In April 2004, Jaguar presented the long wheelbase version of the XJ luxury saloon at the New York International Auto Show. Alongside it, handsomely demonstrating that the XJ’s iconic styling can be strikingly contemporary and dynamic as well as classically elegant was a surprise - the Concept Eight, an intriguing show car based on the XJ LWB which introduced new levels of luxury, new in-car communications and entertainment technology, and exciting new performance styling cues. Less than twelve months later, driven by the enthusiastic reaction to the dramatically sporty design study, Jaguar arrives at the 2005 New York Show with the Super V8 Portfolio, the 400bhp production offspring of the Concept Eight - a sporting long wheelbase saloon with attitude, spectacularly defined by its muscular looks, powerful, modern character and unique interior and equipment features.
‘The Super V8 Portfolio takes the Jaguar XJ LWB experience to new heights, reinforcing the contemporary luxury and technology credentials of our flagship saloon while adding even greater exclusivity. It’s a car with a real sense of occasion and one that demonstrates perfectly just how capable the XJ is right across the board.’
Joe Greenwell, Chairman and CEO, Jaguar Cars
The Super V8 Portfolio underlines the acclaimed quality of the XJ’s engineering, rooted in its advanced aluminium construction. It builds on the XJ Long Wheelbase’s lightweight, strong dynamic performance, exceptional spaciousness and agile, sporty handling. It demonstrates Jaguar’s commitment to intelligent use of technology - to the benefit of driver and passengers and not just for the sake of maximum specification. It shows, too, that there’s more to the XJ’s core character than space, elegance and luxury, and that Jaguar knows how contemporary British design can match XJ heritage with 21st century sporty appeal.
Not least, the Super V8 Portfolio demonstrates Jaguar’s ability to respond positively and rapidly to market and media feedback, in moving from concept to production readiness within a year of the original unveil.
The Super V8 Portfolio will be built as a special edition car but with a global reach, for the USA, for key European markets, and other markets worldwide. Every car will be built to a single specification. Visually that is distinguished by key design details including the sculpted aluminium power vents in the front wings, the distinctive mesh grille used on all Jaguar’s most powerful cars, its polished 20-inch alloy wheels, and its unique exterior finish - in any colour you like so long as it is the stunning Black Cherry that first appeared on the Concept Eight design study.
Inside, the Super V8 Portfolio is just as different - again closely based on the Concept 8’s design cues. It features leather and wood trim but with a very modern spin, individual power-adjustable rear seats separated by a large centre console, and a new-generation equipment list ranging from Bluetooth� connectivity to a DVD system with twin rear display-screens, and from four-zone air conditioning to surround-sound audio and TV.
Mechanically, the Super V8 Portfolio has the power and refinement of Jaguar’s supercharged 4.2litre V8 engine and advanced six-speed ZF automatic transmission. Like the XJ Long Wheelbase on which it is based, it has the longest wheelbase and overall length in the large premium saloon class, but the lightest weight among all its long-wheelbase rivals. Those dimensions give it front leg and headroom and rear passenger space all comparable with the best in the class. The XJ’s light weight, even in long wheelbase form, contributes to fuel economy, emissions ratings and performance that are virtually identical to those of the standard wheelbase XJ saloons - including an electronically limited top speed of 155mph, and 0-60mph in a very impressive 5.0 seconds (0-100kph in 5.3 seconds), proving the Super V8 Portfolio’s sporty character is more than cosmetic.
So, overall, it both builds on the XJ Long Wheelbase’s traditional image, and challenges it - with a 21st century attitude that makes the Super V8 Portfolio a different kind of XJ altogether.
