Jaguar : Global Brand Director confirms it’s ‘no’ to the Bertone B99

Keith Adams 

Jaguar Bertone B99 concept
Jaguar Bertone B99 Concept

Despite making a considerable splash at the Geneva Motor Show, the Bertone-styled Jaguar B99 has been passed over by Jaguar’s management as a possible replacement for the X-TYPE. The concept combines retro and modern styling beautifully but sends out mixed messages when associated with a company that has so actively moved forward with its styling under Ian Callum. 

‘I saw it for the first time yesterday,’ Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s Global Brand Director, told Automotive News last week at the Geneva show. ‘It is not our concept. We appreciate the fact that Jaguar is interesting enough for people to do a concept around. It’s not that we are offended by it, or against it – it is just not for us.’ 

Jaguar is working on a new small car to re-enter the 3 Series sector – a market that the company abandoned when the X-TYPE went out of production in 2009. The new car will be radically styled, much in the mould of the XJ/XF, but scaled down accordingly. Thanks to the recent success of these cars, the company continues to grow, without the need for the volumes brought by a mid-market premium challenger. 

Hallmark added: ‘We have so much room to grow to get to a normal level of performance. We did not have XJ for most of the year. The potential for us to improve is driven by lack of product the year before. We want to access these new segments.’ He then went on to confirm that a design for X-TYPE replacement  had yet to be chosen. 

[Source: Automotive News]

Keith Adams
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  1. It’s good promotion for Bertone – whether they make it or not – and a sign of confidence that Jaguar can turn it down publicly, right now.

    What chance of the Bertone B99 turning up as a Proton or, maybe, even a Roewe?

  2. A good, positive decision – I believe that this concept is quite counterproductive to what Jaguar are trying to achieve. Keep moving forward!

    • you like their BMW crap carbon copies better? The hood ornament doesn’t even look nice on any of them.

  3. That’s a shame – the design of this car is superior to that of the current XF and XJ models.

  4. Well, in my view, this is a very good decision! Jaguar has done the retro thing and it’s not worked. Their new designs look great so why go back down the retro route? A nice concept (not outstanding) but best left as a concept.

  5. @Andrew Elphick
    Exactly! Would it be too far fetched to suggest that’s the kind of market Bertone were looking for with this concept? How about the B99 as a replacement for the Rover 75 perhaps?

  6. Jonathan Carling :
    It’s good promotion for Bertone – whether they make it or not – and a sign of confidence that Jaguar can turn it down publicly, right now.

    Well said, a success for both companies 🙂

    The concept reminds people of beautiful Jaguars from the past, but allowed Jaguar to re-enforce their current position on styling.

    I was a huge fan of the S-TYPE and had a lovely 3 Litre SE a few years back, but the retro thing didn’t do it for everyone. The new XJ has just blown me away! I’ve even started doing Lotto!!


  7. I agree with Jon – the XJ looks great just as the XF does. I read in Auto Express that (they say) the next small Jaguar could be a hatchback to rival the BMW 1 Series. I hope not – a small saloon, like the X-TYPE was, would match my idea of good design…

  8. The Bertone B99’s the first good looking Jaguar for years. I fear that, if Jaguar does not make good looking cars like that, we will eventually be reading articles about Jaguar going into administration.

    I have recently spent a few days in the UK and drove more than 1500 miles but only saw only one new XJ and four XFs.
    The last time I was there some years ago I saw many more new Jaguars which looked like a Jaguar should look.

    However, I would not be so sad if I read that Jaguar had gone into administration because they do not produce any good looking models. A Jaguar today looks like a Lexus or any other big Japanese car but without the good built quality.

    The actual models are not as good as the models which were built six years ago.
    The worst one, at the moment, is the XF. I got one when my XK was in for a service but had go back to the dealer in a Skoda taxi because the XF had electrical problems and the engine didn’t want to work anymore!

  9. @Oliver
    I think UK sales figures would suggest otherwise.

    I can see the Lexus point in the exterior styling of the XF although the interior is miles better than anything Lexus do. However, the XJ is something else -beautiful, yet brutal and truly aspirational.


