Modernizing a Classic
Style. Sophistication. Elegance. Excellence. These are the attributes car manufacturers around the world strive to attain
|The Super V8 Portfolio, which debuted at this year's New York International Auto Show, will be the range-topping XJ, and what Jaguar believes to be the ultimate in modern luxury. (Photo: Jaguar Canada)|
when building their range-topping luxury sedans. These are the very same words you'll find in thick, glossy brochures and in the favoured vocabulary of salesmen, used to leverage the wealthy to drop six-figure sums on a luxurious automobile. And while it's true that these words can be applied to any full-size premium sedan, from the aluminum-bodied Audi A8, cyborg-like BMW 7-Series, the ever-popular Mercedes S-Class, and the understated underdog, the Volkswagen Phaeton, none is more deserving than the Jaguar Super V8 Portfolio Sedan.
The Super V8 Portfolio, which debuted at this year's New York International Auto Show, will be
|While the Portfolio hails from Coventry, England, it has deep connections with New York City. (Photo: Jaguar Canada)|
the range-topping XJ, and what Jaguar believes to be the ultimate in modern luxury. While the Portfolio hails from Coventry, England, it has deep connections with New York City - the Long Wheelbase variant of the XJ made its world debut at this very same show, last April, as did the Concept Eight, the vehicle which the Portfolio is modeled after. Like its one-off demonstrator, the production Portfolio is akin to the concept in that it raises the bar for luxury, in-car communications and entertainment technology, plus performance-oriented styling.
The Super V8 Portfolio is built
off the long-wheelbase aluminum monocoque chassis of the XJ LWB sedan, and it has the same 125-mm
|The Super V8 Portfolio is built off the long-wheelbase aluminum monocoque chassis of the XJ LWB sedan. (Photo: Jaguar Canada)|
(5-inch) longer wheelbase, and 7-mm (0.28-inch) taller overall height. Despite being one of the biggest and roomiest cars in the F-Segment, with nearly a metre (about 39 inches) of rear legroom, the XJ LWB is the lightest, weighing in at just 24 kilos (53 lbs) more than the standard wheelbase model, thanks to its innovative aluminum-intensive design. Compared to equivalently equipped rivals, XJ LWB models (including the Portfolio) weigh roughly 100 kilos (222 lbs) less, making for a quicker, nimbler and more economical luxury car. More on that later, though.
What sets the Super V8 Portfolio apart from the long-wheelbase Super V8
|Like all Jaguar 'R' performance models, the Portfolio integrates wire mesh as its grille surface. (Photo: Jaguar Canada)|
model are its unique styling cues, influenced by the Concept Eight show car. At rest the Portfolio sits lower to the ground, hunkered down on its contemporary 20-inch 'Callisto' wheels that use the same high-gloss finish and design as the show car's rims. The drop in ride height also promotes a wider, more sporting stance, which is a complete turnaround from the standard Long Wheelbase's ordinary, and more conservative, look. Like all Jaguar 'R' performance models, the Portfolio integrates wire mesh as its grille surface, though the casing is chrome, rather than body-colour finish, creating a richer appearance overall.
Things start to get a little more radical, moving from front to side, where the show car's sculpted aluminum 'power vents' make
|The distinctive 'power vents', engraved with the leaping jaguar logo, are long-time features on Jaguar concepts. (Photo: Jaguar Canada)|
their first production appearance. These distinctive vents, engraved with the leaping jaguar logo, are long-time features on Jaguar concepts, including the RD-6 four-door diesel coupe concept and this year's ALC coupe concept (said to be the next XK sports car), and are a symbol of the Portfolio's exclusivity. The addition of the new vents ironically means the removal of the side rub strips on the door, which would otherwise conflict with the contrasting alloy vent. While there won't be a full-length panoramic glass roof, one of the features of the Concept Eight prototype, the Portfolio does feature an electric sliding moonroof, as well as
|The only colour available will be a succulent, rich Black Cherry Metallic, drawn from the concept. (Photo: Jaguar Canada)|
curtain airbags, which were removed from the concept.
While Ebony and British Racing Green paint finishes, typical of heritage-rich Jaguars, would be perfect for the Portfolio, the only colour available will be a succulent, rich Black Cherry Metallic, drawn from the concept. This exclusive colour dances in the light, flipping between black and cherry red hues, providing a dazzling display which brings out the XJ's flanked circular lights, and body-long curves. It's also the perfect contrast to the bright chrome trim and mirrors as well as the brushed aluminum body accents.
