The list of 200mph-plus road-going Jaguars isn’t very long at all. On it, you’ll find the likes of the XJ220 – born in the heady days of the 1990s supercar craze – and, more recently, the F-type SVR.
And that’s about it – until now. Over the past couple of years, the marque’s least likely contender, the XE saloon, has been given the full-blown Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) treatment. Welcome, one and all, to the Jaguar Project 8.
Following on from the Project 7 – the roofless, powered-up F-type with a hint of D-type thrown in for good measure – Project 8 is Jaguar’s “most track focused and powerful road car ever,” says John Edwards, Managing Director of SVO.
Weighing in at 1,745kg – a few hundred kg heavier than the standard XE, despite the extensive use of carbonfibre – Project 8 ditches the XE’s standard diesel engine for a hefty 5-litre Supercharged V8 offering up a monstrous 592bhp. With that, you and your fellow passengers will be touching 60mph in 3.3seconds on the way to a top speed of 200mph. Not bad for a five-seat family car, hey?
On the outside – despite the familiar XE styling cues – there’s not much in common with the original car. Only the roof and front doors match up, in fact. Everything else is custom made and hand-built at SVO’s Bond-like lair, including the no-so-subtle rear wing, blistered arches and bodywork. Even the front lights have been moved forwards 14mm to accommodate the 20inch alloys and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, which, for those in the know, is a pretty serious set of track day rubber.
You and your fellow passengers will be touching 60mph in 3.3 seconds. Not bad for a five-seat family car, hey?
With carbon ceramic brakes as standard, it’s also possible to spec the (yet to be priced) track pack, which gets rid of the rear seats in favour of a roll cage, racing bucket seats in the front, a 15mm drop in ride height and, with all that, a handy fire extinguisher.
With no mention of Nurburgring lap times just yet, the Project 8 will be up against the likes of whatever Mercedes AMG Black Series sub-brand has up its sleeve and the BMW M4 GTS, which already set a lap time of 7min 20sec at ‘the ring’. But what will a Project 8 set you back? Starting at a fraction under £150,000, with additional extras like the track pack yet to be priced, what could make the Project 8 especially hard to get hold of is the limited run of just 300 cars globally. All of which will be left-hand drive, to optimise the driving position and weight distribution, says Jag.
Debuting on Friday June 30 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Jaguar hopes the Project 8 will follow in the footsteps of its predecessor – the Project 7 – in becoming an appreciating asset for collectors and enthusiasts alike. Those already on the waiting list will have to hold out until March 2018 for the first hand-built cars to make their way onto the road. Expect a healthy dose of V8 rumble, supercharger scream and blistering speeds around that time. Until then, just try to be patient, gents.