NEW LIMITED EDITION XKR PORTFOLIO
HEADLINES XK RANGE FOR 2004
"The supercharged XKR Convertible is already one of the world’s most desirable sports cars. The limited-edition Portfolio only adds to the car's immense appeal." George Ayres, Vice President, Marketing, Jaguar
|XKR 2004...."Portfolio" collectors edition
The latest in the limited edition XKR ‘collector’ series – the XKR ‘Portfolio’ – headlines Jaguar’s XK sports car line up for 2004.
Just 200 Portfolio models are being built exclusively for the U.S. market, following on from previous collector XKR series – the XKR Silverstone (2001), and XKR100 (2002). Named after the famous British racetrack, the Silverstone celebrated Jaguar’s entry into Formula One racing, while the XKR100 celebrated the centenary of the birth of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons.
|XKR 2004.....Front Portfolio
Of the 200 convertible-only Portfolio models, 100 will feature unique Jupiter Red paint, the other 100 having eye-popping Coronado Blue paintwork. Both feature black, power-operated tops. The cars will also be distinguished by bold, 20-inch split-rim BBS ‘Detroit’ alloy wheels fitted with high-performance 255/35ZR 20 tires at the front, 285/30ZR 20 at the rear.
But the most significant changes are made to the interior. Heavily bolstered R Performance Recaro sports seats feature color-keyed Boxmark leather inserts in either red or blue, to match the car’s exterior color.
|Portfolio's custom interior
Red or blue Boxmark leather is also used for rear seat cushion and backrest inserts, as well as inserts for the steering wheel, the gearshift knob, the door panel inserts, and seat and center console piping. There is also a bronze-stained Sapele veneer.
The limited-edition XKR Portfolio will have an MSRP of $93,995 – $7,000 more than the standard XKR Convertible.
|This says everything you need to know
Like the standard XKR, the Portfolio models are powered by a 390 bhp (SAE) supercharged 4.2- liter V8 mated to a six-speed ZF automatic transmission. They are capable of standstill to 60mph acceleration in a blistering 5.3 seconds, yet can average 23mpg on the highway.
STYLE WITH SUBSTANCE
"The XK is universally regarded as an icon of automotive beauty. As many people have observed, the shape has matured to become even more attractive than when it was when launched." Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar
When the original XK8 was unveiled in 1996, this elegant, high-performance sports car set new standards in the luxury sporting market. Succeeding the venerable XJS, the front-engined, rear-drive XK8 was Jaguar’s first new sports car in two decades – and the first for a whole new generation of buyers.
It set new records for Jaguar in terms of the time taken to bring a new model program to market, and achieved new levels of quality and functionality. The XK8 also set sales records, rapidly becoming the fastest-selling sports car in Jaguar’s history.
In 1999, an even more dramatic model was unveiled – the supercharged XKR. With still more impressive performance, the R added another dimension to the XK story, creating a 358 bhp supercar capable of crossing continents at triple-digit velocities.
Even after seven years of production, the XK8 still displays a timeless beauty and sensuous elegance. From its curvaceous nose and raked-back windshield, to those muscular rear haunches, the XK displays all the power and visual beauty of the animal it’s named after.
With the major engineering changes that came with the 2003 XK, the exterior changes remained subtle, with actions taken largely to ‘freshen’ rather than re-invent. There was new badging, four new exterior colors, a range of new interior trim combinations, and three new wheel designs.
The introduction of Xenon headlamps – as standard on the XKR and optional on the XK8 – gave the front of the car a distinctive new look.
In its most dramatic guise – XKR Coupe with the latest R-Performance range of options – the XK looks as if it came straight from the racetrack. Particularly with the optional 20-inch BBS split-rim ‘Detroit’ alloy wheels shod with ultra low-profile Pirelli PZero tires and Brembo calipers.
COMFORT AND JOY
"There are few more cosseting places to be in life than the cockpit of a new XK. It is a place filled with all the visual and tactile cues that have become the hallmark of Jaguar." Ian Callum, Jaguar Director of Design
Traditional craftsmanship, modern technology and add quality and originality to Jaguar’s XK sports car. For example, the burl walnut veneer that is used for the XK’s fascia is cut by hand from one single veneer ‘leaf’ so that the grain carries through from one side to the other. Lacquer is then applied, again by hand, to produce that characteristic high gloss.
|XKR's Portfolio's lavish luxury is evident in every direction
The veneer isn’t applied to wood as in the old days of Jaguar, which could eventually split or warp. Instead, it is glued to an aluminum substrate, which provides a more rock-solid base.
