Think of it as an experiment which, if successful, will outline what BMW's M and Mercedes' AMG will have to worry about.
At $200,000, the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 may not exactly qualify as Jaguar's BMW M3 competitor due to the obvious differences in price and performance, but that doesn't mean that it can't be one day. As we stated before, the XE SV Project 8 might seem like a special edition Jaguar that won't be replicated anytime soon, but it's also Jaguar's way of saying it's ready to step up to BMW's M and Mercedes' AMG divisions for an honest fight.
Automotive News confirmed that during a recent interview with Dave Foster, head of Jaguar's SVO division, where it found that the XE SV Project 8 is also an experiment to see what lessons the performance division can learn before going all in on high-power variants of its standard passenger cars. To ensure the XE SV Project 8 was suitable for top speed, acceleration, and road use, SVO had to tailor the aerodynamics just right. "It's not a cosmetic exercise," said Foster. "Every vent is doing something. Every surface has been designed to complement the drag and the aero and the lift requirements." By manipulating the body of the 592 horsepower all-wheel drive performance car, SVO learned lessons it'll forever remember.
It could even, as we hope, put those lessons to use in future SVO performance machines. "What it's done for Dave's team is put a lot of skills back into the business that will affect future performance car programs," added Dan Connell, head of communications for SVO. When looking at the raw specs sheet, it's tough to imagine Jaguar, or any automaker for that matter, creating something so raw and performance-oriented without charging an arm and a leg. With its powerful 5.0-liter V8 sending close to 600 horsepower to all four wheels, aerodynamics to keep it all together, and carbon ceramic brakes to check momentum when things get too out of hand, the XE SV Project 8 is a track car from the very beginning.
However, if Jaguar shaves off some of its rough racing edges, we can't imagine it'll have a hard time selling strongly and creaming the M3 or AMG C63 S on the track, provided, of course, that SVO pulls it off right. Our ideal future for the SVO division would be for it to become a tuner like the M and AMG divisions so that everything, from the F-Pace and Range Rover Velar to the Jaguar XF and XJ, get hot-rodded variants in their respective lineups. As Foster pointed out to Digital Trends in a separate interview, SVO has the ability to be something more than the German performance divisions as long as it can appeal to a broader spectrum of clients. With tantalizing cars like the Xe SV project 8, it's SVO is off to a good start.