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Italian/British Love Child; Bertone's B99 Jaguar Concept

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On: Wed, Feb 23, 2011 at 10:30AM | By: Chris Weiss


Italian/British Love Child; Bertone's B99 Jaguar Concept

Jaguar is in the midst of an expansion. Last month, Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's global brand director, put it bluntly when speaking with a representative from Inside Line: "The market has changed and it's no longer enough just to focus on sedans." It's still not 100 percent clear what cars Jaguar will expand to outside of traditional sedan offerings, but it is clear that they're taking the idea of new blood seriously.

Take the new B99 concept, for instance. Jag went outside its walls and worked in conjunction with Italian design firm Bertone on the concept, which will make its debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show next week. A bold two-door, the B99 gives a look at one possible direction for the future of the cat.

A sedan itself, the B99, which bears a name from Bertone's 99th birthday, doesn't exactly take that big step beyond four doors that Hallmark alluded to back in January, but it does provide more compact sedan styling for Jaguar. It measures 181 inches in length, 77 inches in width, and 53 inches in height. The sedan gets sporty, muscular styling throughout the rear and front, something that should translate well in the small sedan that Jaguar has planned for 2013/14.

Bertone design director Mike Robinson explained the design to Autocar: "Jaguar is looking at a new design direction and a small car—and we think this is the right style, with a very light glasshouse and the visual weight concentrated on to the wheels."

Instead of a traditional sedan construction, the doors open in reverse, allowing for a B-pillar-less configuration. Look at the picture above quickly, and you might think you're looking at a coupe rather than a sedan, given the side-by-side placement of the front and rear door-handles and seamless transition from front to rear windows. The cabin is centered to maintain a more balanced weight distribution than that of fastbacks, like the XF and XJ.

Jaguar's design team was involved in the design process and signed off on the final design.

As to the future of the B99—or the Bertone styling therein—Robinson said: "After Geneva, if they like it, we hope to present our designs to Jaguar."

Whatever the fate of Bertone's specific take on the small Jaguar sedan, Jag hopes that the eventual production car will help it to increase annual sales to a goal of 100,000 per year, nearly double what it sold last year. The sedan will be built on an aluminium monocoque platform, and will offer a selection of four-cylinder and diesel engines to help Jaguar keep its emissions in line with tightening regulations.


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Comments

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Michigander | 11:06AM (Wed, Feb 23, 2011)

The doors are amazing and the lines beautiful. This might be new for Jaguar but the concept still looks classic.



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