Inside the Portfolio, Jaguar has taken a different spin on the XJ interior. Tired of being associated with every
|Inside the Portfolio, Jaguar has taken a different spin on the XJ interior. (Photo: Jaguar Canada)|
octogenarian's favourite crème/parchment leather and glossy burled wood scheme, this model targets modern jetsetters who have their fingertips on the pulse of fashion - rather than on their own wrists. Soft-grain Conker-coloured leather is used on the seats and door trims, with matching lambs wool rugs and carpets. The headliner and pillars are trimmed in Alcantara, while the dashboard and door accents are hand-crafted from matched pieces of American black walnut veneer with a soft, satin finish. Jaguar claims that this wood was chosen because it is the same type used in modern furniture, which its target audience favours. The lurid red mood lighting is, fortunately, nowhere to be found.
The Portfolio's cabin is laid out differently than the regular XJ Long Wheelbase, with two individual rear buckets separated by a large, multi-function centre console. These captain's chairs are electronically adjustable, and feature controls for the four-zone climate system, Bluetooth telephone connectivity,
|The Portfolio's cabin is laid out differently than the regular XJ Long Wheelbase, with two individual rear buckets separated by a large, multi-function centre console. (Photo: Jaguar Canada)|
as well as the controls for the rear-seat entertainment system, which consists of two LCD display screens mounted in the head restraints of the front seats.
A premium stereo system developed by Alpine has upgraded door speakers, a unique 'centre-fill' speaker in the instrument panel, two additional speakers on the rear parcel shelf and an additional 2x40 watt amplifier for the front mid-bass range. This near-overkill system is controlled by a Dolby Pro-Logic II processor which manages the seven amplifier channels plus subwoofer. I'm sure Jeeves will agree that the Portfolio's ICE system 'kicks'.
As decadent as its rear quarters are, the Super V8 Portfolio isn't a car to be chauffeured around in. Rather its 4.2-litre
|Controls for the rear-seat entertainment system operate the two LCD display screens mounted in the head restraints of the front seats. (Photo: Jaguar Canada)|
supercharged AJ-V8 engine was specifically designed for inspirational driving. Producing 400-horsepower and 408 lb-ft of torque, 86 percent of which is made from just 2,000 rpm, the Portfolio is able to perform, no matter what the situation is. Matched to a six-speed ZF automatic gearbox with adaptive shift technology, the Super V8 can dash to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds, and is able to reach an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. Meanwhile, front and rear aluminum double-wishbone air suspension and adjustable dampers reportedly provide a comfortable yet firm ride capable of coping with spirited driving. Steering is conducted through
|The Portfolio's 400-hp 4.2-litre supercharged AJ-V8 engine was specifically designed for inspirational driving. (Photo: Jaguar Canada)|
the famed ZF Servotronic system, while the brakes are high-performance four-piston calipers.
From XJ Long Wheelbase, to Concept Eight, to Super V8 Portfolio and everything in between, Jaguar has proven that one basic car can take on multiple identities, all of which have near-identical technical credentials. The Super V8 Portfolio is a car built to meet the highest modern standards, with a traditional image, embodied with 21st-century soul, and because of this, it's the hippest, trendiest Jaguar to set rubber to tarmac. When it arrives in showrooms later this year, it's bound to attract the young, and not just the young at heart, something that Jaguar has yet to have success doing.
- Price (estimated MSRP): $150,000
- Body Type: 4-door sedan
- Layout: front engine, RWD
- Engine: 400 hp, 408 lb-ft of torque, 4.2L, 32-valve DOHC supercharged V8
- Transmission: 6-spd auto
- Brakes (front/rear): disc/disc, ABS, BA
- Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 5.3 seconds
- Top Speed: 250 km/h (155 mph)
- Seating Capacity: 4
- Cargo Volume (trunk): 470 L (16.6 cu ft)
- Fuel Economy (combined): 12.3 L/100 km
- Warranty (mo/km): 48/80,000 comprehensive
- Direct Competitors: Audi A8 W12, BMW 760Li, Lexus LS 430, Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz S600/S55 AMG, Volkswagen Phaeton W12
- Website: www.jaguar.ca