We’ve been waiting for Jaguar to produce a truly hot version of the XE since the sedan was introduced in 2014. Now, for a few lucky buyers, it has finally arrived in the form of the limited-edition, 592-hp XE SV Project 8.
s the name suggests, the Project 8 is the spiritual follow-up to the hyper-limited F-type Project 7 roadster, and is produced by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division. With four seats and a roof, the XE–based special will be more practical; it also will be the fastest-accelerating Jaguar yet, with a claimed zero-to-60-mph time of 3.3 seconds. The stated 200-mph top speed also is impressive, but it doesn’t top that achieved by the XJ220 back in the 1990s.
The engine is a reworked version of JLR’s familiar supercharged 5.0-liter V-8, welcome proof of Jaguar design boss Ian Callum’s assertion at the car’s original launch that the big engine would fit into the XE. It gets a new air-intake system and exhales through a lightweight titanium exhaust. The transmission is the ZF eight-speed automatic from the regular XE but with more aggressive software that Jaguar says is able to change gears in 0.2 second. The car also gets all-wheel drive and a torque-vectoring rear differential.
Suspension changes include ball-jointed upper control arms at the rear, height-adjustable spring platforms that allow a 0.6-inch drop for track use, and new steering knuckles with what are described as “Formula 1–style silicon nitride ceramic bearings.” Carbon-ceramic brake rotors measure 15.7 inches at the front and 15.6 inches at the rear.
Bodywork modifications are considerable, including widened front and rear wheel arches, an aggressively styled front fascia, and a giant rear wing. That wing and the other aerodynamic mods deliver more than 269 pounds of downforce at 186 mph. Lightweight materials include carbon fiber for the front and rear bumpers, front fenders, and rear diffuser. Jaguar claims a total weight of 3847 pounds.
Only 300 Project 8s will be produced, and—in a blow to Jaguar’s British home market—all will be left-hand drive. Some markets will be able to specify an even harder-core track pack, which swaps out the rear seats for a partial roll cage and substitutes motorsport-style buckets with multipoint harnesses in the front; buyers in North America won’t be able to specify this option.