaginative.

The Jaguar C-X75 Was Jag’s Way of Teasing an XJ220 Successor

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Let’s not forget that Jaguar toyed with the idea of building an XJ220 successor in the real world quite recently with the eye-catching C-X75.

Originally presented at the 2010 Paris Auto Show as a gas turbine-powered AWD hybrid, the C-X75 was one of the best-looking Ian Callum designs since the 1997 Nissan R390 GT1 he penned during his tenure as Chief Designer at Tom Walkinshaw Racing.

Following the extremely positive response to the prototype, Jaguar dedicated two years to fully develop the car into a 900-horsepower rival to the Holy Trinity.

Touted as "the world’s fastest test-bed for the world’s most advanced technologies," the C-X75 was the first Jag underpinned by a carbon fiber composite monocoque. Power came from a Formula 1-inspired, 1.6-liter, dual-boosted (turbocharged and supercharged) four-cylinder that put out 502 horsepower at an ear-splitting 10,000 rpm. A further 390 horsepower is delivered virtue of a pair of electric motors fed by a 19-kWh lithium-ion battery, the highest continuously rated power PHEV pack at the time with up to 300 kW of power. Combined torque was rated at 738 pound-feet.

The 1.6-liter mill was chosen because, as C-X75 Program Director Rob Atkin pointed out, Jaguar wanted the C-X75 to not only accelerate as fast as a Veyron, but also to match the CO2 emissions of a Prius and be able to drive as many miles in full EV mode as a Chevy Volt, namely 38 miles. With the carbon monocoque in place (development prototypes featured aluminum body panels), the whole thing tipped the scales at just under 3,750 pounds or about as much as a standard Porsche 918 Spyder. 0-60 mph is done in 3.0 seconds (six seconds in full EV mode) and 0-100 mph in under six seconds (a Veyron needed about 5.2 seconds to complete the feat). Top speed was said to be in excess of 200 mph.

2010 Jaguar C-X75 High Resolution Exterior
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But it never happened.

Due to the deep financial plight JLR was going through in the early 2010s, it was decided that the project should be canned and, in December of 2012, all work on the C-X75 stopped.

A mere five cars were built before the program was called off. Then, for the 2015 instalment of the James Bond franchise, ’Spectre, Williams Advanced Engineering built a further four stunt cars to be used during filming, all with a tubular space frame chassis and the Jaguar F-Type’s 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 making some 542 horsepower in the middle. Sadly, we never got to experience one of the 250 production C-X75s but all signs suggest that it would’ve been a jaw-dropper, despite not being as scintillatingly fast as the P1 or the LaFerrari. The C-X75 set out to tick a series of boxes that McLaren or Ferrari could care less about and that’s why it was awesome.

Jaguar Could Team Up With Aston Martin to Build an XJ220 Successor

Could the Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo Signal Jaguar's Return To The Supercar Arena?
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So, looking at the stillborn C-X75, it may be wiser to think that Jaguar may bring to the market a swansong for the ICE, a car that channels all of the great Leaping Cats that came before it as a goodbye to the loud gas-guzzlers. While we were entertaining this second scenario, we reckoned Jaguar could try and rekindle its relationship with Aston Martin that was seen merely eight years ago as vital for the long-term success of both brands, especially Aston Martin.

Since then, however, Aston Martin proved it could keep its head above the water well enough on its own, under the guidance of Andy Palmer. It is now a key partner of Formula 1 outfit Red Bull Racing and, utilizing its extensive expertise and its genius designer Adrian Newey, it set out to build one of the world’s most dazzling hypercars in the Valkyrie.

Now, if Jaguar were to step in and form a partnership with Aston Martin there's potential for a Jaguar-badged hypercar that would share DNA with the Valkyrie or, maybe, the smaller Valhalla.

It may sound like pure sci-fi to most of you but bear with us, after all, even the thought of a naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V-12 developing 1,160 horsepower at 10,500 rpm seemed scarcely believable until it actually happened.

Why the Aston Martin Valkyrie Would Be a Good Fit as a Base for an XJ220 Sucessor

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For those living under a rock, the Valkyrie is Aston Martin’s crown jewel, the most outlandish product of the company based in Gaydon, England.

