More stories related to New York Auto Show NEW YORK – Press conference or no press conference, Jaguar Cars has some big news for the Big Apple.

The auto maker, absent from the March 23-24 New York International Auto Show press conference roster, uses the exhibition here any way to launch the ’06 Super V-8 Portfolio edition of the XJ sedan.

The vehicle, based on the Concept 8 unveiled at the New York show in 2004, goes on sale in August with volume limited to less than 200 units initially. A spokesman says the Portfolio package is intended primarily for the U.S. and Canada, but also will be sold in the Middle East and Japan.

’06 Super 8 Portfolio

The Portfolio, quietly on display at the British auto maker’s stand here, is based on the XJ’s long wheelbase (LWB) edition that bowed in the U.S. last year. The special-edition car gets noticeable exterior and interior upgrades, in addition to a few more horses under the hood.

Its supercharged 4.2L V-8, also fitted in Jaguar’s R models and the Super V-8 XJ, turns out 400 hp, up from 390 hp previously. Each of the models fitted with the engine will now be capable of the higher performance number.

The Portfolio “takes the Jaguar XJ LWB experience to new heights,” Jaguar CEO Joe Greenwell says. Key exterior enhancements vs. the standard Super V-8 include aluminum side vents, unique mesh grille, enlarged chrome exhaust tips, exclusive 20-in. alloy wheels and a choice of two Portfolio-only paint colors: Black Cherry or Winter Gold.

The headliner, visors and pillars are dressed in Alcantara material, while supple leather wraps the seats. A black walnut veneer plates many of the interior surfaces.

The Portfolio news comes as XJ sales founder. Through February, deliveries of the flagship sedan – redesigned for ’04 – lag like-2004 by 13%. Overall Jaguar sales are off a staggering 29%.

It should be noted XJ sales were sizzling during first-quarter 2004 on the initial strength of the redesign. However, U.S. sales gradually dwindled later in the year, even following the summer 2004 launch of the LWB that was expected to fuel the momentum.

jstoll@primediabusiness.com