Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bertone’s Baby Jaguar Sports Sedan: Not My Cup of Tea

In all honestly, I really struggle to see how the Bertone B99 fits into Jaguar’s past and current design lineage and line-up. The new generation of Jags – the XF and the XJ – are sleek, risqué and look like nothing else on the market. On the other hand, the B99 could just as easily be badged as a Lincoln, a Rolls-Royce or a Maserati. If you squint at the pictures you’ll see my point. It’s anonymously styled, as if Bertone used a book called, “Luxury Concept Cars 101” as a template. And that grille! It just screams, “Dodge Caliber!”

And apart from the taillights and the A-pillar, can you really see any of Jaguar’s past in the B99? I know I can’t. And isn’t the mere thought a compact Jaguar as bad as Aston Martin rebadging the Toyota iQ as the Cygnet or Porsche selling a SUV?
It devalues the brand, and in the luxury market that’s the worse crime a carmaker can make. Sure, it means more sales, but I’ve never been a fan of the, “profit uber alles!” the eighties left us with.
For me personally, Jaguars have always been either V8/V12-engined coupes and big sedans. The E-Type, the Mk II...even the much derided XJS and XJ6. As if it wasn’t bad enough that BMW’s sells a naturally aspirated (or naturally asthmatic) 4cyl 3-Series, now there’s this on the horizon all in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. To think we’ve gone from, “A Modern Day Successor to the E-Type” to yet another attempt for a “BMW 3-Series competitor” just breaks my heart.

By Tristan Hankins



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