By 20 February 2011 56 Comments Read More →

Jaguar : Bertone B99 to be shown at Geneva Motor Show

Keith Adams

Bertone's Jaguar B99 hints at previous retro

Bertone’s Jaguar B99 hints at previous retro

The sensational Jaguar C-X75 Concept was undoubtedly the star of the Paris Motor Show in 2010 but Bertone is now hoping to catapult the leaping cat back to the head of the news agenda at next month’s Geneva Motor Show with its B99 concept. At first glance, the new car looks to have thrown out the post-retro styling scheme of the XF and XJ, harking back to the late 20th century, and the X350.

However, for overseas buyers, the XF/XJ style has been harder to stomach than anticipated – Jaguar still stands for ‘traditional elegance’ abroad – and the new B99 is a return to what European and US buyers have been hankering for since the arrival of the new-gen Ian Callum-styled cars. Surprisingly, given the heavy XJC styling overtones, the B99 is 4.5m long, hinting at a long-overdue replacement for the X-TYPE, from the Italian perspective.

Another surprising aspect is that the B99 – so-called because it celebrates the 99th Anniversary of the creation of the Italian styling house – was styled with direction from Ian Callum and input from ex-Rover Designer, Adrian Griffiths. That might explain why it’s so easy on the eyes – although whether it has an influence on the design of the X-TYPE’s replacement remains to be seen.

It’s clear that Jaguar is hoping to gauge buyer opinions with the B99 – so do tell its Design Team what you think by posting here. They are watching.

Here’s a gallery of earlier Bertone-Jaguars. It’s a mixed bunch…

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

56 Comments on "Jaguar : Bertone B99 to be shown at Geneva Motor Show"

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  1. Chris Lane says:

    Very nice, Keith. I hope Jaguar build it.

  2. Iain says:

    I’ll admit it was a bit of a surprise to see this concept appear having got used to the XF and the new XJ, but it is rather a handsome design, and would better enable Jaguar to offer something a bit special for everyone. It could even be used as a basis for the reintroduction of the Daimler marque with a complementary and conservatively-styled trio of saloon, coupe and convertible.

  3. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    Nice – it looks like a 2+2 more than a full-on saloon. However, Jaguar took the decision to change their design language a few years ago and are now seeing higher sales and profits as a result. Surely,this would be seen as capitulating on that for no obvious reason?

    They do need a strong, smaller car though. The recent proposals for a 4×4, or a hatch/coupe type design, don’t say ‘Jaguar’ loudly enough. This would do.

  4. Timbo says:

    Yes, I like it, but I always did like the retro-styling of the Rover 75 and Jaguar S-TYPE though the back end of the Jaguar never really worked.

    The Bertone B99 just shows there is a place for retro, legacy and tradition. I, for one, would love JLR keep the modern forward-looking styling of the XF/new XJ for the Jaguar brand and bring back the Rover brand for retro-styling on the same chassis with touches like big traditional grills, “suicide” doors and chrome, but with a slightly lowered/more aggressive stance than the last generation Rovers had.

    Come on JLR, do something useful with that asset you’ve got: the Rover brand!

  5. Tony says:

    Very nice, but I can see BMW-type styling in the front side view.

  6. Arelbe says:

    The link to previous Bertone attempts is interesting. None of the offerings are a “Jaguar”, not even remotely. However, this B99 clearly is.

    One thought: Jaguars need haunches. I can’t stand the current narrow glass displayed everywhere. I find it all-too fashionable and know that it will, therefore, date very quickly.

    I’d like to see a lowering of the side door glass-line a fraction allowing a greater emphasis on the haunches rising towards the back of the rear side window and on over the rear wheel. Classically Jaguar… Like the idea of using this as a Daimler… Brilliant!

  7. Greg says:

    This is a nice re-interpretation of the classic Jaguar shape without the pastiche.

