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Jaguar Magazine 02/2018 – English

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ROAD TEST REVERBERATES OFF THE ROCK” JAGUAR XE SV PROJECT 8 For a blistering run up Mt Etna, Henry enlists the mighty Project 8 an extreme, 600PS version of the XE, developed by Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations unit Not that I’m heading up Etna in the 300 SPORT… Parked up at the side of the road is a car that looks like the XE that I’m sitting in, but considerably meaner. You know that feeling when you’re reunited with a friend after a few years only to discover that they have joined a gym in the intervening period and look rather different? That’s what it’s like when I encounter my ride for the final leg of the trip: Jaguar Special Vehicle Operation’s XE SV Project 8. Only the roof and front doors are the same as the XE 300 SPORT’s; every other body panel has been pumped-up or chiselled away, and the end result is fantastically aggressive. Where the 300 SPORT has a subtle Q-car vibe with its Dark Satin Grey grille surround and rear spoiler, the Project 8 is all swagger and menace. Even without its big splitter jutting out at the front and the carbon-fibre rear aero wing mounted on the boot lid, it would be an imposing sight. My favourite details are the blistered arches that are cut away at the rear to relieve air pressure. They beautifully frame the scant outer tread of the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres the first time a car has emerged from a Jaguar factory with such extreme rubber. Open the driver’s door and the ambience has the same mixture of familiar and fierce. While the screens and basic architecture remain, carbon fibre adorns the dramatic sweep around the top of the dashboard, the rotary Gear Selector has been replaced with a SportShift Selector from an F-TYPE, and I now drop down into a fixed-back bucket seat. The same starter button now wakes precisely double the number of cylinders and twice the amount of horsepower. This should be fun. The road up to the volcano is as dramatic as you’d hope and enjoyably wider than almost anything I encountered in the 300 SPORT. At times it feels like you’re driving through a sort of hellish black corridor, and the sound of the bombastic 5.0-litre supercharged V8 reverberating off the rock only adds to the atmosphere. It’s not just the 600PS engine that impresses with the Project 8, however, because the steering and chassis are so beautifully communicative and engaging that you enjoy the corners even more than the straights. THE JAGUAR 29