2011 Geneva Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- The newest Bertone concept, to be unveiled at the Geneva auto show, presents the Italian design house's vision for a small Jaguar with more traditional styling.
- The concept is named B99 to denote Bertone's 99th birthday this year.
- A hybrid powertrain is rumored for the concept.
GENEVA — Bertone's B99 concept, due to be unveiled at the upcoming 2011 Geneva Auto Show, presents the Italian design house's vision for a small Jaguar with more traditional styling.
Official images were leaked Thursday by the German publication Auto Bild.
Britain's Autocar published a lengthy feature on the car, including an interview with Bertone design boss Mike Robinson, who was quoted as saying, "Jaguar is looking at a new design direction and a small car — and we think this is the right style, with a very light glasshouse and the visual weight concentrated on to the wheels."
The magazine added that the Bertone concept was "created in conjunction with Jaguar," with the Italian design house "briefed by Jaguar design chief Ian Callum," who is said to have approved the concept design.
The B99 is relatively compact, at 181 inches long. It is only 53 inches tall and a rather ample 77 inches wide. Several European publications reported that the small Jaguar concept is intended to give the British automaker a latter-day rival to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class — a role the now-defunct X-Type never quite fulfilled.
Autocar said Jaguar is planning to introduce an entry-level compact sedan in 2013-'14.
The B99 features clamshell-type doors and a modified version of the current XF/XJ grille. But its lines and overall styling theme echo earlier Jaguar designs, notably the original XJ.
The concept's cabin is trimmed in brushed aluminum, leather and polished wood, as well as analog gauges, a pop-up rotary gear selector and a satellite-navigation screen hidden behind a sliding panel, according to Autocar.
Edmunds.com says: Bertone hasn't confirmed reports that the B99 will feature a hybrid powertrain under its hood. — Paul Lienert, Correspondent