From £149,9958
Jaguar's 592bhp super-saloon may be a Nürburgring record holder, but how does all that focus and power translate onto the public roads of its homeland?

Our Verdict

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 2018 road test review hero front

Limited-run super-saloon looks bred for the track, but Jaguar's Project 8 delivers on the road as well

26 October 2018
Jaguar XE SV Project 8 2018 UK

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 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.

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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.

What's it like?

On Snowdonia’s bumpiest and most uneven roads, the Project 8 does feel over-sprung, to the point where you simply back off and wait for the asphalt to improve. There aren’t very many modern performance cars that don't feel over-sprung on those roads, however.

On the smoothest stretches that you’ll find in North Wales, meanwhile, the car’s chassis works very well indeed, lending the Project 8 the sort of body control and agility that you’d expect of a purpose-built sports car.

But what of those in-between roads, the sort that makes up the majority of our network? Crucially, there is just enough pliancy and composure to make the car not only bearable but also enjoyable. The Project 8’s is a busier and more connected sort of ride quality than that of any other super-saloon, the pay-off being an altogether more thrilling driving experience.

If the Project 8 isn’t undone by a typically lumpen B-road, it certainly is by wet and damp conditions. An overall sense of size and weight, as well as relatively numb steering and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres that are clearly at their best in bone dry conditions, means the car prefers to be driven with caution rather than abandon whenever the wipers are sweeping back and forth.

At least with four-wheel drive you’re never at all unsure how much throttle you can apply; you simply apply all of it, whenever you can.

Should I buy one?

In the end, the Project 8 actually feels at its best on a circuit, where it is far and away more game than any other four-door on sale today. The trouble is, the eight-speed automatic gearbox that had been adequate out on the road is the weak link on track.

When the rest of the car is so sharp and responsive – not least the supercharged V8 – the slightly hesitant gearbox becomes something of a hindrance.

The XE SV Project 8 makes no more rational sense here in the UK than it did in Portugal - it remains a fearsomely expensive yet occasional-use four-door saloon - but it is still enormously good fun to drive.

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 specification

Where Snowdonia Price £149,995 On sale Now Engine V8, 5000c, supercharged petrol Power 592bhp at 6500rpm Torque 516lb ft at 3500rpm Gearbox 8-spd auto Kerb weight 1757kg Top speed 200mph 0-62mph 3.7sec Fuel economy 25.7mpg (combined) CO2 254g/km Rivals Porsche 911 GT3, Mercedes-AMG E63 S, BMW M3 CS

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Comments
30

26 October 2018
Jaguar does it again! Yet another model that goes effortlessly to the top of the class. With it's superb looks, precision engineering and race car handling, it simply casts aside the competition with a spin of it wheels. A premium performance saloon for those who demand the best of the best, an all conquering hammer blow to smash those Germans back to their savage lands.

26 October 2018
Rodester wrote:

Jaguar does it again! Yet another model that goes effortlessly to the top of the class. With it's superb looks, precision engineering and race car handling, it simply casts aside the competition with a spin of it wheels. A premium performance saloon for those who demand the best of the best, an all conquering hammer blow to smash those Germans back to their savage lands.

Do you get paid to write such drivel? Even the people who work for JLR aren't such sycophants 

26 October 2018
Juzoik wrote:

Rodester wrote:

Jaguar does it again! Yet another model that goes effortlessly to the top of the class. With it's superb looks, precision engineering and race car handling, it simply casts aside the competition with a spin of it wheels. A premium performance saloon for those who demand the best of the best, an all conquering hammer blow to smash those Germans back to their savage lands.

Do you get paid to write such drivel? Even the people who work for JLR aren't such sycophants 

I think it's tongue in cheek, referring to Roadster's lavish praise of everything that's JLR but who has a hatred of German cars which are viewed as inferior to any other car around.

26 October 2018
Rodester wrote:

Jaguar does it again! Yet another model that goes effortlessly to the top of the class. With it's superb looks, precision engineering and race car handling, it simply casts aside the competition with a spin of it wheels. A premium performance saloon for those who demand the best of the best, an all conquering hammer blow to smash those Germans back to their savage lands.

Your usual unbiased comments on a JLR product. 

