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Jag's 3 Series rival uncovered

2011-02-18 07:19

ANGLO-ITALIAN MASTERPIECE?: This is Bertone’s B99, Italy’s vision of what a next-generation Jaguar compact executive sedan should look like.

Jaguar wowed the 2010 Paris auto show with its sublime C-X75 supercar concept. For the 2011 Geneva auto show, due to open during the first week of March, Jaguar’s brand equity will be increased with the help of Italian styling consultancy Bertone.

The Italians have conceptualised - and built - another show-stopper of note bearing the famous leaping cat. It's called the B99.

This 4.6m concept car should provide a clue to what Jaguar’s 3 Series/C-Class rival will look like when it reaches showrooms towards the end of 2013.

SHOWING OFF FOR FUTURE?

Although the B99 concept sedan will appear on the Bertone display stand and not Jaguar’s, the expectation is that Ian McCallum, Jaguar’s styling director, should be suitably impressed.

If McCallum is taken with the Italian company’s interpretation of what a contemporary compact sedan from Coventry should look like, the B99 could cue many design details for a future compact Jaguar sedan. Among those details are a pillarless glasshouse (the doors open in a clamshell front and rear-hinged fashion) and nearly symmetrical front and rear thin-slit illumination diodes underscore the car’s bonnet and boot shutlines.

Bertone says Jaguar’s current design language features an emphasis on minimal glass in relation to metal and has shifted the visual weight of its cars' design lower to the wheels hub-line.

Jaguar's desired to return to the compact executive sedan market for while, especially with Tata cash enabling the company to execute properly independent research and development again.

COOL ITALIANA?: With a touch of third-generation XJ to its side profile, Bertone’s B99 is a stunner from all angles…

With its rather disappointing previous-generation 3 Series rival, the ill fated X-type, still fresh in memory, Jaguar knows only the highest standards of design will do.

If it wishes to siphon off some market share from the German trio of Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz's C-Class the new small Jag's design has to be distinctive, not contrived - as was the case with X-type; which, ironically, had very little x-factor.

Very much a concept in form and execution, mechanical details of the B99 are only expected to be released once its Geneva auto show debut draws nearer, which fortunately is only less than two weeks away
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