► Mutant XE sets record saloon lap
► Prototype in production spec
► Launches in 2018, costs £149,995
Jaguar has announced its upcoming XE Project 8 has become the fastest four-door saloon around the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit.
The 592bhp all-wheel-drive super-saloon has recorded a laptime of 7min 21.2sec, albeit on a layout that omits a (very) small section of the track (the short stretch linking the final corner to the first).
You can watch the full on-board lap above.
What record has the Jaguar XE Project 8 broken?
Jaguar describes the laptime as ‘the fastest ever by a four-door sedan in production-intent specification.’
The time was set by a pre-production prototype thought to be in the same spec as the cars which will be delivered to customers in 2018.
For context, Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio set a time of 7min32sec in 2016 and Subaru’s WRX STI Type RA NBR Special (basically a racing car) set a 6min57.5sec lap earlier in 2017.
BMW’s M4 GTS, a car close in ethos to the Project 8, set a 7min28sec lap in 2015.
The rear-wheel-drive production car record currently belongs to the Porsche 911 GT2 RS at 6min47.3sec.
Who was the driver?
Belgian racing driver Vincent Radermecker, former works touring car racer for Volvo.
Tell me more about the Jaguar Project 8
It’s billed as the most extreme road-legal Jaguar, designed and built by the company’s SVO division. Its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 develops 592bhp and is hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-biased all-wheel-drive system.
Click here for our full technical briefing on the XE Project 8
It’s said to be capable of 0-60mph in 3.3sec and a 200mph top speed.
In name and approach it’s a similar car to the limited-build F-type Project 7 released in 2015.
Although four seats are standard, in optional Track Pack specification the XE’s rear bench is removed and the front chairs swapped for racing buckets.
It will cost £149,995 in the UK, with production limited to 300 cars globally.
SVO Director Mark Stanton says ‘The SVO design and engineering team’s mission was to create the most track-focused road-legal Jaguar in history – not only the fastest, but also the most agile.
‘As a result, only the roof and front door skins of Project 8’s body are carried-over unaltered from XE and 75% of its mechanical hardware is new. This Nurburgring Nordschleife record validates the success of such extensive changes.’
You can read our long-term test diary with the slightly slower Jaguar XE 2.0 diesel here