The XJR Portfolio’s dramatic styling is a direct evolution of the highly acclaimed 2004 Concept Eight show car. It uses a classically simple mesh grille, flanked by four headlights above a deep front air intake to produce that unmistakeable Jaguar front end. And from the side the sculpted aluminium power vents in its front wings immediately set it apart from any other XJR.
"When we came to design the Portfolio edition we decided to allow the XJR to express itself," explains Jaguar Cars design director Ian Callum. "So we used aluminium and chrome to make parts of the car stand out like jewellery. You won’t be able to miss those bold 20-inch alloy wheels or the purposeful side power vents. And inside the cabin the blend of modern materials such as aluminium with classic Jaguar leathers and veneers means we can create a luxurious but contemporary interior."
Indeed, the XJR Portfolio’s contemporary, sporting character can be defined by its 20-inch ‘Callisto’ alloy wheels - with the same highly-polished five-spoke design as the Concept Eight but promising better everyday durability and ride comfort for the production car. Like the show car’s wheels they have slim, elegantly curved spokes, and also feature the classic Jaguar script centre badge style - combining heritage with a modern twist.
The XJR Portfolio will be available in bold Midnight black paint while its seats are upholstered in Ivory leather. The upper facia is finished in warm charcoal and is matched with an aluminium veneer and door trims. Both front and rear seats have variable heating and the driver’s seat includes lumbar and cushion length power adjust with full memory function. To add to that unique performance feel, the XJR Portfolio also sports an aluminium J-gate gearlever surround and chrome and leather gearknob.
In-car entertainment is provided by the 12-speaker Jaguar Alpine Premium sound system – including 320 watt amplifier, subwoofers and CD changer. Bluetooth connectivity for in-car mobile phone usage is also standard.Driving Dynamics
The all-aluminium construction methods that Jaguar introduced with the latest generation XJ saloon in 2003 broke new ground in the volume automotive industry. Unlike other aluminium-bodied cars, the XJ family uses full stressed-skin monocoque construction and its entire body structure, including all the outer panels, is manufactured from aluminium.
As well as sheet material, many parts of the XJ are produced by the latest forming, casting, extrusion and machining processes. Magnesium is also used in specific areas to reduce weight. Many of these very advanced assembly techniques have been adopted from the aerospace industry, including adhesive bonding and self-piercing rivets - in effect replicating the use of seam welding and spot welding on a conventional steel monocoque, but with a huge saving in weight, and massive gains in strength and torsional stiffness.
As a result, the XJR Portfolio is around 200kg lighter than the equivalent model from five years ago, with significant benefits in performance, safety, economy and emissions performance. It also offers exceptional corrosion resistance (allowing a six-year anti-corrosion warranty) and easier repairs following minor impacts.
The XJR Portfolio’s immense performance capabilities stem not just from its lightweight body but from its renowned 400bhp (SAE) supercharged 4.2-litre V8 engine, which also has 408lb ft of torque at only 3,500rpm - with at least 86 per cent of that peak torque figure produced across a wide range from only 2,000rpm to well beyond the torque peak point.
That excellent engine is matched by the superb six-speed ZF automatic transmission. 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 XJR Portfolio, this combination gives an electronically limited maximum speed of 155mph and 0-60mph in exactly 5.0 seconds.
As with all models in the XJ range, the XJR Portfolio edition uses air suspension matched with Jaguar’s Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) system. CATS continuously adjusts the car’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 XJR Portfolio uses a high-performance brake system, with ventilated front discs and four-piston aluminium monobloc callipers plus four-channel ABS anti-lock brakes and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA). Electronic Traction Control and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) are also standard.
The XJR Portfolio also features Jaguar’s 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 seatbelts. 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.
Sales begin in September 2006 with an on-the-road price of £62,040.
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