  8. Simon Hodgetts says:

    I like this – very heavy hints of XJ-C about the side view…

  9. James Riley James says:

    A total step backwards. I suspect productionisation of this concept will ensure it just looks like another XJ from a bygone era. I would say don’t bother.

    Jaguar sales have never been stronger and the business is turning a profit for the first time in 20 years. Awards are coming fast and furious – why on earth would such a prestigious Design House think this would help matters?

    Mind you, Bertone did design the Skoda Favorit…

  10. David 3500 says:

    Sorry, but I don’t like this – it lacks any sense of the elegance that Jaguars have enjoyed, including the latest XJ, which I am personally not a fan of. Indeed, its neo-brutal styling is almost bordering of being brash, confrontational and ultimately tasteless.

    I reckon that, for Jaguar to go back on its bold new design language would be a mistake, as it is clear that the formula is winning in terms of increased sales and delivering something that Jaguar has not experienced since 1989 – profitability.

    I really would love to see the return of the Rover marque but I think that, if Jaguar needs to meet the demands of more conservative buyers, then bringing back Daimler would be a good idea.

    Indeed, if it features a new body design, more elegant styling and a more classic looking interior ambience, that would give additional credence to the once mighty Daimler marque beyond the badge engineering philosophy that it was reduced to. Moreover, if Jaguar really wants to progress ‘onwards and upwards’ in the marketplace, Daimler would carry more conviction than the Jaguar name itself.

  11. Andrew Elphick says:

    Have we missed the big picture?

    Jaguar, the car company owned by Tata Motors, manufacturer of the capable Electric Indica, creator of the C-X75 with its enviromentaly propelled guts launches a car the same length as a Prius?

    I do hope I’m right…

  12. Jon says:

    The B99 has nothing to do with Jaguar – Bertone just asked if they could build it with the name. The next Jaguar X-TYPE is nothing like this and neither is the facelifted XF or the newer XE.

  13. Peterover says:

    Why??

    This seems a backward step for Jaguar. The company has only recently managed to dump the retro backward looking styling of its cars and then help produce this concept which suits 1990s Jaguar rather than the Jaguar of the not so new millennium. Bizarre!

    I like the idea of it being a Daimler though – another way of milking more from each platforrm with Jaguar doing modern, Daimler doing retro and Land Rover doing the 4x4s.

    I think the next X-TYPE needs to be highly unconventional, not a 3 Series clone, but a really fresh take on what a modern Compact Executive type car should be and highly radical not just for Jaguar but for the whole class.

    I much prefer the hatch concept of several years ago. Yes, it was retro, but in such an advantgarde way as to be utterly modern, sporty and distinctive, yet unmistakenly a Jaguar. That would certainly make make an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series look like the old-fashioned, bland Euro boxes they are.

  14. Hilton Davis says:

    These are attractive images even if this becomes a future Jaguar – or not?

  15. Christian Davis says:

    I love the XF but, quite unexpectedly, I also like this. I think that calling it a Jaguar would be wrong as that would take the brand off track. However, calling it a Daimler? Well that’s a fabulous idea…

  16. Joel says:

    Timbo :
    Yes, I like it, but I always did like the retro-styling of the Rover 75 and Jaguar S-TYPE though the back end of the Jaguar never really worked.

    The Bertone B99 just shows there is a place for retro, legacy and tradition. I, for one, would love JLR keep the modern forward-looking styling of the XF/new XJ for the Jaguar brand and bring back the Rover brand for retro-styling on the same chassis with touches like big traditional grills, “suicide” doors and chrome, but with a slightly lowered/more aggressive stance than the last generation Rovers had.

    Come on JLR, do something useful with that asset you’ve got: the Rover brand!

    It’s not going to happen. However, very little would make me happier than a new Rover which looked like this!

  17. David 3500 says:

    Joel :

    Timbo :
    Yes, I like it, but I always did like the retro-styling of the Rover 75 and Jaguar S-TYPE though the back end of the Jaguar never really worked.

