There’s plenty to celebrate with the upcoming debut of the Jaguar B99, the Bertone-designed concept scheduled to debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show marking the company’s 99th anniversary.
The deep red show car also provides a strong hint of what’s to come when Jaguar gets back into the small luxury car segment with a much-needed replacement for the mostly unloved X-Type sedan.
Roughly 15 feet, nose-to-tail and slotting into the D-segment, the B99 might seem a conservative design, at first blush, with a wee bit of heritage carried over from the classic XJ. But a closer look reveals some distinctive touches, notably the unusual barn doors – or rear suicide doors, if you so prefer. They look large but are actually only about half the size of those up front.
The familiar grille of the mid-range XF is carried over, as is, of course, the Leaper hood ornament. And, in keeping with Jaguar’s focus on light, fuel-efficient luxury cars, the B99 also opts for an aluminum body and chassis.
The project was a close collaboration between Bertone – which has crafted a number of Jaguar designs since the XK150 of 1957 – and the British maker’s design team, including styling chief Ian Callum and advanced design director Julian Thomas.
Power will come from a new hybrid driveline developed by the Italian design house’s subsidiary, Bertone Energy.
Exactly how much of the B99 will carry over to the much-anticipated Jaguar small car remains to be seen, but the maker appears determined to re-enter the segment that is expected to dominate the luxury market in the energy-centric future.