We all know about the mental Jaguar XE SV Project 8. It holds the current Nürburgring record for a production sedan at 7 minutes 21.23 seconds, thanks in part to its supercharged 5.0-liter V8 sending 592 horsepower (441 kilowatts) to all four wheels. The various aero tweaks are the other part of the performance package, but how did a rather modest Jaguar XE sedan Hulk out to become such a monster?
Our Motor1.com colleagues in the U.K. had occasion to sit down with Jaguar’s Wayne Burgess at Autosport International, where the XE SV Project 8 was holding ground at the Motor1.com display. Aside from being Jaguar’s production studio director, he’s a holder of all the inside details on this limited-production super sedan. And he shared those details with us in a short-but-sweet interview.
“At the end of the day, the engineering team came up with this idea of putting our biggest, most powerful engine into our most compact sedan and seeing where we could go with it,” he explained.
That idea immediately took Burgess to the infamous Group B rally cars, of which he is a big fan. It was that kind of inspiration which drove the team to lighten the XE while also filling it with power to all four wheels, but developing the car’s high-speed aerodynamics actually came from work on the F-Type SVR.
“You move into an entirely different world above 150 mph,” he said.
That’s partially why the Project 8 only shares its front doors and roof with the standard XE sedan. Aside from widening the rear for better grip, the super sedan’s various vents and wings shuffle air around to where it can provide the most downforce. That’s why the XE SV Project 8 didn’t just beat the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio around the Green Hell, but trounced it.
The interview also touches on Jaguar’s performance aspirations in the electric realm with the I-Pace and features the next SVO project – a racing version of the F-Type. There's much more to learn on the XE SV Project 8 as well, so catch the whole conversation in the video above for all the details.