2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8 review: The lovable lunatic

    The XE SV Project 8 isn’t Jaguar’s reply to the BMW M3 or Mercedes-AMG C63 S. It’s a ballistic, one-off, limited-production super-sedan, and the one factor louder than its exhaust word is its look.The Project 8 is a automotive that is arduous to like at first. Asking it to play good in site visitors is like asking Gallagher to easily cube a watermelon — this automotive is consistently goading you to present it hell and unleash its V8 energy. It’s an absolute menace, and at its finest when pushed like one.

    Only 300 of those XE SV Project 8 sedans will likely be bought globally, each a hand-built creation that showcases the perfect of what Jaguar can engineer into its efficiency vehicles. The extensive, great physique panels are all distinctive to the Project 8; solely the door innards and roof are shared with the usual XE. The honeycomb air intakes are punched proper into the physique panels, and a overwhelming majority of the outside bits are created from carbon fiber. The lengthy entrance splitter can have you crawling when exiting each driveway, and the flat, rear diffuser extensions acquire the pebbles these meaty rear tires kick up. That enormous, rear wing may seem like it has been ripped off a Subaru WRX STI Type RA, however it’s adjustable, and gives elevated downforce to maintain the XE’s rump the place it belongs at larger speeds.
    Power comes from one in every of my favourite engines: Jaguar’s supercharged, 5.0-liter V8, with the wick turned as much as ship 592 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Jaguar claims the XE Project 8 will speed up to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and crest 200 mph on the highest finish. An eight-speed computerized transmission fires off fast, crisp shifts if you’re in full-on assault, but easily and imperceptibly fades into the background if you’re simply cruising on the freeway.

    But once more, every day driving isn’t what this automotive does finest. Even with Comfort mode engaged, you continue to really feel each bump and pavement imperfection. Toggle the drive setting to Sport and the powertrain livens up properly, however the suspension will get even stiffer. Track mode, in the meantime, is so extremely harsh that Jaguar’s PR staff emailed me earlier than my mortgage of this automotive and strongly advisable I not apply it to the road. Just for kicks, I did, and might verify that their logic is sound.Thank goodness, then, for the sleek, canyon roads simply north of Los Angeles. Out right here, the Project 8 is a goddamn dream. It assaults each nook with incredible poise and tenacity, the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires providing seemingly countless grip as I push more durable and more durable via turns. The chassis that was at first too taut for commuting is now completely honed to maintain the Jag flat and balanced via corners, with tons of suggestions making its approach up via the suede-rimmed steering wheel.Those cat graphics… yeesh.
    Steven Ewing/Roadshow
    The Project 8 combines all the ability supply traits of a balls-out muscle automotive with the type of tactility you’d anticipate from a track-ready performer. You can really feel the sedan’s weight switch via the steering wheel. The all-wheel drive system is not so overprotective that it will not let the rear finish step out when provoked. The enormous, 15.7-inch entrance and 15.6-inch rear carbon-ceramic brakes supply unrelenting stopping pressure with no overly grabby tendencies. And in the event you do not drive this factor with the game exhaust activated, you are a idiot.It’s arduous to search out actual fault with the Project 8 from a efficiency standpoint. It is a superb canyon-carver; a ferocious beast that by no means enables you to down when pushed arduous. I like nearly all the pieces in regards to the Project 8 therapy, proper all the way down to its carbon fiber extensions. I am going to admit the leaping-cat graphic therapy isn’t precisely my model — OK, I hate it — however I additionally sort of applaud Jaguar for doing one thing so visually uncivilized.My issues with this automotive aren’t consultant of the Project 8 therapy, however quite, the XE itself. Don’t overlook, this automotive relies on the pre-refresh 2019 mannequin, so it would not profit from a variety of the 2020 mannequin 12 months updates that make the XE a significantly better total package deal.The Project 8 would not have the 2020 XE’s up to date inside.
    Steven Ewing/Roadshow
    Wild and loopy as the outside styling is, I want Jaguar would have executed extra to the XE’s cabin for Project 8 obligation. It largely carries over unchanged from the usual XE, other than the addition of light-weight, supportive entrance bucket seats and a few extra soft-touch supplies. A two-place inside structure with a roll cage, carbon-fiber seats and racing harness is out there for Project 8 sedans in different international locations, however cannot be ordered within the US.That means you are left with the identical lackluster cabin as another XE, with not-so-great plastics and people three-tier entrance door panels that solely serve to make the inside really feel extra cramped than it already is. With the entrance seats adjusted to accommodate average-sized adults, the rear compartment lacks legroom, and the small again doorways make the automotive arduous to get out and in of.

    In-car know-how is dealt with by Jaguar’s InManagement Touch Pro system, housed on a 10-inch display within the middle stack. This system is as hit-or-miss right here as it’s in another Jaguar — it is colourful and vivid, certain, however is commonly laggy and unresponsive to instructions. A digital instrument cluster can be customary, with reconfigurable shows, however it, too, lacks the modernity of comparable tech from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and others.That enormous, carbon fiber wing is adjustable.
    Steven Ewing/Roadshow
    Of course, nobody’s shopping for the XE SV Project 8 for its consolation and comfort options. And nobody’s shopping for it as a result of it is a cut price, both. You may wish to sit down for this half: The 2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8 prices $187,500, not together with $995 for vacation spot. That means it is $112,900 costlier than the aforementioned Mercedes C63 S. It prices as a lot as a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.There is totally no rational purpose to purchase the Jaguar XE SV Project 8. But then once more, there was no rational purpose for Jaguar to construct it within the first place. I can not fault any well-heeled purchaser for plunking down on the possibility to personal one thing so loony and lovable. I won’t perceive why somebody would pay this a lot for one now, however in 30 years after I’m drooling over a well-kept Project 8 at some automotive present, I will be glad they did.

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