Jaguar XE SV Project 8 review: more sports car than super saloon

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Nearly £150k for an XE? Why not, when it’s this good? About a year ago, Jaguar unveiled its Project 8 car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Since then it’s been a race track video star, most impressively at the Nürburgring in Germany where (Jaguar reckons) it set a new saloon car lap record. Now, finally, we’re getting a go in the retail result of all Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations work, the limited-edition XE SV Project 8 super-saloon. Just 300 left-hand drive cars will be built by the division known for producing high-performance SVR Range Rovers and F-Types. In case you’re wondering why they’re all left-hand drive, it’s because the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 that provides the motive power wouldn’t squeeze under the bonnet of a right-hand drive car. In this iteration, it develops 592bhp and 516lb ft, giving this car the title of most powerful roadgoing Jaguar ever.

The basic body-in-white (the car’s main structure before all the external panels are fitted) is normal XE, but that’s as far as the commonality goes. The roof and front doors are the only non-bespoke panels. The suspension is totally new, as is the appearance of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres on a Jaguar. The model-unique aero construct can generate 122kg of downforce at 186mph. The £10,000-option Track Pack chops 12kg out of the car by binning the rear seats in favour of a half-roll-cage and adding carbon-backed front bucket seats with four-point seatbelts. It may all be looking a bit improbable for road use, but fear not: it turns out to be rather better than you would reasonably expect from such a hardcore machine with springs that are four and a half times stiffer than a regular XE’s.

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