THE XJ SUPER V8 PORTFOLIO AT-A-GLANCE
Special edition production successor to the Concept Eight design study - shown to wide acclaim in New York in 2004
A thoroughly modern take on the XJ saloon’s traditional virtues, changing everything from looks to equipment to performance
400bhp supercharged V8 power and six-speed ZF automatic transmission, for sporty performance with huge refinement
Contemporary, sporty exterior design cues, including sculpted aluminium power side vents, distinctive mesh grille, larger chrome-finished tailpipes, polished 20-inch alloy sports wheels, and unique Black Cherry exterior paint
Unique luxury interior combines a modern, sporty feel with a full range of the latest technology - intelligently applied
Soft-grained leather, satin-finished black walnut veneer, Alcantara head-lining, aluminium J-gate surround, individual power-adjusted rear seats separated by large centre console, large powered glass sunroof, and four-zone air conditioning
Bluetooth telephone connectivity, DVD system with twin rear display screens, TV tuner, Alpine surround-sound audio system with Dolby Pro-Logic sound processing, seven amplified channels, and substantially upgraded speaker system - with 2x40 watts increase in output over normal Premium ICE system
All the engineering strengths, performance, safety, economy and dynamic brilliance of the XJ Long Wheelbase, with advanced aluminium monocoque construction for maximum rigidity with minimum weight - the basis for a great, driver’s car.
THE SUPER V8 PORTFOLIO IN DETAIL
Like the Concept Eight design study which previewed it, the Super V8 Portfolio is based on the technically advanced aluminium monocoque construction of the XJ LWB saloon. That car is the largest saloon in the premium F segment, with a wheelbase increased by 125mm (5 inches) compared with the standard wheelbase XJ saloon, and the rear roof height subtly raised by 7mm to maintain the XJ’s beautiful proportions - but also to the benefit of rear headroom. That makes the Super V8 Portfolio comparable with the best-in-class for rear roominess, offering almost one metre (more than 39 inches) of rear legroom, and headroom fully competitive with its premium long-wheelbase rivals. But thanks to its unique high technology structure, the Super V8 Portfolio, like the XJ Long Wheelbase, weighs only around 24kg (53lb) more than the standard wheelbase model, making these the lightest cars in their class - some 100kg (221lb) lighter than their nearest rivals. That creates significant benefits, from economy and all-round performance to braking efficiency. Lower weight also means better safety performance, as less energy is involved in any collision. Like the most powerful version of the standard XJ Long Wheelbase, the Super V8 Portfolio is powered by a 400bhp version of Jaguar’s supercharged 4.2litre V8. But it is a very different car from that standard Super V8, in both visual and dynamic character.
NEW LOOKS, TOTALLY NEW CHARACTER
The Super V8 Portfolio’s most obvious feature is its spectacularly different appearance, and its dramatic styling takes its unique design cues almost directly from the highly acclaimed Concept Eight. The whole impression is of a car that sits lower and wider and is much more overtly sporty. Like all Jaguar’s highest performance models, it uses a classically simple mesh grille, flanked in this case by four headlights above a deep front air intake incorporating additional driving lights. The prominent sculpted aluminium power vents in its front wings immediately set the Super V8 Portfolio apart from any other XJ, including the Long Wheelbase Super V8 on which it is based - and the vents on the Super V8 Portfolio reinforcing the Jaguar identity with the ‘leaper’ logo.
‘The Super V8 Portfolio is the XJ with more attitude. All the elegant proportions and contemporary detail are there, but overlaid with a totally different sporty character - a new assertiveness and muscle-tone that underline the XJ’s dynamic brilliance and build on its innovative engineering.’
Ian Callum, Design Director, Jaguar Cars
Equally important in defining the Super V8 Portfolio’s contemporary, sporty character are its 20-inch ‘Callisto’ alloy wheels - with the same highly-polished five-spoke design as the 21-inch wheels of the Concept Eight but promising better everyday durability and ride comfort for the production car. Like the Concept Eight wheels they have slim, elegantly curved spokes, and like the Concept Eight they feature the classic Jaguar script centre badge style - as in other design details of the Super V8 Portfolio, combining heritage with a super-modern spin.
At the rear of the car, the Super V8 Portfolio is further distinguished from other XJ models by large, polished twin exhaust finishers, and by ‘Super V8 Portfolio’ badging - ‘Super V8’ on the left-hand side of the boot lid and ‘Portfolio’ on the right-hand side. Where the Concept Eight study used a full-length fixed glass roof panel, the Super V8 Portfolio has a more conventional roof with a large electrically powered tinted glass sunroof - which has the advantage of allowing the Super V8 Portfolio to retain the side-curtain airbags that the Concept Eight deleted.