    The Bertone B99 just shows there is a place for retro, legacy and tradition. I, for one, would love JLR keep the modern forward-looking styling of the XF/new XJ for the Jaguar brand and bring back the Rover brand for retro-styling on the same chassis with touches like big traditional grills, “suicide” doors and chrome, but with a slightly lowered/more aggressive stance than the last generation Rovers had.

    Come on JLR, do something useful with that asset you’ve got: the Rover brand!

    It’s not going to happen. However, very little would make me happier than a new Rover which looked like this!

    With due respect, why is this “not going to happen”? Jaguar Land Rover has never made any claim publicly about the future of the Rover marque and that’s probably because they adopt the same attitude as most vehicle manufacturers by saying “never say never”.

    Additionally, the Rover marque is now effectively owned by Tata Motors and that may well present new opportunities which don’t fit with the core objectives of either the Jaguar or Land Rover brands.

    Rover returning in the short or medium term? Very, very unlikely. Long term, when Jaguar Land Rover is no longer delivering the remaining objectives of the five-year business plan instigated by previous owner Ford, well who knows? Those who love the Rover name can only live in hope…

  18. Robert Leitch says:

    Is this the first sign of cold feet about the new Jaguar look?

    The Bertone ‘vocabulary’ would suit a great X350 facelift, in place of the new XJ.

    Would this have been such a bad idea? The world changed too quickly but, with the benefit of hindsight, perhaps a Jaguar saloon range comprising XF, facelifted X350 and an X-TYPE replacement based on a shortened XF platform would have been a better use of resources than bringing the radical new XJ to market before the world had quite got over the XF.

    This Bertone concept seems totally wrong for an XF-size car but, on a larger canvas, would be a stunningly good looking car and a limited-risk link to the marque’s heritage.

    Adopting the XJ hommage styling language for an X400 replacement would be to ignore the lessons of recent history.

  19. Ianto says:

    Kensington?

  20. Alex Scott says:

    Oh yeah, baby! Gggrrrrooowwwwlllll!
    I would love a Jaguar like this at only 4.5 metres long. I would sell my left arm to get one… Well, just about!

    Alex.

  21. Magnus says:

    It’s certainly a nice looking machine: clear hints of the old XJ roofline with a touch of Maserati elsewhere.

    However, as has been written elsewhere, I fear the Jaguar marque has come too far with its new look to go back to something like this – it would be more ‘retrograde’ than ‘retro’. I like the idea of resurrecting the Daimler marque for this though.

    Would it sell? I think part of the answer lies in the second paragraph of Keith’s article: it would certainly attract the usual buyers in Monaco, Milan, Dubai and LA – not to mention Shanghai – but I doubt it would sell much in the UK.

  22. Will says:

    I love this – it has a purposeful stance and is an attractive alternative to the other “premium” 4 door coupes.

    I reckon that the B99 would also work well as a Peugeot – their Coupes used to be designed by Italians. I could imagine it with lions instead of leaping jaguars – the grille and lights could easily be remodelled to resemble a 508…

  23. Ianto says:

    There is a hint of 504 Coupe in this and it could definitely pass for a Peugeot.

  24. Richard says:

    This looks nice but would amount to a U-turn, so don’t do it!

  25. 406v6 406V6 says:

    Well, at first sight it captures Jaguar’s heritage well. I can see the Series III XJ6 C-pillar for instance. Howver, at second sight, it’s all out of proportion with those stupid big wheels.

    Should Jaguar adopt it for styling ? No. They got criticized for unadventurous styling that dated quickly. For me the S and X-TYPES were fine but Clarkson was right about the XJ – it was a dog. They shouldn’t go that way again.

    The most pressing problem at Jaguar is the lack of a BMW 3 Series rival to get the sales volume up. One thing they shouldn’t do is put the XF in a photocopier and press the “90%” button. Peugeot did this in the past (405 and 605) and it didn’t work. Audi are doing it now – all their saloons look the same to my eyes. B** are little better while Mercedes have succeeded. Jaguar need a freshened-up styling theme for their smaller model.

