As you may know already, yesterday we showed you the first photos with the Jaguar B 99 Project, Bertone’s latest project which will be unveiled in March at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Today, the Italian design company sent us the official details and high resolution photos with the car. As we already told you yesterday, the Jaguar B 99 Concept marks Bertone’s 99 year history as the only Italian designer to have created five different Jaguars.
For those who don’t know, Bertone created some iconic models for the British manufacturer such as: 1957 XK 150, produced in a limited edition of four copies, the 1966 Jaguar FT concept car, the 1967 Jaguar Pirana, and 1977 Jaguar Ascot.
The new Jaguar B 99 Concept previews the upcoming compact sedan from Jaguar, which will take on cars such as the Bmw 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The result is a compact, four-door sedan (4.5 m long, 1.35 m tall, and 1.95 m wide) that fits perfectly into the D segment.
The car features prestigious materials inside the cockpit such as soft Italian leather, brushed aluminum and high-gloss African wood.
Under the hood, the B 99 Concept uses a full hybrid long range power system tuned by Bertone Energy (the newest Bertone division dedicated to renewable energy research). In addition, Bertone will also bring in Geneva a full GT2 race version of the B 99 Concept, which will feature high speed aero appendages and aggressive graphics to the jet set wafting car.
Everything starts with the brand. This is the principle that Bertone Brand & Design Director Mike Robinson ensures that his design team follows for every project that they take. Being an outside design source, the group has to do a lot more in order to catch up with what many in-house designers often take for granted which is having a deep knowledge of what the brand was in the past, what the brand currently is, and what it will be in the future.
By late October 2010, Robinson and his team started with the "From Cats to Cars", a pre-sketch research program. With this, the team started to explore all possible analogies of this amazing feline creature found in Central and South America. This noble predator was even worshipped by the Mayans and Aztecs due to its sheer power and cunning tactics. They called it "Jaguar", which meant "he who kills with one leap".
This creature can be described as a big cat as it can weigh as much as 160 kgs. While it may be stocky, its legs are short but powerful. The legs have been specifically designed to have a silent approach when it comes to hunting, known also as the stalk and ambush. What this feline does is to sneak very slowly hidden in the bushes and then pounce on the prey. Most large feline species have a tendency to run their prey down, like the Cheetah with its long and agile legs. The Jaguar however uses a stealth approach to hunting. Its advantages include its oversized head and powerful jaw that can even crush skulls.
In the modern age, the Jaguar brand uses as its symbol the well-known "leaper". This is the infamous chrome image that shows the feline doing a powerful forward jump and its entire weight being carried by the rear hips. This projects a look of a large cat moving with lightning speed and with the big head all stretched out and more than ready to capture the unsuspecting prey. This symbol has been the basis for the Jaguar’s design over many years and remains to have a strong weight on the overall proportion and balance of the automobiles from Jaguar, whether it’s from the past, the present, or even the future.
Compared to high performance sports cars from other brands, the Jaguar was made to float down the road gracefully. As such, the expectation is that the Jaguar is an automobile that is silent and smooth but lightning fast. It is also an automobile that is noble and elegant at the same time. In order to understand the brand better, it is good to look at what is represented in the visual metaphor on the company name and the feline.
It is also important to look at the logo and even the different milestones it achieved in the past. While the past Jaguar slogan stated "Grace, Space, & Pace", the team at Bertone revealed that for the Jaguar B99 concept, the catch phrase should be: "Cunning Glamour with Race-Bred Innovation." One of the things that an observer will notice about the Bertone Jaguar B99 concept car is that it does not have the low nose and high tail wedge shape that are seen in many modern sport sedans.
Using the standard three volume architecture, the headlights and the taillights have more or less the same ground clearance. Its rocker panel and beltline are perfectly parallel to each other. In addition, the form language is anything but horizontal. The B99 shows that its muscles are indeed tight, much like a jaguar preparing to pounce or a sprinter readying just prior to the gun signal. Its bodyside meanwhile gives the impression of leaping forward. The contrast between leaping and linear is the secret for what is called as the dynamic imbalance, a possible evolutionary trend which Jaguar could implement to its future design language.