Jaguar’s been on quite a roll of late, and it appears that that momentum isn’t going to be backing down soon. The absolutely-bleeding-mental XE SV Project 8, the supercharged V8 monster with performance that beggars belief, has just nabbed the lap record for a production car at the Nurburgring, ahead of the previous record holder by a good 11-seconds.
They’ve been very careful about the way they’re publicising it though, as they claim that this is the record for a “four door sedan in production-intent specification.” That sounds needlessly complicated, though it outlines just how fussy the lap-time game has become. Nurburgring lap times are considered to be the metric with which to measure the potency of performance cars, and admittedly, 7-minutes 21.2-seconds is a highly impressive number, which again, is some 11-seconds faster than the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, the previous holder of the record with four doors that you can buy in a showroom.
“SVO’s raison d’être is to produce halo vehicles that push the boundaries in luxury, performance, and all-terrain capability. 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. Project 8 will be assembled by hand in the new SVO Technical Centre, and we’re confident that our enthusiastic and demanding clients will love driving Project 8 as much as we do.” — John Edwards, Managing Director, Jaguar Special Vehicles Operation
At the helm of the XE SV Project 8 for the flying lap was Vincent Radermecker, a former BTCC racer who has more than his fair share of accolades on the track. His skills plus the formidable performance of the Project 8 have put the four-door saloon car ahead of far more focused vehicles, like the Porsche 911 997 GT2 RS and even the Pagani Zonda F Clubsport.
The XE SV Project 8 made its debut at this years’ Goodwood Festival of Speed, feeling the event was only the most natural fit to unveil the most powerful Jaguar in history. Packing a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine, this once-domesticated housecat now produces a stratospheric 441kW of power and 700Nm of torque. In something the size of a BMW 3-Series.
Shoehorning an engine like that into a compact family saloon means that the XE can now rocket from nought to 100km/h in an unbelievable 3.7-seconds, before topping out at 322km/h, making it supercar quick (and leaving behind competitors like the BMW M3 and Alfa Romeo Giulia QV in the dust). Putting all this power down to all-four wheels is a retuned eight-speed ‘Quickshift’ automatic transmission, which can shift non-sequentially (like going from 5th to 3rd) in as little as 200ms.
Only 300 left-hand drive models will roll out of Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) facility, fitted with a multitude of refinements made to maximise the potency of the XE SV. Carbon fibre and aluminium body panels are utilised to minimise weight, while manually-adjustable ride height and carbon ceramic brakes, along with F1-rooted silicone nitride cream wheel bearings, carbon-fibre aerodynamic bobs and a ‘Track’ driving mode give the XE the sort of agility and raw performance that’s expected of what SVO director Mark Stanton calls “a four-door supercar.”
The XE SV’s Jekyll/Hyde character is underlined with things that seemingly appeal to opposing extremes. There’s a titanium active exhaust system and electronic rear diff, as well as a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.2-inch TouchPro infotainment system, and a 380W Meridian sound system. Other things include gloss-finished carbon fibre interior trim, Alcantara trimming on the dashboard, door cards and steering wheel, paddle shifters in aluminium, and performance seats in the front with a magnesium frame.
Further emphasising the track-focused nature of the XE SV are things like the standard 20-inch alloys (wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres) and optional ‘Track Pack’ which throw out the rear seats, replaces the fronts with carbon-fibre racing buckets, throws in four-point harnesses and fits a fire-extinguisher system.
But this is optional; As standard, the XE SV gets black leather/suede combination seats, with bespoke ‘Project 8’ markings on all four pews. The Track Pack also sees fitment of a Harness Retention Hoop at the rear, a gloss-black roof, and twin-stripe Project 8 decals.
The XE SV Project 8 is priced at a shade under £150,000 (or roughly $290,000), with the order books ready and waiting. We’re not sure how many have been sold already, but as a weekend toy, this thing is in a class of its own. Shame it’ll never make it to Australia.