Jaguar XE SV Project 8 Could Change Super Sedans Forever

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Jaguar is reinventing the supercar with the XE SV Project 8 sedan.

When it comes to making fast versions of sedans, the Germans have things under control. M, AMG and RS are six of the most powerful letters in the automotive world. However, those letters have boundaries, special limits applied by the large faceless corporations that govern them. One of those unwritten rules is pretty simple; the smaller cheaper cars will not be more powerful or faster than the larger more expensive ones. Jaguar, being a British brand, has decided to tell the Germans exactly where they can stick their super-sedan rulebook, and just unleashed a compact sedan that will eat Ferraris.

This is the Jaguar XE SV Project 8, and it might be the most interesting new sedan in a decade.

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Let’s start with the big numbers.

The Project 8 has a 592 hp supercharged V8, hits 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, and will continue to a top speed of 200 mph. That makes it the most powerful production Jaguar of all time, and the fastest sedan Jaguar has ever built. To put that in perspective, those numbers make the XE more powerful, faster and quicker to 60 mph than the Ferrari California T.

Adding to all that power and speed is a pile of aerodynamic tweaks and a healthy diet. The body has been heavily modified in search of speed. The bumpers and hood are now made from carbon fiber rather than aluminum. The side sills have been heavily flared, to match the widened fenders. There is an adjustable front splitter as well as an adjustable rear wing, and a massive rear diffuser. In an effort to optimize that splitter, and the diffuser, the underbody of the car is completely flat and covered. The wheels are 20-inch units made from forged aluminum. Even the front seats make use of magnesium frames, and carbon-shelled seats are available as part of a track package to save even more weight. Finally, the exhaust is titanium, which is just another exotic material on the checklist.

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Jaguar is breaking the class rules and boundaries.

Now when you look back to that German rule book, the XE SV Project 8 should never exist. The XE is Jaguar’s smallest and cheapest sedan. This is a car that can be snagged for $35k and sold with a 180 horsepower diesel engine. To imagine just how crazy this is, just think about Mercedes selling a C-Class with the twin-turbo V12 from the S-Class stuffed under the hood. If you are wondering why we chose the S-Class as the comparison point instead of the new Mercedes-AMG GT R, it’s because the Type 8 is already faster and more powerful than that, too.

Even when it comes to track speeds, rather than raw numbers, the Project 8 is positioned to punch above its weight class. The suspension has been completely overhauled and stiffened, and it makes use of Continuously Variable Shock Absorbers. The rear differential is an electronically-controlled limited-slip unit, complete with its own oil cooler, and the brakes are carbon ceramic so all that speed can be effectively reigned in. Jaguar even says they are using fancy F1-style nitride ceramic wheel bearings, presumably to reduce friction and mechanical drag.

The British have always been the plucky underdogs, never afraid to bend a few rules to come out on top. The XE SV Project 8 is just another example of refusing to accept the status quo and pushing boundaries.

Christian Moe contributes to many of Internet Brands' Auto blogs, including Corvette Forum, Club Lexus and Rennlist.

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