Great designers can do only so much if they are compelled to follow a template that does not truly fit the marque they're working on. Jaguar's range desperately needs a solid replacement for the defunct entry-level X-type, the company's biggest contemporary seller despite the car's lack of grace, which was the result of its being a Ford Mondeo in a Jaguar suit. There's no question that Jaguar has the design team it needs, but it must also have management that will let its cars be Jaguars, not a compendium of "best-in-class" measurements.
FRONT 3/4 VIEW
1. Blanked-out grille has to do with Bertone's notion that this should be a hybrid with lower-than-usual cooling requirements. Bits of sparkly material -- glass? -- around the rim do not read from normal driving distances.
2. Bladelike lamps at the corners of the body have nothing whatsoever to do with past Jaguar practice yet look perfectly appropriate.
3. This subtle, indented line emphasizes the dropping front profile. It starts just behind the headlamps, runs through the door handles, and disappears in the rear door skin.
4. A rearview camera resides in this slim blade, leaving the entire upper body a single clean sculptural form.
5. Classic Jaguar haunches are preserved, with the upper nestling down between the peaks of the fenders. Elegant, graceful, and traditional, but not retro.
6. Simple constant-section sill-trim strip slopes upward toward the rear, almost unnoticeably so. Understated elegance.
7. Bertone used production Jaguar wheels, putting total design emphasis on the stance and proportions rather than on details that might distract from the whole presentation.
8. Angled elements enhance the impression of width and provide a subtle bit of decoration.