Jaguar XE SV Project 8 | Spotted

Hardly the obvious supersaloon at £100,000 – all the more reason to love it

By Matt Bird / Sunday, 19 February 2023 / Loading comments

Some cars can seem courageous a few years after they were made, manufacturers seizing on a window of opportunity to make something zany before it’s too late. On the other hand, cars can look overly cautious even with the benefit of hindsight. And some cars can seem totally mad from the very point of conception, then only look braver and braver with the passage of time. The Jaguar XE SV Project 8 must rank in the latter category.

Having appeared to give up on the supersaloon segment with the XF giving up its V8, Jaguar decided to follow up the F-Type-derived SV Project 7 with the XE-based Project 8. The logic was simpler to understand with the 7, as it had roundels and a funny rear deck to look a bit like a D-Type; a roadster design and 575hp had its obvious appeal, too. But there had never been anything like the Project 8, before or since. The world had assumed that, should a special XE arrive, it would be a conventional supersaloon to rival the likes of the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63, i.e. something to pick up where the XFR left off and show the Germans how to really do a supersaloon. What arrived was a limited-run Nurburgring record breaker, with an overhaul akin to an RS Porsche or a Black Series AMG. Only it was an XE.

Pages and pages could be dedicated to the Project 8 overhaul, from the massively wider tracks to the front end nudged 14mm forward to accommodate the desired Michelin tyre, ceramic brakes to all-wheel drive, adjustable coil springs to flat underbody. A transformation almost sells it short, before even considering a 600hp supercharged V8 in place of a 335hp V6, the most powerful normal XE at the time. That revered 5.0-litre V8 is part of the reason the end Project 8 was as extreme as it was; it simply wouldn’t fit in a right-hand drive configuration, which would limit popularity in the UK for a humbler M3 rival. So 300 left-hand drive cars it was, with 200mph potential and a 7:18 Nurburgring time to its name. Nobody could accuse Jaguar of any half measures.

Was it the right move? The fact that P8s are still for sale at their extraordinary £150k new price would suggest so; on the other hand, they never exactly flew out of showrooms, necessitating the introduction of a 15-unit Touring model for those who found the initial look a bit too much. That Alfa’s very similar Giulia GTA sold out a greater production run far more quickly must have been galling. We can surely all agree that the world – and Jaguar’s recent history – is more interesting for the Project 8 having existed, regardless of whether you want one or not.

This one is especially noteworthy. A former Jaguar-owned car and for sale at JLR Classic, it’s notched up 30,000 miles since 2019, far more than any other out there. This means it’s for sale at far less than any other out there, at £97,950. It isn’t exactly bargain Jag V8 barge territory, of course, but then the XE was always a far more serious car than that. With four seats (i.e., without the two-seat Track Pack) and with the rear spoiler stored away somewhere, albeit with the orange paint and leaper graphic, it’s about as family-friendly as a Project 8 is going to get. And it’s now at the price of similar 600hp V8s, cars like the BMW M5, AMG E63 and Maserati Ghibli Trofeo. They’ll have fewer miles for this money, but are far less special cars.

Certainly, nothing this extreme will come from Jaguar again, and probably not from anywhere – imagine trying to sign off just a few combustion-engined saloon cars, reengineer them for a completely different drivetrain, and then into 200mph circuit slayers. What’s outrageous now didn’t seem much less so back in 2017 – which makes the Project 8 a very special car indeed.


Engine: 5,000cc, supercharged V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],500rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],500rpm
MPG: 25.7
CO2: 254g/km
First registered: 2019
Recorded mileage: 30,807
Price new: £149,995
Yours for: £97,950

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