    The “new” X-TYPE also needs to address the problem of a lack of winter traction on its standard tyres now that the UK is seeing regular winter snow. Rear wheel drive is a problem for grip in winter these days due to the poor standard tyres.

    The four-wheel drive in my father’s X-TYPE is little better as the bling tyres are rubbish in snow. Jaguar needs to be brave and make sensible wheels and tyres available and, preferably, front wheel drive.

  26. Chris Chapman says:

    Jaguar probably needs to distance itself a little from the Ford and Aston Martin influences it currently has but the X-TYPE showed that using heritage design cues doesn’t always sell cars. What would Bill Lyons have done?

    A production version of the B99 might sell well in the States but, looking at Bertone’s chequered history, are they the best outfit to do a successful styling job?

    I hope Jaguar has finally decided on the grille shape to commonise on across its range!

  27. KenS Ken Strachan says:

    @406V6
    Are we talking about the same X-TYPE? My 2.2D Sport has 40% tyres – Avons, I think. All through the last two winters, the only time it stopped involuntarily was when I drove it into a big pile of snow to see what it would do! I just reversed out – unlike the Golf I had passed earlier, which was well planted in a ditch.

    Anyway, as for the B99 – rather Alfa 159 at the back end – I like it, but the roof is too low for headroom and I fear very few would buy it.

    Keith, how is the latest XJ selling? I would like the “Long Distance Award” for spotting a black one in Singapore – an XJ, that is…

  28. Andrew Elphick says:

    I have had another train of thought: does anyone else wonder whether the Bertone B99 might actually be a 3/4 scale Maharaja-spec Jaguar and, if so, whether the real up-scaled version is a 6m long RR/Bentley/Maybach competitor at £150,000?

    After all, I mean the £100,000 Range Rover is coming…

  29. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick says:

    That’s what the Mazda RX8 should have looked like.

  30. Marc says:

    That’s something I would definitely consider buying. The B99 reminds me the 1970s XJ-C.

    Jaguar has tried for too long to look like something else, stealing design details from the Aston Martin Vantage. Maybe Ian Callum is so in love with his stunning Aston creations that he forgot he now works for another company, with its own unique and outstanding styling tradition. Jaguar’s style deserves to be re-invented rather than brutally replaced.

    A short note also on the B99’s colour: this burgundy looks nice indeed on a Jaguar. I am fed up with the rather common and German-looking silver that seems to have become the new official Jaguar colour. Long live to burgundy, blue and British Racing Green!

    Well done Bertone!

  31. DaveH says:

    A lot better than the bland blob that is the current XJ. It’s modern and retro at the same time shich is what Jaguar need.

    However, I think this is wrong for an X-TYPE size car – this needs to be more mini XF – a sports coupe, but this is perfect for a rebodied XJ – especially the suicide doors which are the rage with the super-luxury brands at the moment.

  32. Simon Woodward says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    I think that as well – the B99 looks very XJ-C-like and, as I said on another site last week, when can we have a Racing Broadspeed V12 version?! I love it, I think it looks fantastic, please make it!

  33. Brian Daniels says:

    The marque that had the courage to bring something as radical as the 1961 E-Type to market should, in my humble opinion, continue its present course of looking forward.

    The current sedans are, to my mind, stunning and lustworthy when viewed in the metal. The greatest Jaguars have always been ahead of their time, not behind. Let’s leave retro British luxury to Bristol and Morgan.

  34. Jemma says:

    Ah, this is how retro should be done…

    The B99 takes the shape of the older cars and adds new tech and touches without falling into the trap of being too obvious about it.

    It’s a worthy successor – I hope they build it and keep it away from the likes of Lord Clarkson.

