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Future models - Jaguar - XE - SV Project 8

Australia misses out on most powerful Jaguar

Cat call: Jaguar’s new XE SV Project 8 will likely be heard before it is seen, thanks to its stonking 5.0-litre supercharged V8 and lightweight titanium exhaust system

Limited-edition 441kW/700Nm Jaguar XE SV Project 8 to be made only in LHD

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Jaguar logo28 Jun 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN

AUSTRALIANS will miss out on Jaguar’s most powerful road-going production model, as all 300 units of the 441kW/700Nm 5.0-litre supercharged V8 XE SV Project 8 will be built in left-hand drive.

To claim the title, Jaguar’s Special Vehicles Operations (SVO) team retuned the engine calibration software and upgraded intake and exhaust flow to liberate an additional 18kW from the engine that powers the F-Type SVR and limited-run Project 7.

The new-look front bumper is designed to feed cold air into the powerplant. The exhaust system is replaced by a lightweight titanium unit with quad tailpipes, while the vented bonnet draws hot air from the engine bay.

With power being sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed Quickshift automatic transmission, acceleration from zero to 100km/h is said to be completed in 3.7 seconds – just as quick as the aforementioned two-door F-Type SVR. Top speed is 322km/h.

The XE SV Project 8 easily out-muscles the current XE flagship, the S, which makes do with 250kW/450Nm from a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.1s.

Jaguar fans hope the Project 8 might open the door to an unlimited production version to compete against other high-performing mid-size European sedans including the BMW M3, Alfa Romeo Giulia QV, Mercedes-AMG C63 and yet-to-be-revealed new-generation Audi RS4.

Due for a public reveal at this week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the XE SV Project 8 is easily distinguished from its standard siblings by its heavily reworked body and aerodynamic-improving accessories, with Jaguar claiming the only untouched body panels are the roof and front doors.

The front and rear wheel arches are flared 19mm and 55mm respectively to accommodate wider tyres, a new boot floor is installed to improve airflow through the rear diffuser and a manually adjustable boot-mounted rear spoiler is added for more downforce.

Light-weight carbon-fibre is used on the front and rear bumpers, bonnet, diffuser and bodykit, cuting the vehicle weight to 1745kg, making Project 8 the lightest Jaguar V8-powered sedan.

A recalibrated automatic transmission can shift gears non-sequentially at 200 milliseconds.

An Electronic Active Differential (EAD) on the rear axle better manages torque split between wheels, while new race-derived suspension components aid both grip and height adjustmen.

Retuned electric power assisted steering (EPAS) delivers ease-of-operation and precision.

Jaguar breaks new ground with carbon ceramic brakes. Tucked behind the front 20x9.5 wheels are 400mm two-piece discs with six-piston aluminium callipers, while the monster 20x11 rear wheels hide 296mm discs with single-piston sliding callipers.

The XE SV Project 8 will be offered in two trims – the standard four-seat configuration and the optional Track Pack which deletes the rear pews – starting from £149,995 ($A252,635) before on-roads in the UK.

In standard form, the latest Jaguar receives magnesium-framed front sports seats with Project 8 stitched into the headrests, while the two rear seats have been redesigned with increased lateral support and bolstering.

The dashboard is finished in black Alcantara to reduce sun glare, while the door trims and steering wheel are finished in the same soft-touch material.

The Project 8 also features an all-digital 12.3-inch instrumentation display, 10.2-inch central infotainment unit with stopwatch and g-meter readings, an 11-speaker Meridan sound system, USB inputs, digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity. A CD/DVD player can be added as a no-cost option.

Customers opting for the Track Pack will receive carbon-fibre racing seats up front, saving 12.2kg over the standard pews, as well as four-point harnesses and a fire extinguisher.

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