  10. Jonathan Carling :
    @Andrew Elphick

    Exactly! Would it be too far fetched to suggest that’s the kind of market Bertone were looking for with this concept? How about the B99 as a replacement for the Rover 75 perhaps?

    No, don’t go down that road please. Rovers are meant to be stylish and elegant, not neo-brutal such as this.

    I have, in the past, written on AROnline in some detail about what would be important in a design brief should Jaguar Land Rover ever consider resurrecting the Rover name, so won’t repeat my thoughts for those that might have read them. However, the B99 goes against the grain.

    I do not, in other words, think that the B99 is stylish, timeless looking, authoritative in a tasteful manner or, above all, aspirational.

  11. I agree. The XF is simply stunning and so is the XJ – they are just so draw-droppingly sexy and I am so pleased that Jaguar are not going to go down the Bertone B99 route. It’s a very handsome car indeed but it really isn’t for Jaguar any more – they are doing quite well on their own.

    I can only say that I would not like to see Jaguar go into administration. The current range is the best that they ever had. They are somthing really special again. They are the event that Jaguar always was.

    Luckily, more people think that way than your way and reliability and build quality are on a par with anything from Germany. I will, though, concede that it’s probably not as good as Lexus but, then, nothing is.

    Jaguar, you’ve got your mojo back and good on you!

  12. Thank expletive!!

    The B99 is a beautiful car but it belongs to the Jaguar of yesterday.

    I love both the XF and the XJ and they are now a common sight on the M60 and M61 at least. I still dislike the rear pillar of the XJ and wish they had forked out the extra cash to widen the rear screen properly if that’s the effect they wanted.

    I disagree about the result for Bertone – it’s adisaster! Yes, it’s a good looking car and, yes. obviously a Jaguar, but projecting the future of Jaguar past rather than the future of Jaguar present. I also think that, for Jaguar to distance itself from it, is a public snub too.

  13. I don’t have a particularly strong opinion on whether the Bertone B99 goes into production or not, but I’m not sure what’s so old-fashioned about it. The car looks modern enough to me.

  14. I think that’s a good decision on the part of Jaguar. Mind you, whoever has a few (million) quid to snap up and rejuvenate Bristol could do much worse than adopt a shape like the B99, though…

  15. Rover – NO, the brand won’t be back.
    Jaguar – it is not good enough.
    Daimler – that’s funny.(imo)

    The Bertone B99 is two meters wide and very long – now you try and shrink that to the current crop of X-TYPE-sized cars and the dimensions would look stupid.

    The B99 is a nice concept car – I like it, but as a mainstream car – NO.

  16. Jonathan Carling :
    It’s good promotion for Bertone – whether they make it or not – and a sign of confidence that Jaguar can turn it down publicly, right now.

    …or you can see it as arrogance???

    It could be one of those stories which can find on this site where, if the company had taken the decision to go ahead with a design, it would have made all the difference.

    Jaguar are not known for their adventurous stance, especially given that the floorpan and mechanicals of the XKs actually hark back to the 1960s…

  17. It’s good to see that Jaguar has decided to abandon the retro styling in favour of a new look. It took a while for the new XJ to grow on me, but it’s better than seeing another iteration of the 1968 XJ6.

    Mark S’ comment is appropriate – that grille does make it look like a Maserati. I’m sure Bertone will find someone willing to put it into production, as Guigiaro did with the Jaguar Kensington Concept in the early 1990s.

  18. The only thing wrong with the new XJ, IMHO, is the name – it is so large, imposing and impressive in the metal but it’s just not an XJ, it’s a Mark XI.

  19. I think that this is a good idea – the B99 is stunning and, had it come pre-XF, it would have been perfect but, now that Jaguar has a new design direction, it would be seen as a u-turn.

    Jaguar should never make a car smaller than the XF. Instead, they should focus solely on developing the upper range, with a Merc CLS-style four dour coupe, a full XF range, a new XJ-C and new E-Type and small roadster.

    Tata should revive the Rover name to fill the lower segments. They could start with an Audi A1/MINI-rivalling 15 3dr and 5dr supermini, an A3-sized 35 range including a small luxury saloon and hatch, an Infiniti EX-style 45, a mid-sized BMW 3 Series rival, the 55, including a hatch, saloon and estate and a range-topping spiritual successor to the SD1, the 65, with a number of derivatives including a coupe and four door coupe cross.

