Revealed: Project 8, a 200mph, £150k Jaguar XE

Revealed: Project 8, a 200mph, £150k Jaguar XE
Revealed: Project 8, a 200mph, £150k Jaguar XE

A few weeks after teasing the world with pictures of a camouflaged test car Jaguar have announced full details of their most extreme model ever.

The XE SV Project 8 is the second car produced by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations team and as well as being the most powerful road-going Jag ever is the fastest-accelerating car the firm has produced.

With 592bhp and 516lb/ft of torque, Project 8 can reach 60mph in an eye-watering 3.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 200mph.

Equally eye-watering is the £149,995 starting price, reflecting the Project 8’s exclusivity – just 300 examples of the four-door saloon will be built.

Announcing details of the car, John Edwards, JLR’s special operations managing director, said: “SVO’s raison d’être is to produce halo vehicles that push the boundaries in terms of luxury, performance and all-terrain capability.

“This is one of the most extreme vehicles we have ever created, but still very much a Jaguar”

Ian Callum

“Project 8 is a great example of what happens when enthusiastic designers, engineers and manufacturing specialists are given the opportunity to create an extreme performance sports car without compromise.

Engineering enhancements

At the heart of the Project 8 is the same supercharged 5.0-litre V8 found in the F-Type SVR and Range Rover Sport SVR. Its latest power hike has been achieved through significant changes to the intake, exhaust and cooling systems as well as reworking the engine software.

Coupled to that is an upgraded version of Jaguar’s eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel-drive system and an electronic active differential which works with the intelligent driveline dynamics system to manage torque delivery.

To give the Project 8 handling chops to match this power, SVO engineers have comprehensively reworked the XE’s chassis and suspension, fitting stronger and lighter components, stiffer springs, continuously variable dampers with track settings and carbon ceramic brakes.

As evidenced by the pictures, the XE’s bodywork has also be given a thorough reworking. Every panel except the roof and front door skins is new, with the extensive use of carbon fibre panelling cutting weight and improving aerodynamics. Front and rear wings have been widened to accommodate the huge tyres (285mm at the front, 305 at the rear) and a carbon fibre bumper and adjustable splitter help manage airflow to improve downforce. At the back that massive wing is manually adjustable and there’s a new bumper and diffuser.

Jaguar XE SV Project 8

XE SV Project 8 in numbers

300 production models
£149,995 starting price
592bhp
516lb/ft
3.3 seconds to 60mph
200mph top speed

Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design director, said: “Project 8 is a performance-driven car. As such, all of the enhancements we’ve made to the XE sports saloon – already a benchmark for dynamics – are established through physics as well as aesthetics. The result is clearly a powerful looking and very fast motor car.

“The aerodynamic elements are hugely significant beyond 150mph, even more so beyond 180mph. This is one of the most extreme vehicles we have ever created, but still very much a Jaguar.”

The Project 8 is the first Jaguar to feature a specific track mode and, for buyers looking to make the most of its circuit abilities, it can be specified with the track pack which removes the two rear seats and fits lightweight front carbon fibre racing seats with four-point harnesses.

Only 300 models, all left-hand-drive, will be made, each one hand-built at the new £20 million SVO technical centre in Warwickshire.

The starting price may be £149,995 but that’s only the beginning, with buyers able to personalise the car to their heart’s content, including adding “race-inspired decals” to their £150k Jag.

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