Jaguar XE SV Project 8: the limited edition Nürburgring record-holder

Remember when Jaguar could break loose once in a while? Its Project 8 super-saloon is becoming a real collectors’ item, says Simon de Burton

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8

Only 200 of the planned 300 Project 8 super saloons were ever produced

The Hairpin Company

With less than two years to go before every new car with a Jaguar badge on its bonnet whispers past in electrically driven silence, perhaps now is a good time to remember the good old days when the marque’s Special Vehicles Operations division made proper, petrol-powered growlers – such as the undeservedly overlooked XE SV Project 8.

The saloon cousin of the open-top, F-type-based Project 7, the Project 8 made its first appearance at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed where a burnt orange example wowed the crowds with its unexpectedly feral roar as it scorched up the hill. The symphony of sound came, of course, from the legendary 5-litre, supercharged V8 that had been tucked beneath the bonnet in place of the cooking 2- or 3-litre petrol or diesel engines found in regular XEs.

And the result was impressive – a 0-60mph time of just 3.3 seconds and a top speed around the 200mph mark.

As is often the case with such cars, Jaguar soon announced that the order book had closed on the 300 examples due to be made available – despite the £149,995 starting price that put the Project 8 well into Aston Martin/Bentley/Porsche territory.

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8 Rear

Jaguar’s SVO division went nuts with upgrades to Project 8, including the liberal use of carbon and a huge 5-litre V8

The Hairpin Company

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8 Interior



In the event, production problems and other stumbling blocks meant a mere 200 cars were ever built to the original specification making the Project 8, as Neil Dickens of The Hairpin Company observes, “rarer than the XJ220”.

In addition to its limited-edition appeal, the Project 8 also boasts the distinction of holding the record for the fastest lap of the Nürburgring by any four-door saloon. In fact, it set it twice – first in 2017 at 7min 21.2sec and again, two years later, at 7min 18.3sec (a record it still holds).

So if that level of grace, pace and space appeals to you (it’s a full four-seater, by the way) this 2019 Project 8 is certainly worth a look – not least since it’s in virtually as-new condition and was equipped with almost £20,000 worth of extras from new, including a £9000 paint job in (of course) British Racing Green.

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8 Wheel

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8 Engine Extras aside, however, the standard specification is still pretty impressive: carbon-fibre panels; rose-jointed rear suspension; oil-cooled differentials front and back; lightweight carbon ceramic brakes; Bilstein aluminium suspension mounts (as found on the Porsche 991 GT3 RS) – and the first ceramic wheel bearings outside of a Formula 1 car.

With just 8200 miles on the clock and a body cloaked in Paint Protection Film (PPF) the car is in truly immaculate condition and will be supplied with impeccable service history, two keys and a bespoke cover.

It’s a rare chance to own one of Jaguar’s truly unsung heroes of the modern era – and, as Dickens observes, it could be described as the modern-day equivalent of a Coombs Mk II. Only it’s a whole lot quicker…

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
On sale with The Hairpin Company, Compton Bassett, Wilts. £POA.

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