  20. Mark S :
    How about a Maserati trident badge?

    Good point – I thought the same.

    However, I find it sad that Jaguar seem to be increasingly turning their back on classic designs – instead opting for brash, vulgar, chromed, “American-style” designs.

    This series of images from the Top Gear website are closer to what I personally would like to see rather than the bland current offerings that have more in common with Vauxhall than Jaguar.

  21. This is good news. I think the Bertone B99 is the sort of car that the Mazda Xedos range would have morphed into over time (there are, of course, links between the Xedos and 1990s Jaguar design).

    Jaguar needs to carry on progressing, but it seems that for car design the days of ‘let’s give it bigger lights and a bigger grille’ are now over (notice the narrowness of the B99 headlights). I still just hope they make a modern day XJS…

  22. @Ross A
    Well, by all accounts, they are going to make a small handful of the ‘Growler E Concepts’ at about £500k each. I like it, but the twin lights are a turn off – they make it look like a 1990s Celica but the rest of it is okay.

  23. I’m glad that Jaguar have so publicly disassociated themselves from the B99. The new small Jaguar project seems all the more exciting because of this.

  24. Jaguar sales are booming and in a recession too – that says it all really.

    The Bertone B99 would have been great for an S-TYPE or X-TYPE design study fifteen years ago, but not for today.

    Jaguar, like Rover, produced their best models when pushing the limits. The P5, P6 and SD1 were great because they pushed the company forwards – likewise the XF and new XJ are forward-thinking and modern. The styling might not be to all tastes, but there is a new facelift XF on the way which is said to be stunning and the XJ’s styling is simply following the current trend for brash and individual styling on large expensive models.

  25. Well, I have seen the Bertone B99 (and its GT racing stablemate) in the metal now and it does, indeed, work rather well.

    Strangely, neither seemed to be attracting “big” attention – maybe Adrian Hallmark’s comment has poured cold water on the concept…

  26. @Paul
    Doesn’t the XF use a lot of ‘S’ oily bits like most of the running gear and the engines etc?

    The S-TYPE’s styling is an acquired taste but they reckon the ‘R’ version was a very good car.

    Mind you, I think the XF and new XJ are in a league of their own – they really do leave the competing Audis, BMWs and Mercs trailing in their wake.

  27. Simon Woodward :

    Doesn’t the XF use a lot of ‘S’ oily bits like most of the running gear and the engines etc?

    The S-TYPE’s styling is an acquired taste but they reckon the ‘R’ version was a very good car.

    The 2.7 Diesel too 🙂

  28. @Simon Woodward
    Hmm, as a concept in it’s own right, I’d love a B99 as it’s a proper muscle car of a unique design which reminds me of the early Corvette – but it’s not Jaguar really though, is it?

  29. A good decision – the B99 looks (to me) a lot like a slitty, light version of the Series 3 XJ Coupe from the 1970s!! Jaguar needs to look forward not backwards – even though I really like the S-TYPE and the previous XJ. Is it me or does the rear profile of the new XJ look like a 1975 Sunbeam Rapier?!

  30. Jaguar knows what direction it is taking and has made great decisons of late – sales are through the roof!

    The Bertone B99 isn’t right for Jaguar and they are right to say so.

  31. @Ross A
    I am struggling a bit with the Growler – I sort of want to dislike it because it is a blatant copy of an E-type but then I can’t help thinking some aspects are really good.

    I suppose that, when you start to look at it in detail and take away E-type front end, it could be one of any number of sports cars from that period. The images in the link above show the Growler with Starfish alloys but there is also a picture of one with period-style wire-wheels which make it look a little more contemporary.

    Take away the E-type’s open-mouthed grille and the Growler could have, for example, easily been a Daytona, a GTO, a Toyota 2000GT or even a Corvette with the right front end.

    The best modern E-type copy was the DB7 but, there again, that started life as a E-type replacement.

    Anyway, back to the B99, I love the current Jaguars, but this would make a fantastic range topper.

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