The Jaguar XE is a perfectly competent sports sedan that goes toe-to-toe with the BMW 3 Series and Alfa Romeo Giulia, but Jaguar wasn't content to rest on its laurels. With the Project 8, Jaguar set its sights on a bigger goal: crushing the Giulia Quadrifolgio's Nürburgring lap record. The result: a four-door sedan that laps the storied track in a record-setting 7:21.23.
In terms of horsepower alone, the Project 8 absolutely stomps all over the base XE, as its 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 produces an tarmac-scorching 592 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. That's an increase of 345 hp over the 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
But Jaguar wasn't content to simply shove its largest, most powerful V-8 into the engine bay and call it a day. Going for the lap record required a host of upgrades throughout the car. All-wheel drive makes the most of that power, handled by a quick-shifting ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Curb weight is reduced and aerodynamics improved with the use of a carbon fiber roof, front splitter, front/rear fascia, and rocker panels. The Project 8 also receives a height-adjustable suspension, large carbon-ceramic brakes, and a massive rear wing that delivers almost 270 pounds of downforce at 186 mph.
With benchmarks such as the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and Porsche 911, the Project 8 is playing in an entirely different league when it comes to performance. Indeed, in Motor Trend's First Drive they said "the Project 8 felt like a Porsche GT3 RS" on the track. Yet despite these abilities, it's still a "true, everyday four-door supercar. You can break a record at the Nürburgring and drive the same car home in comfort." They concluded, "With a limited production of only 300 hand-assembled cars worldwide, the $188,495 asking price is easy to justify. Jaguar nailed it."
Check out the video above to watch the Project 8 in motion with AUTOMOBILE's Jethro Bovingdon behind the wheel.