The ordinary Jaguar XE sedan is a surprising little bugger. It’s basically following the footsteps of the fifth-generation BMW E90 3-Series, which in my opinion is the last 3 Series deserving to be called a compact-luxury car. The most powerful version of the XE is the S trim with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 in rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive format. But if you want a full-bore XE with ludicrous numbers, you can’t go wrong with the 2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8.
The new Jaguar XE SV Project 8 is the most powerful production Jaguar ever made
Wait, hold on. How about the illustrious Jaguar XJ220 supercar equipped with a twin-turbocharged V6? Back in the day, the XJ220 was setting speed records with its 542-horsepower V6 and five-speed manual transmission. But the new XE SV Project 8 sedan is even more powerful than the XJ220 supercar.
Jaguar claims the XE SV Project 8 produces 592-horsepower (600 PS) from a supercharged 5.0-liter V8. With an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, the car rushes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3-seconds and a top speed of 200 mph (320 kph). It’s essentially a compact luxury Jag that behaves like a rally car at full song.
This makes it the fastest four-door production car around the Nurburgring Nordschleife
In November 2017, the XE SV Project 8 lapped the Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 21 seconds. But the 2019 XE SV Project 8 achieved the feat in 7 minutes 18.361 seconds, which is 2.9-seconds faster than the previous lap time and approximately seven seconds faster than any other four-door production car.
“The original Nürburgring time set by Jaguar XE SV Project 8 demonstrated the extreme performance envelope of the world’s fastest production sedan,” said Jamal Hameedi, Engineering Director of Jaguar Special Vehicle Operations (SVO). “But the SV team is driven by a motorsport mentality and we knew Project 8 could go even faster. This new official record time is a fitting reward for everyone who has played a part in pushing the boundaries for our customers with Project 8.”
That record-setting Project 8 came with the Lightweight two-seat Track Pack package which includes height-adjustable twin-spring coilover suspension, an adjustable front splitter, and a giant carbon-fiber rear wing. Of course, the outlandish body graphics are standard as well.
The Touring trim is a sleeper version of the Jaguar XE SV Project 8
I understand why younger buyers prefer the shouty yet infantile body graphics and giant rear wing in the standard Project 8. But if you like your Project 8 to be less innocuous, the Touring trim is the right choice. The Touring spec removes the odd graphics and is offered in four colors: Velocity Blue, Corris Gray Satin, British Racing Green, and Valencia Orange.
Gone too is the massively childish rear wing in place of a more subtle and mature lip spoiler. The Touring spec also receives four-proper seats as standard. It’s basically a cleaner and more dignified version of the standard Project 8, and we like what we’re seeing despite the Touring having a lower 186 mph top speed.
The Jaguar XE SV Project 8 is on a limited production run
Perhaps the most alluring thing about the 2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8 is the scarcity. Jaguar claims only 300 examples are intended for worldwide distribution with only 15 examples slated for the Touring version.
The base price starts at around $190,000
I must admit, $190k is a lot of money for a compact luxury Jag, even if you factor in the standard carbon-ceramic brakes, racing suspension, 20-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, race-style front seats, and titanium exhaust tips. If you look around, you’ll find BMW and Mercedes sedans with more powerful engines at almost half the price of the Jag. Even the Porsche Panamera Turbo starts at a lower base price than Jaguar’s bonkers Project 8.
But if the base price offends you, it means you’re not the intended buyer for this car. In my humble opinion, the XE SV Project 8 is for the moneyed enthusiast looking for the flashiest and fastest sedan to take on a school run.