  35. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @Alex Scott
    That would make it difficult to change gear or adjust the radio though :).

  36. 1955diesel says:

    The B99 is a dreadful example of the sort of retro-styling that was sending the company down the tubes.

  37. Oliver says:

    Today’s Jaguars are not that what potential customers across the world want from Jaguar. You could put the name of a Japanese manufacturer which has no designer on every new XF or XJ !

    This is what I want from Jaguar! The B99 is like a mixture of a Mazda RX-8 (door system) and a XJ-C for today’s marketplace! Jaguar, please build such a car or you will not sell any car to me!

  38. Paul says:

    I’m confused. We where told that the recycled 1968 XJ6 styling had been responsible for the failure of both the X-TYPE and X300 XJ. The new breed XF and latest XJ styling had rejuvinated the brand and where selling like hot cakes.

    However, apparently Jaguar are now losing sales because of it and the answer is a car that looks like a Bertone concept from 1977!

  39. Dr Bobby Love says:

    Jaguar, I weep for thee.

    Seriously… Come on! This is absolutely horrendous in both form and idea. It turns the marque into a caricature of itself – not a good move after finally breaking out of the retro mould…

  40. Nick Sumner says:

    That is a beautiful car.

  41. Ryan says:

    I have to say that, while I do like this design, Jaguar should not pursue it. They have moved too far forward now.

    The XF continues to sell like hot cakes and the XJ is selling well too – although, yes, it is down 15% on last year but that could be attributable to many factors.

    I understand people are taking time to get used to the idea of the new XJ but do believe it will grow on people once they get used to it. I appreciate just how stunning it really is – I saw one parked up yesterday and realised that I had been staring at it for 10 minutes!

    No, to go back now would be a mistake. Overseas markets will get used to the XJ and sales will continue to grow.

  42. Will says:

    @Ryan
    I have seen a new XJ in the metal, albeit in the everyday surroundings of a Tesco car park, and would say that, in my opinion the XJ is an elegant car. Hints of C6, looks like a luxury car without looking like a retro-golf-club-member.

    However, I have to say though, in my opinion, because it is a Jaguar doesn’t mean that it *will* be a Jaguar.

    Take, for example, the Italdesign Jaguar Kensington which ended up as a Daewoo (Leganza), a Lexus (GS) and a Seat (Toledo).

    I’m still convinced that this is a Bertone exercise to demonstrate a mid-size Coupe for a manufacturer who may be looking such a niche model… The similarities to the “new” 504 concept also make me think that.

  43. Lord Sward says:

    The Bertone B99 is 4.5 metres long and so it’s 15cm shorter than the MG6. It’ll be interesting to see it in the metal and find out whether it looks as good as it does in these images.

    However, as to Jaguar productionising it, I hope not. Jaguar’s biggest mistake was not adopting the Kensington concept all those years ago. Instead, they carried on making the dated XJ40 (with the odd facelift) until 2003. Shocking really…

  44. John says:

    An interesting exercise, anyway. The Designers at Bertone are, at least, trying to break away from current design clichés, even if they are looking a bit backward.

    Remember when cars looked like they were “going 100mph when they were standing still”? For decades now, due to wind tunnel-driven design, all cars have looked like they’re screeching to a halt (nose down, arse up) even when accelerating. Slightly more quiet inside, perhaps, but not very inspiring to look at.

  45. Matt says:

    The Bertone B99’s everything a Jaguar should be – a return to the Grace, Space and Pace mantra of the old Jaguars. I really hope Jaguar put this into production.

  46. ChrisK says:

    Nobody would say that BMW or Mercedes were old-fashioned in their styling. Conservative yes, but as does Jaguar, they have a design heritage which people trace lineage from.

    Good luck to Jaguar – I wish them well for the future.

  47. Dr Bobby Love says:

    ChrisK :
    Nobody would say that BMW or Mercedes were old-fashioned in their styling. Conservative yes, but as does Jaguar, they have a design heritage which people trace lineage from.

