Not that long ago it would have been totally unlike Jaguar to release a car with something as garish as a wing stuck on the back. Let alone black garish wheels and yellow brake callipers. This isn’t Vauxhall we’re talking about, this isn’t a Fast Ford or a hot hatch. This is Jaguar, you know, leather, wood, chrome, and a monocle…
Ah, but you’re thinking of Jaguar in the Nineties. These days Jaguar gets away with outrageous stuff, like actually good cars, and zero-emissions racing, and SUVs. And 320kph family saloons. The new Jaguar XE SV Project 8 is, then, not only mighty fast but mightily expensive too with a limited run of just 300 examples worldwide each costing over Dh700,000. That’s five times as much as a base-spec Jaguar XE saloon, but then again the entry-level model doesn’t do 0-100kph in three and a half seconds.
Made of aluminium and using plenty of carbon fibre exterior body panels, the XE SV Project 8 is the most powerful Jaguar road car ever, and the first road-legal one with a supercharged 600 horsepower 5.0-litre V8. It will be completely hand-made in Jaguar’s new SVO (Special Vehicles Operations) Technical Centre in the UK.
Curiously the car is designed exclusively as a left-hand drive vehicle despite its native country doing it the other way around. Although it starts to make sense when you realise Jaguar intends this primarily as a track weapon, despite basing it on the humble XE saloon.
To handle all that blown grunt, the four-door is developed with all-wheel drive (no, you can’t have a rear-drive one with a stick shift), additionally featuring stiffer springs and manually adjustable dampers that lower the ride height by up to 15mm for track use. The car also debuts Jaguar’s new carbon ceramic brakes, and a rear electronic active differential with an oil cooler so it can handle prolonged hard driving.
This is also the first ever Jag to come with a dedicated Track Mode which sharpens throttle and steering responses. If you really are a track rat then you’ll want the optional Track Pack which goes as far as ditching the standard rear seats (with lightweight magnesium frames, mind you) in favour of no rear seats at all, and carbon-fibre backed racing buckets up front. “SVO’s raison d’être is to produce halo vehicles that push the boundaries in terms of luxury, performance and all-terrain capability,” says SVO boss John Edwards. “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 sportscar without compromise.”
And what’s more uncompromising than having rear doors without rear seats?
Ensuring even higher performance the Project 8 also throws in flared bodywork and 20in wheels, plus an adjustable rear splitter and rear wing, acting together with a rear diffusor.
You can order one of 300 cars in any of eight standard body colour choices, including Fuji White, Narvik Black and Caldera Red, plus five exclusive SVO Design options such as this Valencia Orange, and Velocity Blue, Meribel White, Verbier Silver and a matte-finish Corris Grey.
If you pay extra you can go further and ask SVO to paint your Project 8 in a tricoat, satin matte, or even pearlescent finish, and additionally choose from different available racing stickers, which we’re obliged to add, aren’t worth a second a lap.