The 592bhp saloon model, a Jaguar Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) creation, is at the end of its pre-production schedule and on course for customer deliveries from May 2018. Jaguar is understood to be eager to secure the fastest time for four-door models around Germany’s Green Hell.
The car, which is the brand’s second special edition following the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 in 2014, will have to beat the current quickest four-door, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, and its 7min 32sec time. The XE’s advantage will come with its much clearer track focus, which makes it so far removed from the regular XE that it will be hand-built at SVO’s Technical Centre in Coventry rather than at the regular plant in Solihull.
Like the Project 7, the special XE model makes use of Jaguar’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine. But power has been ramped up to unprecedented levels, peaking at 23bhp more than the special-edition F-Type. The XE SV is all-wheel drive, rather than being rear-driven like the Project 7, and uses a specially tuned version of its eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox.
The Project 8 is Jaguar’s most accelerative current model, with a 0-60mph time of 3.3sec beating the all-wheel-drive F-Type SVR by two-tenths. This edges the XE SV into the realms of the Porsche 911 GT3 and ahead of fellow limited-run track special, the BMW M4 GTS.
Jaguar’s £149,995 model uses racing-specification bodywork to produce downforce. It gets an adjustable front splitter, a flat underbody, a rear diffuser and carbonfibre bumper, and an adjustable rear wing.
Although the exterior looks broadly similar to the regular XE, it has been extensively reworked: 75% of the bodywork is new, with only the front doors and roof unchanged from the production models. In particular, the front headlights have been moved forward by 14mm to allow for extra cooling and engine work.
The Project 8 gets a bespoke carbonfibre bonnet that’s 3kg lighter than the production version. It also includes an air extraction duct for extra engine cooling.
Its widened body features arches that extend 55mm further out to accommodate the 305-width tyres. The revised panels required SVO engineers to also install custom-made rear doors.
The car’s exterior has been developed with wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics simulations. Jaguar says it has achieved a 205% reduction in lift in Track mode, with the car producing more than 122kg of downforce at 186mph.
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