Molded plastic provides consistent quality on the more complex shapes found on the XK’s dashboard. Then there’s the leather that flows over the seats, center console, door panels and steering wheel.
Every piece is still cut by hand using wooden templates, weighted down so the leather worker can trim it using an extremely sharp knife.
Years ago, the Jaguar trim shop looked at cutting leather with a laser. The idea was rejected, why? Because a laser creates heat and it made the edges of the leather brittle. That meant if someone pulled at the stitches, the join could come apart.
The cabin of the 2004 exudes traditional craftsmanship and quality. Yet behind the wood veneer and hand-stitched leather is the latest automotive technology; a six-speed automatic controlled by Jaguar’s unique J-gate shift lever; A concert hall quality 320-watt Alpine audio system; An optional navigation system (standard on the XKR); and rain-sensing wipers.
For the 2004 XKR, there are a wide array of options: Single color or contrast trim, a Performance all-leather steering wheel and a special Momo leather gearshift knob from the R Performance options range and body-hugging R Performance Recaro front seats trimmed in softgrain leather with integrated head restraints. Also, a high-tech ‘aluminum pack’, with textured aluminum surrounds for the tread plates and pedals is standard on the XKR. The XK8 receives aluminum surrounds for the instrument bezels, J-gate surround, and door release levers.
"The changes made to the XK last year – larger capacity 4.2-liter engines, six-speed automatic transmission – contributed to an improvement in every aspect of the driving experience." Russ Varney, XK Chief Program Engineer
|XKR's also get performance gearbox
The shape stayed the same, almost everything else changed. For 2003, the sensuous XK sports coupe and convertible underwent their most significant, and substantial, engineering update since the XK’s original introduction in 1996.
The complete powertrain was revised from the rear axle forwards, with new, larger-capacity, more-powerful V8s, and a state-of-the-art, six-speed automatic transmission. In total, 900 partnumber changes – changes that gave the XK a completely new, more dynamic driving feel.
While many of the components changed, the personality of the XK did not; it continues today to provide a perfect balance of a true, high-performance sports car and luxurious, elegant grand tourer.
Two new 4.2-liter V8 engines – evolved from the familiar 4.0-liter AJ-V8 - take the performance of the new XK to soaring new levels.
|The heart of each XKR the high performance super charged V8
In normally aspirated form, the engine produces 294bhp (SAE) – up from the previous 280 – but with a more significant increase in peak torque, from 277 lb-ft, to 303 lb-ft. Against the stopwatch, that translates into a 0-60 mph time for the XK8 Coupe, of just 6.1 seconds.
The supercharged 4.2 that propels the XKR coupe and convertible, increased in power from 358bhp (SAE) to 390bhp, providing the XKR coupe with standstill to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds (5.3 for the convertible).
More dynamic off-the-line acceleration, and greater mid-range punch on both versions of the latest AJ-V8 is aided by the state-of-the-art ZF six-speed automatic, similar to the one used in the latest S-TYPE and all-new XJ flagship.
The XK’s top speed may be electronically limited to 155 mph, but the combination of increased torque across the rev range and six speeds rather than five, makes the XK’s mid-range performance even more flexible – and powerful – than ever. In the supercharged XKR, midrange thrust, for passing or merging with Interstate traffic, is nothing less than staggering.
CHASSIS AND BRAKES
"One of the core values of the new XK is the purposeful use of relevant electronic technology to significantly enhance driving enjoyment and safety." Phil Hodgkinson, Director of Product Development
|Massive Brembo brakes....race proven safety
The 2004 XK’s dynamic, responsive handling and impressive ride comfort starts with the car’s two-door monocoque shell, which is extremely stiff and exceptionally strong, yet surprisingly lightweight. It is quite literally the base on which the XK’s success is built.
Using high-strength steel in key areas, including the front chassis members, the suspension and bumper mounting points, door intrusion beams and seat-belt anchorages, the stiff shell provides a rock-solid foundation for exceptional suspension performance – always a Jaguar hallmark.
The XK features independent front suspension with double, unequal length A-arms, coil springs and telescopic dampers. This is a classic layout, but in the XK’s case, features numerous Jaguar refinements. Like the front wishbones being secured to an immensely rigid, very light, allaluminum-alloy front crossbeam.
