What is it?
A question mark has hung over the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 ever since we drove it for the first time in Portugal in May.
Here was a four-door saloon car with more mechanical grip and more on-track handling ability than any other saloon before it; that much was clear. But by being so uncompromising in its quest for agility and dynamic response, would it simply be too stiff to work on a typically bumpy British B-road?
It was on the invitingly twisty and undulating roads of North Wales that we got our answer.
The Project 8 is a super-saloon like no other. Available in left-hand drive only, it’ll be limited to 300 units worldwide. Whereas most super-saloons are everyday cars that happen to be capable of supercar-baiting straight-line performance, the Project 8 is more likely to be tucked up during the week and rolled out for sunny weekends. At £149,995, it is also much more expensive than any conventional super-saloon.
Developed and built by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations, the Project 8 shares its basic body-in-white with the regular Jaguar XE, but just about everything else has been modified or uprated. The familiar 5.0-litre supercharged V8 that serves across the JLR group has been shoehorned in. With outputs of 592bhp and 516lb ft, it is the most powerful engine ever fitted to a Jaguar road car.
Ticking a box on the options list marked Track Pack will add £10,000 to the invoice and see the rear seats replaced with a half roll cage and the front chairs junked in favour of carbonfibre-backed bucket seats with four-point harnesses. This particular car was not so equipped.