And the final, unique and dramatic exterior design cue (again taken from the Concept Eight) is the Super V8 Portfolio’s standard colour - metallic ‘Black Cherry’, a combination of a rich cherry and deep black which shows subtle variations of both colours under changing light conditions.
THE INSIDE STORY - ALL CHANGE
As with the exterior, the Super V8 Portfolio’s interior treatment is even more contemporary and sporty, overlaying familiar XJ values of comfort and luxury with a modern spin, making extensive but carefully considered use of intelligent technology to serve both driver and passengers.
‘When Jaguar launched the aluminium XJ, it demonstrated a key step in our strategy of using technology to deliver real customer benefits. The advanced lightweight body structure enabled us to deliver true Jaguar performance with improved fuel economy, emissions and safety. And we have continued to build on that foundation. The new long wheelbase XJ gives our customers outstanding interior space in a full-size luxury package. Now, the Super V8 Portfolio adds yet another dimension to the XJ range.’
Bibiana Boerio, Managing Director, Jaguar Cars
The Super V8 Portfolio delivers space and luxury with an added level of sportiness and modern design cues. Like any XJ Long Wheelbase it has front and rear leg and headroom comparable with the best-in-class, and it offers its own rear seat configuration, with two deep individual seats separated by a large, multi-functional centre console. Each rear seat is individually power adjustable, with its own controls in the rear console, which also incorporates a range of roomy storage spaces. For maximum comfort, the rear console also incorporates the individual controls for the rear-seat passengers’ part of the four-zone climate control system.
All four seats are upholstered in a unique, soft-grained, ruched, ‘Conker’ coloured leather, toning with the ‘Conker’ colour of the deep carpets and lambswool rugs. The headlining, visors and all the internal pillars from the tops of the doors up are finished in Alcantara, and the polished aluminium sill finishers each carry the ‘Portfolio’ logo. There is an electrically operated rear sunblind and manually operated rear-door sunblinds.
As is traditional, the Super V8 Portfolio uses wood trim across the dashboard and for the door cappings, produced with typical Jaguar quality and craftsmanship but with a distinctive modern twist - an elegant American black walnut veneer with a soft satin finish very like some of the contemporary designer furniture that inspired it. That contrasts subtly with the Conker colour of the leather, carpets and general trim, and is given a sportier highlight by touches like the aluminium J-gate gearshift surround and the gearshift-knob finished in Conker coloured leather. There are also metallic bezels, as on the XJ Long Wheelbase, to finish the rear display screens, the front touch-screen for the multi-function display system, and the door-mounted audio speakers.
The audio system has an impressive specification, even in this premium large saloon segment. Produced for the Super V8 Portfolio by Alpine it is substantially upgraded from the high-level systems already offered in the XJ Long Wheelbase. It has Dolby Pro-Logic II sound processing, with seven amplifier channels plus a sub-woofer. It offers greater output - and the latest amplifier and speaker technologies take sound reproduction quality to new heights. There are new, upgraded door speakers, a unique ‘centre-fill’ speaker in the front instrument panel, two additional surround speakers mounted in the rear parcel shelf, and an additional amplifier for the front mid-bass range, which gives a 2x40-watt power increase over the standard Premium ICE system.
In addition, the Super V8 Portfolio has a DVD-based entertainment system for the rear-seat passengers, with individual display screens in the back of each front-seat headrest. There is also a TV tuner, and the Super V8 Portfolio includes Bluetooth telephone connectivity.
DYNAMIC BRILLIANCE - THE PART THAT DOESN’T CHANGE
While the Super V8 Portfolio changes dramatically in styling, interior design and equipment detail, what doesn’t change is the outstanding technical specification of the XJ Long Wheelbase starting point for the new special edition model. And that includes everything from the XJ’s industry-leading aluminium monocoque construction to its powerful and supremely refined supercharged V8 powertrain.
‘The Super V8 Portfolio offers Jaguar’s expected combination of style, space and dynamic sporting luxury. It’s got all the essential XJ character but with added contemporary highlights - I guess you could sum it up as one absolutely sophisticated car for today’s discerning individual!’
