Our very own Motor Mouth has to be one of the luckiest men on the entire planet. For whatever reason, over the last decade automakers have invited him to drive pretty much every supercar extant, most of them on a racetrack where, yes, he gets to live pretty much every gearhead’s fantasy of letting loose on the highest revving and most thoroughly turbocharged cars available. Here, then, is Driving.ca’s take on the Top 10 supercars of the last decade (and perhaps a few just a tad older).
Probably the rarest car I have ever driven — only five prototypes were ever built — Jaguar’s stillborn C-X75 is probably a surprising choice, mainly because other than the bastardized version, a hodge-podge powered by Jag’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8, almost no one has ever seen one.
Nonetheless, what should have been Jaguar’s most powerful production car appealed to both my inner engineer and the hormonal teenager I become whenever I get the chance to exercise humongous horsepower. Like other, more famous hyper-hybrids — Ferrari’s LaFerrari, the Porsche 918 and McLaren’s P1 — the C-X75 combined both gas and electric power for its incredible performance. Unlike those others, Jaguar’s take on super-electrification remained faithful to the hybrid ethos by combining a small four-cylinder gas engine with two fairly powerful electric motors (the others combined either V8s or V12s with relatively little electrification).
But what a motor the four-banger was. Essentially the 1.6L powerplant that Williams built for Formula One’s then-anticipated move to four cylinders, Jaguar took the high-tech engine, removed the pneumatic valve springs (not nearly practical for a production vehicle, even a supercar), slapped on both a supercharger and a turbocharger and wrung some 600 horsepower out of the little bugger. Revved to 11,000 rpm, it sounded like a BMW superbike with an Akropovic pipe. Combined with electric motors fore and aft, there was 896 hp on hand and, with a 20 kilowatt-hour battery on board, it actually had decent electric range.
It even sounded like a beast when it was charging, Jaguar having built a sound transducer into the roof that vibrated the body panels when it was plugged-in. It sounded, well, a little like the mating call of a killer whale or some alien predator looking for Ferraris to devour. Quite amazing in every way, the C-X75 gets my vote for the missed opportunity of all time and the supercar I would most like to own.