    Good luck to Jaguar – I wish them well for the future.

    That’s a fair point but not really the case. BMW progressed with the times, as have Mercedes. They’ve never looked back to capture what once made their cars great.

    Maybe part of the problem Jaguar face with styling is that they didn’t push forward enough when they could have so now they’ve got stuck with one design and, as it’s been around so long, anything other than that looks out of place to many people.

    I wouldn’t want to take a step backwards myself. I love the current big Cats, I love that fact Jaguar realised they were getting left behind so to panic now and drag the three box back out would, I feel, seriously dent their reputation.

    The only thing I like about the Bertone B99’s design is that it reminds me a little of Stead’s Broadspeed from The Avengers – a 1970s car. Well done Jaguar, your making THAT shape again… sigh!

  48. CMPD says:

    I find the styling all rather boring to be frank. It’s too anonymous and dull for my taste.

  49. Ianto says:

    @Lord Sward
    I am not sure that the Jaguar Leganza would have been that successful. After all, it would still have had the same appalling build quality that the XJ40 suffered from. The Daewoo version is cool though.

  50. Nick, Vienna says:

    A very nice car. Oh and Keith, you’re absolutely right, it feels easy on the eyes.

  51. Amazo says:

    A proper looking Jaguar design, instead of the Vauxhall Insignia-on-steroids that is the XF and the ‘nice face, shame about the arse’ XJ.

    The Bertone B99 is proof that you can update the classic look. Jaguars are about elegance, something which is a little lacking in their current saloons.

  52. Alex Scott says:

    I’m back again to look at this machine because I love the look of it so much. It’s interesting really as I’ve often thought of my own XJ40 like this car – it’s almost like a dream come true.

    I’ve often wished that my XJ40 had a much shorter boot. I don’t need a long tail or big boot and it would help if front was a bit shorter (even 3 inches). Let’s face it, if they had been a little cleverer with the front of the XJ40 and done way with the front bumper they wouldn’t be far off.

    Anyway, if Jaguar had done that to the XJ40 as an alternative model (XJ40 normal and XJ40 compact) it would have looked a little like the above and probably would have approached the 4.5 metre mark – that wouldn’t have cost Jaguar much to design and put into production with the XJ40 (same wheelbase and cabin).

    Alex.

  53. Ianto says:

    I am sure that the Bertone B99 will be a massive success for whichever manufacturer picks the design up.

    MG are you watching? Is this a future ZT?

  54. Gripper says:

    I’d ditch the M3 for this – it’s a shame that Ian Callum thinks that the current Jaguar designs are more than just a Eurobox to look at. I’m stupified by Jaguar’s decision not to build this…

  55. Paul says:

    Don’t hesitate, just build it! Land Rover did it with the Evoque, a feat that will probably be rarely repeated. The current XJ is abysmal, really awful and bland – even the XF is too bland without enough Jaguar-essence. The XK is the only current Jaguar which would get my money, but there is a lot of competition.

    My uncle is a fifty year XJ fan (his son has the XK) but we both feel Jaguar has lost its way with the afore-mentioned models and, especially, the new XJ. This concept captures the essence of the brand and delivers it in bucket loads. It would sell in ten times the numbers of the new XJ.

  56. ARO says:

    This s one fab jag design I have seen for years!! Jaguar management should listen to the positive comments being made about this concept. Its all very well saying we are going to build the concept CX75 ( and only 250 if that) but how many common folks can afford £750K or more. Whats the point? Its plain nonsence! William Lyons would never had actioned such a ludicrous production run. However, I’m sure he would be jumping up and down at the thought of a modern day sports saloon that will beat the pants off any of its rivals. Ian Callum wants to admit that his current design of the XF and XJ are no more modern looking than the rest of the pack and that you have to look closely to spot a Jag today. Be bold Jaguar, be the leaders and build this stunning B99 concept.

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