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Spied: Jaguar C-X17 mule

Jaguar\'s SUV is officially on the road to production.

Following its concept debut late last year in Frankfurt, our spy photographers have sent us the first images of Jaguar's upcoming C-X17 SUV undergoing shakedown testing. Although seen here as a test mule comprised of mashed-up Land Rover Evoque parts, elements of the C-X17 can be seen in the SUV's front end. The production C-X17 should have plenty of design ties to the rest of Jaguar's lineup, including narrowed headlights and an oversized grille inspired by the XJ and muscular rear haunches and taillights that recall the F-Type.

Judging by the extended C-pillar on this mule, the C-X17 will be a bit longer than the Evoque five-door. That should give the C-X17 a leg up in terms of cargo-carrying abilities. Despite Jaguar's close relationship with Land Rover, the C-X17 isn't expected to have any real off-road chops. Instead, it will be a more style and luxury-oriented model tasked with expanding Jaguar's lineup. The C-X17's production nameplate isn't known. Jaguar isn't talking about what lurks under the C-X17's hood, but the automaker is willing to reveal that the concept is fitted with its "intelligent” all-wheel-drive system along with a brake-based torque-vectoring setup. Our spies say this prototype is fitted with a 2.0L turbocharged engne. We weren't able to secure any interior spy shots, but the C-X17 concept was fitted with a whimsical cabin. It combined premium materials like two-tone Connolly leather upholstery and milled aluminum with futuristic, flowing lines and a panoramic sunroof with unique sculpted vanes. A quartet of bucket seats are separated in the middle by what Jaguar calls an "interactive surface console,” which allows occupants to upload pictures, video and sound files and "flick” them forwards or rearwards to share with the front or rear passengers. All-New Aluminum Architecture The C-X17 will ride on a new aluminum architecture that Jaguar says will make its production debut in its upcoming C/D segment luxury sedan. Both modular and scalable, the architecture is rigid, lightweight and more sustainable than before, incorporating a new high-strength alloy made almost exclusively from recycled materials. Intended to support a wide bandwidth of models and derivatives, it's flexible enough to enable different vehicles to be produced on the same line at the same time, and also allows for the production mix to be quickly adapted to changes in market demand. Jaguar's 3-Series-fighting-sedan, dubbed the XE, will launch with the architecture in global markets in 2015, and will arrive in North American showrooms in 2016. To go along with its new underpinnings, the four-door will introduce a new family of gasoline and diesel four-cylinder motors while also offering Jaguar's new supercharged 3.0-liter V6.

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