Hot Jaguar XE eyes BMW’s M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 S
It might be the most accessible member of the Jaguar family, but the XE still isn’t considered to be right up there with its premium compact sedan rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
It’s relatively expensive, thanks to the South African currency’s weakness against the pound. And besides, it’s lacked the allure of a hard-core performance flagship to tackle the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63.
Jaguar’s retort is to create the ultimate XE performance monster: a fire-breathing, supercharged V8-powered, 441 kW tar-burner that’s ready to take on anything the Germans might want to throw at it. Meet the Jaguar XE SV Project 8.
The British auto maker says the Project 8 is it’s most powerful road car ever, even though it looks more like a pukka racer than a street-legal machine.
Forget the low front end with its tarmac-scraping splitter and honeycomb cooling vents, the wider fenders and extended sills, the big black 20-inch forged alloys and the fat Michelin rubber: it’s the rear that gives the game away. A huge, adjustable rear wing sprouts from the bootlid, while the rear diffuser is home to a quartet of angry exhaust tailpipes.
On closer inspection, you’ll find that the exterior body panels employ aluminium and carbon fibre-reinforced plastic to shed vital weight, while the ride height and aero settings can be adjusted to boost downforce for track day use. A track-focussed, stripped-out interior is optional, and shaves another 12 kilo’s off the kerb weight.
Developed by Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations Technical Centre, the XE SV Project 8’s 5,0-litre V8 engine employs mechanical supercharging and a variable, active titanium exhaust to produce an impressive 441 kW, which is channelled to all four wheels via a quick-shift eight-speed auto gearbox and an intelligent all-wheel drive system. Max torque is 700 Nm.
The suspension has been tweaked to suit the XE’s performance potential, and includes stiff springs, manually adjustable dampers that allow a 15 mm reduction in ride height for track use, carbon-ceramic brakes, and an electronic active rear diff with oil cooler.
So how fast is the beast? Jaguar claims 3,7 sec for the 0-100 km/h sprint, and an estimated 320 km/h. But here’s the bad news: the XE SV Project 8 will only be built in limited numbers – 300 to be exact. And since all 300 will be left-hand drive, it’s not coming to SA.
The estimated pricing is a cool R2,5-million – which makes that Mercedes-Benz C63 S look quite affordable … and a lot more accessible, too!