A new and promising method for the protection of superconducting high-field magnets is developed and tested on the so-called MQXC quadrupole magnet in the CERN magnet test facility. The method relies on a capacitive discharge system inducing during a few periods an oscillation of the transport current in the superconducting cable of the coil. The corresponding fast change of the local magnetic field introduces a high coupling-current loss, which, in turn, causes a fast quench of a large fraction of the coil due to enhanced temperature. Results of measured discharges at various levels of transport current are presented and compared to discharges by quenching the coils using conventional quench heaters and an energy extraction system. The hot-spot temperature in the quenching coil is deduced from the coil voltage and current. The results are compared to simulations carried out using a lumped-element dynamic electro-thermal model of the so-called MQXC magnet developed with Cadence© PSpice. The calculated voltages and currents are in good agreement with the measured data. Simulation and test results show that this new protection system, called CLIQ, is a feasible method to reduce the hot-spot temperature in high-field superconducting magnets, even more when used in combination with conventional quench heaters.