Bertone Jaguar B99


9. The retro look has been avoided, but this rear quarter panel is, alas, rather banal, with a backlight resembling the last pre-Mulally Ford Taurus.

10. The front overhang is radically shorter than normal Jaguar practice. But the BMW 3-series shows that this is not just desirable but possible.

11. And the rear overhang is considerably shorter than on 1968-2009 Jaguar XJ sedans.


12. Side-marker lamp is integrated below the undercut crease.

13. Antagonistic door openings allow grouping of the door handles, as on the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Again, set just below the indented crease line.

14. Rear door cut is unusually far back, but the rear hinging allows easy entry despite a quite-short back door. The line emphasizes the rounded transverse section.

15. There's nothing left of the very round Jaguar rear quarter, which is just as well since it was taken up by Chrysler's LH models long ago.

16. Wraparound taillights are simple, elegant, and effective in increasing apparent width. They would also be economical to produce, important for an entry-level model.

17. This shieldlike panel isn't easy to justify, although its top chrome strip is a definite Jaguar style mark.

3 of 3
Ryan Thompson
They should have gone with this Bertone design for their coupe. The coupe design they went with looks like its VERY hard to see out the back of.
I again read your comments as if I was reading my own column.About this elegant design, heritage cues that I would keep are some suggestion of the cat ears in the talilights that would un-buick the looks of the rear facia, the rounded C pillar from some of the 50s and 60s models and just maybe, a subtle shaping of the side marker lamp into a prowling cat... Otherwise, I agree about the proportions and point #5. A X-type with this looks would really make an interresting, different choice for the 3 series/A4-A5/C class shopper.
I used to think Robert Cumberford could read my mind and put into words things I didn't know how to articulate. Then I started to worry that I lacked any eye for design and I was just blindly agreeing with everything he wrote. Apparently I wasn't just bowing to his expertise because I am happy to report that I completely disagree with Cumberford's design analysis on the B99. Although Bertone's car is a nice homage to the old XJ, Jaguar has taken a new design tack and should not look back to the past. And I thought the panel in #17 was justifiable as mimicking the front of the car--it almost looks the same coming and going (except the taillights are red instead of white like the headlights).
Re the Bertone Jaguar, had they presented it ten years ago, it would've been an outstanding evolutionary step in Jaguar design. Unfortunately, that opportunity passed. Ian Callum took a revolutionary step with Jaguar's new cars; their look is a complete departure from its past. Returning to the Bertone B99 would be a step backward, not forward. Too bad. It's a sharp car.

New Car Research

Find vehicle reviews, photos & pricing

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price


new cars

Read Related Articles