Jaguar's 592-hp XE will be brand's fastest road vehicle

Most extreme Jaguar XE bares its teeth

The bodywork is wider to accommodate fatter tires for more grip. The British auto maker has revealed its most powerful sports vehicle ever, the new Jaguar XE SV Project 8, and says the new super saloon can eat BMW M3s and Mercedes-AMG C63s for breakfast.

Jaguar was indeed busy making an even more powerful version of the XE compact saloon. 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. So the XE SV Project 8 features four-wheel drive as standard. A widebody kit brings about 20-inch forged alloy wheels. Clearly, this will hinge upon exactly how much of the massive investment ploughed into this limited-run auto inevitably trickles down into a roadgoing variant and how closely that vehicle can mirror the capabilities of the Project 8.

In addition to aluminum, carbon fiber is used to help shed weight, for example for the bumpers and vented hood.

The front bumper, adjustable front splitter, side skirts, rear bumper, and rear diffuser are also all made from carbon fiber, helping make the 3,847-pound Project 8 the lightest of the current lineup of V-8-powered Jaguar sedans. Jag bosses claim that despite the headlights and numberplate, in no way was the XE SV Project 8 meant to be a useable and friendly grocery getter.

Ride height is also manually adjustable, while its aerodynamics and Driveline system have been set up for circuit use in mind.

The Project 8 is dripping with motorsport tech - it's the first road auto to get Formula 1-style silicon nitride ceramic wheel bearings, for example, and the aerodynamics, titanium exhaust system owe more to the track than the daily commute.

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Now for the bad news. The transmission will also allow non-sequential downshifts when needed, so dropping multiple ratios won't require you to go down through every gear when slowing for a corner. Peak power comes at 6,500 rpm, and maximum torque is available from 3,500 rpm to 5,000 rpm. The vehicle should grip well, too, thanks to wide tyres and the downforce from an adjustable carbon-fibre wing, yet despite all the add-ons, Project 8 is still claimed to be the lightest V8-powered Jaguar saloon you can buy. It also alters the way in which the electronic rear-differential distributes power to each wheel.

Inside, air conditioning keeps the driver cool during track days. The car's interior is dominated by Alcantara leather and glossy carbon fiber accents. "Once you decide that, then the XE makes sense, because it's our most agile saloon and has the aluminium platform". It is then topped off with a premium 380W 11-speaker sound system from Meridian.

In the United States, the XE SV Project 8 will only be available in a standard four-seat configuration. The standard four-seat model features Jaguar's front performance seats with magnesium frames and a heavily contoured rear squab to maximize support.

Inside the XE SV Project 8 is a little more restrained, but not by much. The Track Pack edition, meanwhile, gets carbonfibre racing seats with four-point harnesses.

Like the M4 GTS, Project 8 is to be made in only limited numbers of 300 units - all in left-hand-drive form. No price has been announced for the US versions, but in the United Kingdom this strictly limited edition, ultra-performance Jaguar sedan will cost the equivalent of $192,000.

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