The quickest four-door production car around the fearsome Nurburgring Nordschleife, the 2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8, is now available in Australia. But there’s a catch.
All 300 units will be made in left-hand drive, meaning the 441kW/700Nm super sedan can only be driven on private roads or racetracks. Some consolation can be found in the fact that that’s exactly the environment in the which the Project 8, Jaguar’s most powerful ever road car, is designed to excel.
Its 7min21.23sec lap of the Nordschleife cemented it as the quickest four-door production car ever, while further lap records have been set at Laguna Seca and the Dubai Autodrome.
The monster engine, which propels the 1745kg Project 8 to 100km/h in just 3.7sec and on to 322km/h flat-out, is only part of the package. Unusually for a circuit-focused car, an eight-speed automatic is the only gearbox available.
All-wheel drive, incorporating an active rear differential for the first time, puts the grunt to the ground, massive carbon ceramic brakes doing the stopping and the chassis has had a thorough going-over to sharpen its responses.
Stiffer springs and adaptive dampers control the body, which drops 15mm when Track Mode is selected, while 20-inch forged alloys are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres measuring 265/35 at the front and a whopping 305/30 at the rear.
Carbon fibre is used for the front and rear bumpers, bonnet, side skirts and rear wing, which helps develops 122kg of downforce at 300km/h.
Exclusivity and extensive re-engineering - 75 per cent of the external parts are new - doesn’t come cheap. Two variants of the Project 8 are available, a four-seater for $325,000 and a two-seat ‘Track Pack’, which replaces the rear seats with a half roll cage and the fronts with lightweight race buckets, for $349,000.
Check back for our first drive review of the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 in Australia.
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