The rear suspension also uses coil springs, independent telescopic dampers, and an unequallength wishbone layout with the driveshafts acting as upper links. Anti-squat geometry prevents the XK’s tail dipping under hard acceleration.
Electronic driver aids that comes as standard on the 2004 XK include Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Jaguar’s Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) system – standard on the XKR only.
|Race inspired drivers pedals
Also available on the XK is Jaguar’s remarkable Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which takes the function of cruise control an important step further. Using microwave radar technology, ACC detects slower vehicles ahead, or can sense another vehicle crossing into ‘your’ lane. If this occurs, speed is adjusted to suit by overriding the set cruise speed to maintain the gap, and removing the need for the driver to adjust or cancel the set speed.
All 2004 Jaguar XKs come with powerful brakes. With ventilated discs at all four wheels, and four-channel ABS anti-lock function as standard to retain steering control even during an emergency stop, the XK is equipped to stop as impressively as it goes.
The normally-aspirated XK8 has radially ventilated rotors all round (12.8 x 1.1-inch at the front and 12.0 x 0.8-inch at the rear). The supercharged XKR, with its greater performance, features 14.0 x 1.3-inch ventilated front discs and 13.0 x 1.1-inch ventilated rear discs, with four-piston aluminum calipers carrying the Jaguar R Performance logo and manufactured by Brembo.
HANDLING AND RIDE
"With the latest XK, we focused on providing agile, responsive handling to reward the driving enthusiast, but not at the expense of a comfortable, relaxed ride. The XK offers the perfect balance." Mike Cross, Chief Engineer of Vehicle Integrity
The 2004 XK is as much the luxury grand tourer as it is the responsive, agile-handling sports car. The car has to satisfy the enthusiast wanting a rewarding Sunday morning ‘blast’ as much as the traveler looking to cover 1,000 miles in a day.
That’s why the XK’s long-travel, independent coil suspension is tuned to provide the perfect balance between taut handling and a smooth ride. The XK’s perfectly-weighted, speed-sensitive, power-assisted steering also helps makes the car feel lithe and nimble, particularly when pressed hard on tight, twisty back roads.
But the pure enthusiast, however, only has to look to the supercharged XKR to get an XK that’s happy to spend its weekends at the track. Sports-tuned suspension, together with standard 18-inch alloy wheels shod with high performance 245/45-ZR18 front, and 255/45-ZR18 rear tires give the car a truly dynamic character on the road.
The XKR comes fitted as standard with Jaguar’s remarkable Computer Active Technology Suspension – or CATS for short. This is an electronic control system that combines upgraded springs to increase roll stiffness with adaptive dampers to optimize ride refinement. It helps deliver a blend of driving dynamics with the comfort and refinement that is a Jaguar hallmark.
This sophisticated technology allows the XKR to be two kinds of car in one package – a true sports car, but with comfort of a luxury grand tourer.
In simple terms, CATS works by continuously adjusting the damping characteristics to suit driving conditions, optimizing both ride and handling. A series of sensors provide information to the electronic control unit, which is mapped to deliver the best solution to dampers that can switch between firm and soft settings in milliseconds.
When the car is started-up, damping defaults to the firm setting, but switches to the softer setting once the car is traveling at more than 5mph on a smooth, straight road. When the XKR encounters a bump, or during cornering and braking, the settings switch instantaneously to the firm model, reducing body roll and increasing stability.
BUILDING THE XK – BUILT AT BROWNS LANE
Jaguar’s XK sports car takes to the road, even before it’s built.
As part of its production process, the XK’s bare body structure is assembled and painted at Jaguar’s newly modernized Castle Bromwich plant on the outskirts of Birmingham, England.
The painted bodyshells are then loaded aboard covered trucks and shipped by road the 15 miles to Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant, near Coventry for final assembly and trim installation.
Browns Lane is Jaguar’s spiritual home, having being acquired by Sir William Lyons in 1951. It also serves as Jaguar’s corporate headquarters.
Editors Summary: The 2004 "Portfolio" XK will be a real collectors items before it even hits the showrooms. Also if you have read this artilcle with care there is a great deal of improvements to the XK product concept which will help bring the XK into a more aggressive position in the marketplace with upper end consumers looking for a fresh sportscar experience away from the many German flavors. As well as going head to head with Maserati's sports 2 seaters. We are looking forward to testing the new 2004 XK "Portfoilo" edition as well as the XKR 2004 soon. We will offer a indepth drive review as soon as possible.
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