The world’s fastest four-door production car has a guilty secret. You can’t fit four people in it. Or three. Or five.
Open the rear passenger doors of the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 sedan we’re driving today, and you’re confronted with tubular steel — a half roll cage that forms part of the optional Track Pack. Not a centimetre of contrast stitched leather in sight. The Track Pack does get you chairs: two snug carbon fibre race seats fitted with race harnesses.
The bodywork is stretched tautly over aggressively widened wheel arches and those signature breather holes in the valance at the front look fantastic; having this thing appear in your rear vision mirror would be akin to being pursued by Mad Max’s cheese grater.
The 5.0-litre V8 Project 8 boasts new carbon ceramic brakes and the industry-first use of F1-style silicon nitride ceramic wheel bearings on a road car. Whatever those are.
Naturally, there’s a special “everything up to 11” race mode within the Project 8’s dynamic drive settings, and this particular XE features all-wheel-drive underpinnings.
Jaguar proved the special model’s worth at Germany’s challenging Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit, using all 441kW of peak power from its supercharged V8 mill to achieve a 7min 21.23sec lap time. That makes it the fastest production sedan to have conquered the “Green Hell”.
Er, production? Yes indeed; while no mainstream unit shifter, Jaguar Land Rover is making 300 of these things. They’re all left-hand drive (even the one Driven sampled at Hampton Downs), and demand is strong in the Northern Hemisphere, so don’t expect to see one parked outside your local burger bar.
In a small nation that somehow manages to purchase more performance sub-model metal than almost any other nation on Earth, it makes sense that JLR gives drivers access to the full gamut of Special Vehicle Operations fare.
The looks are sensational, the noise is addictive, and the on-road/track dynamics suit the keenest of driver.