Ladies and Gentleman the wait is over. Jaguar has finally pulled the covers off its newest concoction, the XE SV Project 8. We wrote about the Project 8 when Jaguar started teasing us back in May. Thankfully today is the day, we finally get to see the finished form of what is Jaguar’s fastest saloon to date. I’m here to tell you, it is damn impressive.
Let’s get down to the brass tax. The reason we are all here. And that is of course the engine. Sitting under the hood of the Project 8 is a remarkable 5-liter V8 that has been supercharged, making a proud 590-horsepower. That is a significant number for several reasons. First, that officially makes the Project 8 the most powerful Saloon Jaguar has ever produced. It’s also the most powerful road-going Jaguar ever produced. EVER. That doesn’t even seem possible, yet it’s true. Paired to the wicked 8-speed that comes as the only option you are left with 0-60 in just 3.3 seconds. Which marks another record for the British car builder, as this is also their fastest accelerating car ever.
The Project 8’s impressive acceleration can be credited to a host of things but mainly it comes down to that stout V8, all new AWD system and Jaguar’s quickest shifting transmission to date. The combination puts it just ahead of the Panamera Turbo in sheer acceleration while also ousting the German for top speed rights. 200mph to 192mph to be precise. Yet straight line speed isn’t the end goal with the wicked Jag, the XE SV is just as capable when the straightaway ends and the corners begin.
The SVO team has stated “form follows function without compromise,” establishing the approach to creating the mad hatter of Jaguars. That means that everything about the Project 8 is wider and more aggressive, all in the pursuit of going faster around the track. The body has been widened to accommodate the new rear axle, which happens to be 110mm wider than the standard XE. The front has also been extensively modified to make room for the massive 20-inch wheels and tires, requiring the headlights to be moved by 14mm. The Project 8 also sports all new aerodynamics, including a fully adjustable rear wing, one that can produce up to 268lbs of downforce at full clip. Pairing that with a massive front splitter and an equally large rear diffuser and the Project 8 has transformed from a butter knife to a katana.
The previously mentioned 20-inch rims at built from forged aluminum and wrapped in ultra sticky Michelin Pilot Cup 2’s. This may be the single most significant modification that Jaguar has done to truly show how serious they have taken the game of speed. The SVO department director can be quoted as saying, “My SVR is a useable, everyday car. If this ends up being an everyday car, we’ve missed the point.” The track type wheels and tires drive that point home like Happy Gilmore. It happens to be your only option as well, while the Project 8 is being marketed as extremely customizable they are sticking to their guns about which wheel and tire package needs to be run on this type of purpose-built machine. This has also allowed them to fit the Project 8 with impossibly large 400mm carbon ceramic discs up front. That’s larger than what a ZR1 came stocked with.
Now, this doesn’t mean that the Project 8 is stripped of all its creature comforts in the pursuit of speed. Unless you want it to be. In standard trim, it’s actually loaded by comparison. You still have the majority of options available to the standard XE, with the inclusion of some nice carbon fiber trim and Alcantara leather. Hell, the Project 8 even has built in Wifi for up to 8 devices, because that’s a thing now. If having your passengers using up all of your precious Wifi isn’t quite your thing you do have an easy out. You can elect to get the track package. This will make your Project 8 a permanent 2-seater, replacing the rear seats with a full roll cage. Your front seats will also be upgraded from the standard units to proper Sabelt racing buckets. This also drops the weight of the Jag by almost 27lbs, while keeping all the go fast goodies.
Let’s recap. The Project 8 is awesome. It’s also really fast while still keeping its comfort. That means it’s a win-win. There is only one drawback, and it’s a massive one. No, it’s not the price point. At $200,000 the Project 8 isn’t cheap, but it seems like a steal when you consider it’s ability to perform in every category. No, the real issue is the number 300. That’s how many units Jaguar will be making total, as if they wanted it to be exclusive or something. It’s a shame because that likely means none of us will get a chance to own one. Let’s keep from not dwelling on the one downside though, instead let us appreciate all the great things about the fastest production Jag in history. For instance that exhaust note.
It’s enough to make a grown man weep, which is good because you will likely be already crying over the fact that this Project 8 isn’t yours. It’s nice that Jag considered that and gave us all an easy excuse. They claim that the Project 8 ‘Sounds like no other Jaguar,’ which is true, I don’t think a Jag has ever sounded this good. The combination of snarling exhaust paired with the wine of a supercharger is pure automotive bliss. It’s arguably the Project 8’s biggest highlight, but thankfully it can back up all that bark with plenty of bite. Jaguar has provided some excellent insight into the creation of the Project 8, while also sprinkling in some clips of that exhaust note they keep bragging about. I know what I’ll be listening too for the rest of the day.