Bibiana Boerio, Managing Director, Jaguar Cars
The all-aluminium construction methods that Jaguar introduced with the latest generation XJ saloon in 2003 broke completely new ground, and laid the foundations for generations of modern Jaguar still to come.
Unlike other aluminium-bodied cars, the XJ family, including the Super V8 Portfolio, uses full stressed-skin monocoque construction and the complete body structure, including all the outer panels, is manufactured from aluminium. As well as sheet material, it uses components produced by the latest forming, casting, extrusion and machining processes, including some magnesium components in specific areas. It uses very advanced assembly techniques adopted from the aerospace industry, including adhesive bonding and self-piercing rivets - in effect replicating the use of seam welding and spot welding respectively on a conventional steel monocoque, but with a huge saving in weight, and massive gains in strength and torsional stiffness. With that starting point, the XJ saloon, in either wheelbase option, is around 200kg lighter than the equivalent model from the previous, steel-shelled generation, and is easily the lightest car in the premium large saloon segment, with huge benefits in performance, safety, economy and emissions performance. It also offers exceptional corrosion resistance (allowing a six-year anti-corrosion warranty) enhanced repairability following minor impacts, and the associated benefits in lower insurance ratings that that brings.
‘The Super V8 Portfolio is just one of the ways in which we are enriching the XJ range", explains Joe Greenwell, Jaguar Chairman and CEO. "Later this year we will introduce a new diesel-powered derivative to meet demand in Europe and of course give our customers even greater choice.’
In one area, the Super V8 Portfolio actually exceeds the Concept Eight’s specification, with a power output of 400bhp (SAE) compared to the design study’s 395bhp. In the Super V8 Portfolio, that comes from Jaguar’s now familiar and highly regarded supercharged 4.2-litre V8 engine, which also has a hugely flexible 408lb ft of torque at only 3,500 rpm - with at least 86 per cent of that peak torque figure produced across a wide range from only 2,000 rpm to well beyond the torque peak point.
That excellent engine is matched by the superb six-speed ZF automatic transmission already used in the XJ Long Wheelbase. Like the engine, it is notably light and compact and features Bosch Mechatronic shift - an electro-hydraulic shift mechanism whose adaptive shift strategy (controlled by the engine management) responds to both road conditions and the way the car is being driven, to give the smoothest shifts with optimum performance. In the Super V8 Portfolio, this combination gives an electronically limited maximum speed of 155mph, 0-60mph in exactly 5.0 seconds (or 0-100kph in 5.3 seconds), a combined consumption of 23.0mpg (12.3 l/100km) and a CO2 emissions rating of 299g/km.
The Super V8 Portfolio retains all the XJ Long Wheelbase’s agile driving dynamics and class-leading ride-comfort. Both front and rear suspension use what are essentially double wishbone layouts, with lightweight alloy components to reduce unsprung weight, to the benefit of both comfort and control. Like other XJ Long Wheelbase models, the Super V8 Portfolio uses air suspension, and Jaguar’s Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) system. That electronic control system continuously adjusts the XJ’s damping characteristics, from firm to soft in milliseconds, to suit the driving conditions, optimising both ride and handling. Steering is by ZF Servotronic power assistance, and the Super V8 Portfolio uses the supercharged XJ Long Wheelbase’s high performance brake system, with ventilated front discs and four-piston aluminium monobloc callipers, and solid rear discs with two-piece four-piston callipers - plus four-channel ABS anti-lock brakes and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA). Electronic Traction Control and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) are also standard.
Like other XJs, the Super V8 Portfolio features Jaguar’s industry leading Adaptive Restraint Technology System, A.R.T.S., combining dual-stage front airbags, ultrasonic front passenger sensing, an energy absorbing seating system incorporating an anti-whiplash mechanism in the front seats, and pyrotechnic pre-tensioners for all seat belts. Safety equipment also includes chest airbags in the driver and front passenger seat bolsters, side air curtains all round and ISOFIX rear child-seat attachment points.
From XJ Long Wheelbase to Concept Eight to Super V8 Portfolio, the underlying technical sophistication and refined character of the XJ range doesn’t change at all - but they are also very different cars indeed.
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