Ever so often car manufacturers take some of their indiscreet family saloons and turn the dials up to 11, the usual guilty suspects for this are the Germans, and a prime example is the BMW M5 and the BMW M3. However, Jaguar has now taken a leaf out of the pages from its German counterparts, and I must say I am most pleasantly surprised and impressed.
The Jaguar XE came out only several years ago, and from the start, it has been a pretty good, ordinary family saloon. Affordable, spacious and all-round well-balanced car; somewhere along the lines, Jaguar decided to show exactly what their badge truly stands for and awaken the beast inside. The SV Project 8 is limited to just 300 being built, and it is produced in collaboration with the high-performance division SVR which is responsible for the super-fast, super powerful and super noisy Range Rovers and F-Type Jags. Of course, Project 8 shares its body, roof and front doors with the standard XE though from here on out everything is entirely different, reworked and revised. The suspension is wholly new and reworked; the engine is a mighty 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 that produces an astonishing 592bhp and 516lb-ft of torque. As such the Project 8 is Jaguar’s most powerful road going monster that they have ever made.
The best way to describe the Jaguar Project 8 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing; it looks and sounds like a super-sports saloon. Although Project 8 is more in line and comparable to the Porsche 911 and the track-focused BMW M4 GTS. The only difference though, Project 8 has four doors and five seats that is if you decide not to go for the Track Pack. A £10,000 option that saves a mere 12kg, essentially replaces the rear seats for a half-roll-cage and adds carbon bucket seats with four-point harnesses. That being in mind though, I probably would leave this option unticked, leave some form of practicality and versatility.
Though the outstanding features about Project 8 aren’t its power or speed, it’s the engineering, the intelligent 4-wheel drive system and suspension. At first glance, the Project 8 does seem like it wouldn’t fare too well on normal roads, and you are right, the ride is too firm, too tight and unforgiving on bumps; but what it lacks in comfort, although not too firm, it makes up for in cornering. The adaptive dampers, the specially designed tyres and permanent four-wheel drive ensure that the car will always have grip, will always remain on the apex and will always perform no matter the weather.
Of course, there are better super sports saloons for much less, costing at £150,000 it isn’t the cheapest. Its main rivals being the BMW M5 and the Mercedes E63s offer better practicality for a much lower price. However, the Project 8 is the closest thing you can experience to driving a pure-blooded race car on the road, it is without limits and a car that is so in tune with what man and machine should be.