Bertone has revealed the B99 Concept at Geneva, their take on a future New Small Jaguar to take on the BMW 3 Series.
With Jaguar looking more than seriously at a New Small Jaguar to take the BMW 3 Series on at its own game, it seems almost certain Jaguar’s had a part to play in the design of Bertone’s take on a smaller Jaguar – the Bertone B99.
Did they purposely ask Bertone to style a car that draws big cues from Jaguar’s own history? Or was that Bertone’s doing? Did Jaguar want to see if the world would jump up and shout ‘That’s just what a small Jaguar should look like’ when a Jaguar which looks like a concept take on Jaguars past was revealed?
Because if they did, that seems to be what they’re getting. We seem to be in a minority of one in seeing the B99 as a pastiche of the X-Type, with most commentators enthusing that the B99 is just what a small Jaguar should be.
And maybe they’re right. Maybe a funky take on the X-Type with a chunk of Italian flair will do better than a modern take on a small Jaguar in the mould of the new XJ. Or even a reworking of the Jaguar R-D6 Concept. But for us, it would be going backwards instead of forwards.
We hoped Jaguar now had the confidence to look forward with new, original designs. Designs that didn’t pastiche the past in the way the X-Type, S-Type and XJ 350 (and every XJ before) did. Designs like the XF, and the even more confident XJ.
Sadly, it seems as if the world wants a pastiche of the past from Jaguar, certainly if the balance of opinion we’ve canvassed on the Bertone B99 is anything to go by.
But isn’t that exactly what the world has been telling Jaguar for the last twenty years? And isn’t that what Jaguar gave them until the last few years, until Ian Callum’s designs (with a bit of help from Tata’s nous and money) came along and turned Jaguar in to a big success story?
But what do we know.