Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 Unveiled - Brand's Most Powerful Road Car Yet

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 Unveiled - Brand's Most Powerful Road Car Yet

The XE SV Project 8 is the second auto produced by Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations team and as well as being the most powerful road-going Jag ever is the fastest-accelerating auto the firm has produced.

Although Project 8 - the second one designed after the F-type Convertible Project 7 - looks merely like an aero-kitted XE, it has 75% new body panels.

Unlike BMW's M4 GTS, Project 8 is four-wheel drive, a maximum 30 per cent drive going to the front axle.

The automaker has not confirmed the release of the 2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8 in the U.S. Its codename: Project 8. The boosted engine trails the Dodge Charger Hellcat by 115 horsepower but the Jaguar weighs a full 320 kg less than the porky Dodge; that's because the Project 8 was meant to do more than go in a straight line. The bonnet, bumpers, bodykit and massive rear wing are all made of carbon fiber, while the new 20-inch wheels are forged from aluminum.

But that is just about the only metric where a standard auto will better the Project 8, with the angriest XE available springing to 60mph (97km/h) in 3.3 seconds.

If all that makes the Project 8 sound more like a race vehicle than a road auto, that is exactly the point. The exterior design was headed by Wayne Burgess, Jaguar's production studio director, who said he took inspiration from Group B Lancia Delta Integrale rally cars. An Electronic Active Differential (EAD) was also installed on the XE XV Project 8 which works with the Intelligent Driveline Dynamics system that evenly spreads torque delivery on each of the rear wheels.

The packaging issues that force the left-hand drive configuration are partly brought on by the Project 8's considerably low ride height and fat 265-section front tyres.

The vehicle features three drive modes: Normal, Dynamic (the default setting) and a new Track mode, which will adjust the engine map, dampers, steering and throttle for optimum performance.

Claimed to be the most focused auto SVO has ever produced, the Project 8 makes use of technology more often seen on race circuits than high streets. Its wide track calls for flared wheelarches, and the wheels are said to use silicon nitride ceramic bearings that come from Formula One cars.

Underpinning the XE SV Project 8 will be an all-wheel-drive system and adjustable dampers at all four corners, as well as carbon-ceramic brakes.

Because it's being built in such small numbers, Jaguar has been able to fit expensive parts aimed specifically at improving track performance. Only 300 examples of the Project 8 will be produced and each will be hand-built at Jaguar's new SVO Technical Centre.

The Project 8 will be available in two forms: the "normal" four-seat model and a two-seat Track Pack version. For the ultimate track-day special, you can even specify a Track Pack, which ditches the rear seats in favour of a metal frame to secure the racing harnesses that hold you tight in the carbon fibre sports seats. The limited run is due to production capacity at SVO's Ryton factory and also to safeguard the future resale value of the vehicle for customers.

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