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Jag's orange is the new Black Series. Image by Jaguar.

Jag's orange is the new Black Series
Jaguar XE SV Project 8 harries AMG with a 600hp V8 engine.
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2017-11-29: Jaguar XE SV Project 8 sets ‘Ring record

Wow, that's... orange.

Indeed it is; it's the new Jaguar XE SV Project 8, a 300-off special edition that is really the ultimate XE saloon.

What, it's good for sales reps with attitude, is it?

A bit more than that. The SV badge means that this is the latest offering from Jag's highly classified (not really) Special Vehicle Operations division, and it has been modified to within an inch of its life.

The Project 8 get the ultimate, and possibly final, variant of Jag's long-serving supercharged V8 engine, and it has been tuned up to a whopping 600hp. That drives all four wheels though an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which you can control with a BTCC-style 'Pistolgrip' gear shifter. Performance is shattering - here is a compact sports saloon that can do a 3.3-second 0-60mph run and which tops out at 200mph, given the space.

Woof. Wonder how your back seat passengers will take that?

Well, you don't actually have to have any. The standard (if that's quite the right word) XE SV Project 8 does have a back seat, with bigger bolsters to keep everyone in place, and uprated front sports seats with lightweight magnesium frames. You can ditch the rear seats altogether though, by going for the Track Pack, which comes with carbon fibre backed front bucket seats and four-point racing harnesses.

The cabin also gets a liberal dose of carbon fibre and Alcantara suede trim, but don't go looking for a right-hand-drive model as there won't be one.

On the outside, Jag has made liberal use of carbon fibre for the front and rear bumpers, air intakes and diffuser, as well as the adjustable front splitter and the moveable rear wing. There's also a carbon bonnet, and stretched wheelarches to make room for the 20-inch forged alloy wheels.

The suspension has been lowered by 15mm, and the front brakes are uprated to massive carbon-ceramic items. There's also an industry-first use of Formula 1-style silicon nitride ceramic wheel bearings on a road car, and an electronically-controlled rear diff, which gets its own oil cooler.

And if 600hp in standard trim isn't enough for you, the XE SV also comes with an electronic Track Mode, which alters the four-wheel drive and stability control for better response on track, as well as sharpening up both the steering and the throttle.

Mark Stanton, SVO Director, said: "We have really been able to unleash the potential of our engineering and design teams in specifying Project 8. We are at the beginning of a very challenging and exciting development programme which will see us focus on ensuring Project 8 delivers track performance on a level previously not targeted by Jaguar. The SVO team is full of performance car enthusiasts that are now briefed to deliver motorsport science and soul in what is effectively a four-door supercar."

John Edwards, Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations Managing Director, said: "SVO's raison d'être is to produce halo vehicles that push the boundaries in terms of 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."

All 300 Project 8s will be hand-built in Jag's SVO headquarters in Coventry, and will cost from £149,995 each.

Neil Briscoe - 28 Jun 2017

2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Image by Jaguar.2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Image by Jaguar.2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Image by Jaguar.2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Image by Jaguar.2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Image by Jaguar.

2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Image by Jaguar.2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Image by Jaguar.2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Image by Jaguar.2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Image by Jaguar.2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Image by Jaguar.    - Jaguar road tests
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