 

 

26 October 2018
TheDriver wrote:

Rodester wrote:

Jaguar does it again! Yet another model that goes effortlessly to the top of the class. With it's superb looks, precision engineering and race car handling, it simply casts aside the competition with a spin of it wheels. A premium performance saloon for those who demand the best of the best, an all conquering hammer blow to smash those Germans back to their savage lands.

Your usual unbiased comments on a JLR product. 

 

 

Driver, correct. My comments are unbiased. Not just unbiased but fact. When those Allemani hordes are capable of competing with JLR your sarcasm my be valid.

26 October 2018

Sarasm? No, I’m applauding your heroic defence of one of the world’s greatest automotive masterpieces. In fact, you’re understating the immense superiority of the Jaguar over anything created by those Teutonic engineers. The Jaguar is, in fact, seriously underpriced and is surely worth more than, say, a McLaren. Hang in there and fly the flag for the best car manufacturer in the known universe.

28 October 2018
TheDriver wrote:

Sarasm? No, I’m applauding your heroic defence of one of the world’s greatest automotive masterpieces. In fact, you’re understating the immense superiority of the Jaguar over anything created by those Teutonic engineers. The Jaguar is, in fact, seriously underpriced and is surely worth more than, say, a McLaren. Hang in there and fly the flag for the best car manufacturer in the known universe.

Heroic defence? There's no defending, why defend when you're impervious to any threat. It's not underpriced either, it's priced to its market. That market knows what it wants and what it's worth. Therefore it's priced correctly. You could argue premium products, designed by premium designers, engineered by premium engineers attract premium pricing, purchased by premium consumers from a premium company.

26 October 2018

Who wants an XE that’s been pimped? There might be a market when the tasteless people who buy the current Civic Type R grow up? I’d love to see the economics of this when they count the beans at the end of the production run. 

 

Sorry Jaguar, but you need to move your game on, the styling of the XE is terminally dull inside and out, and the XF looks long in the tooth. Oh, and build some decent engines, the Ingeniums are coarse duds. BMW, Audi, and Merc wipe the floor in the market vs Jaguar in saloons, so what are going to do? Run to the SUV market and put all your eggs in one basket? risky.....

26 October 2018
Paul Dalgarno wrote:

Who wants an XE that’s been pimped? There might be a market when the tasteless people who buy the current Civic Type R grow up? I’d love to see the economics of this when they count the beans at the end of the production run. 

 

Sorry Jaguar, but you need to move your game on, the styling of the XE is terminally dull inside and out, and the XF looks long in the tooth. Oh, and build some decent engines, the Ingeniums are coarse duds. BMW, Audi, and Merc wipe the floor in the market vs Jaguar in saloons, so what are going to do? Run to the SUV market and put all your eggs in one basket? risky.....

Paul, just step back and take look a what you have said.  Allow the absurdity of it to sink in.  This is the pinnacle of the performance saloon car market, the XE already has no competition, it sits on its own, a class above, premium.  The Ingenium engine range is the culmination of years of development by world class engineers, top of their field, it's a premium power plant fit for premium vehicles, other manufacturers, particularly those from Germania cannot get close, even through cheating.  JLR are world class, leaders, trendsetters, premium and are second to none.

26 October 2018
Rodester wrote:

Paul Dalgarno wrote:

Who wants an XE that’s been pimped? There might be a market when the tasteless people who buy the current Civic Type R grow up? I’d love to see the economics of this when they count the beans at the end of the production run. 

 

Sorry Jaguar, but you need to move your game on, the styling of the XE is terminally dull inside and out, and the XF looks long in the tooth. Oh, and build some decent engines, the Ingeniums are coarse duds. BMW, Audi, and Merc wipe the floor in the market vs Jaguar in saloons, so what are going to do? Run to the SUV market and put all your eggs in one basket? risky.....

Paul, just step back and take look a what you have said.  Allow the absurdity of it to sink in.  This is the pinnacle of the performance saloon car market, the XE already has no competition, it sits on its own, a class above, premium.  The Ingenium engine range is the culmination of years of development by world class engineers, top of their field, it's a premium power plant fit for premium vehicles, other manufacturers, particularly those from Germania cannot get close, even through cheating.  JLR are world class, leaders, trendsetters, premium and are second to none.

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