With a specific output figure of 153.8 horsepower per liter, the Valkyrie blows cars like Lamborghini's Aventador SV out of the water and stands alone as the most powerful naturally aspirated car of all time (the McLaren F1, mind you, made do with just 618 horsepower).

With clever underbody aerodynamics via huge venturi tunnels, the Valkyrie also benefits from an F1-style KERS system that adds 160 horsepower to the total output and 207 pound-feet torque for a ground-shaking 664 pound-feet.

Aston Martin will only build 150 Valkyries as well as 25 Valkyrie AMR Pro track weapons that should top out at 225 mph, reach 60 mph from a standing start in under 2.5 seconds and obliterate most lap records. With the standard Valkyrie’s $3.2 million price tag, it’s hard to believe that a Jaguar-badged derivative could be much cheaper.

The Aston Martin Valhalla Would Probably Be a Better Fit as the Basis for an XJ220 Successor

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We think a more realistic option in case of a Jaguar-Aston Martin collaboration would be the Valhalla, formerly known as the Aston Martin RB-003. Also conceived by Adrian Newey and the rest of the brains at Red Bull Racing, the Valhalla is the baby brother of the Valkyrie and we think that this car could be the base of a future Jaguar supercar co-engineered with Aston Martin. For the record, the Valhalla is said to start from $1.3 million and will weigh under 3,000 pounds thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber.

A V-6 engine combined with a hybrid system will power the car that’s said to be made in just 500 copies. With a state-of-the-art oil system that allows the fluid to be drained in less than 90 seconds, the Valhalla is bound to take the mid-engined establishment by storm but we reckon that its Jaguar brother will be a more laid-back car or, in other words, not quite as poised in order for the two to not compete head-to-head performance-wise so that they don’t undermine one another on the market.

The Jaguar XJ220 Didn’t Meet All Expectations, and Jaguar May Be Hesitant to Revisit the Supercar Realm

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What’s certain is that the game’s moved on a lot since Jaguar became the maker of the fastest production car for a little while with the XJ220. That sleek machine supposedly capable of a top speed of 220 mph (hence the name), was massively successful at the time of its unveiling in 1988 with over 1,000 people interested in buying it despite the obscene $1 million MSRP (adjusted for inflation).

Jaguar - and all of us - remember, though, that interest scuttered by the time the XJ220 entered production due to the economic crisis of the early ’90s.

People were also dissatisfied with Jaguar's decision to replace the Group C-sourced 6.2-liter V-12 for a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine good for 542 horsepower at 7,200 rpm and 475 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm.

Despite not featuring AWD as originally planned, the XJ220 was still quite hefty and the manufacturer’s claimed 0-60 mph time of 3.6 seconds was never achieved in the real world - the same applying for that 220 mph top speed as the XJ220 never surpassed 217 mph even without catalytic converters.

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Still, a 7:36-minute lap around the 'Green Hell' meant the big Jag was the fastest car around the old Northern Loop around the Eifel Mountains but less than 300 were built.

Nowadays, you’ll find that the track-oriented XJR-15 is considered to be the genuine Jag Group C car for the road, not the XJ220. Barely 25 examples of the XJR-15 were prepped for road use but they still featured the 6.0-liter naturally aspirated V-12 making 450 horsepower. It wasn’t as fast as the XJ220 but it was raw.

Racing, though, was a big part of Jaguar at the time when the XJR-15 and the XJ220 were designed, built, and received the ’go’ sign from the board of directors. Nowadays, and due to the failure of these past projects, we’d think Jaguar would be a lot more hesitant to allow itself to pour money into a halo car. The financial situation wasn’t looking too good seven years ago when the C-X75 program was stopped and, by and large, not much has changed since although we will always hope that Jaguar gets back to doing what it does best: building hellishly fast race-bred road cars!

Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai has even branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer from time to time, however, his heart is still close to anything car-related. He's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing or talking about the latest developments in racing technology. Mihai has a strong love for motorsport, but he’s also very interested in classic cars and will spend hours telling you the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today. As TopSpeed’s Motorsport expert, Mihai is often away from the office attending various racing events and taking some of the best motorsport photos on the internet. Since he joined TopSpeed, Mihai has now taken on full-time reporting and was even offered an Assistant Team Manager position but ultimately turned it down as he felt his skills were better used doing on-the-spot reporting at motorsport events.  Read More
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