Unveiled to festivalgoers at Lord March’s estate in Goodwood this past weekend, the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 limited edition vehicle produced by Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations unit (SVO) in Warwickshire, UK, further illustrates the increasing trend of bespoke cars being created by manufacturers. In the main video above, Jaguar design director Ian Callum and studio director Wayne Burgess talk us through the design of the new car and what it means for the brand.
As the name implies, the SV Project 8 is based on the XE, the smallest car in the Jaguar range. But besides sharing those two letters in its name, the Project 8 is a very different animal. In its transition to SV Project 8, the common XE has undergone extensive modifications: it’s been fitted with the manufacturer’s most powerful engine; all of its exterior body work has been changed, with new carbon fiber panels applied to the front, fenders and rear end, and the rear doors have been shortened to enable fitment of the new rear fenders and larger wheelarches. The only carryover part on the exterior are the front two doors.
The SV Project 8 also makes use of lightweight elements, such as a carbon fiber bumper with a cool hexagonal graphic that feed air to two new radiators; a vented carbon fiber hood, adjustable front splitter, flat underbody and adjustable rear wing to enhance aerodynamics; flared wheelarches housing 20-inch forged aluminum alloy wheels, and a rear carbon fiber bumper and diffuser. Jaguar says the Project 8 will be the lightest V8 sedan in the range.
Playing to current trends in the premium segment, the Project 8 can be infinitely personalized to suit the owner’s tastes. It is offered in three standard colors — Fuji White, Narvik Black and Caldera Red — as well as five SVO Design options from the ‘premium palette’ (which includes the Velocity Blue on show in the Jaguar stand at Goodwood). Customers can also choose to outfit their car via Bespoke by SVO, which adds a seemingly infinite number of combinations to make the car truly unique.
Jaguar SVO chief designer Simon Butterworth on the design of the XE SV Project 8
Jaguar designers also continued the high-performance theme to the interior, with subtle applications of gloss carbon fiber trim and Alcantara on the rim of the Project 8’s steering wheel, instrument binnacle and door cards.
The SV Project 8, which follows on from the F-Type-based Project 7 revealed at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed, will only be available in left-hand drive configuration, as some of the car’s mechanicals occupy space in the passenger side footwell impeding comfort. But with Jaguar’s largest market being the US it shouldn’t matter to prospective buyers.
The rear bench seat has also been tossed out in favor of two bucket-style items, effectively making the Project 8 a strict four-seater. The seats provide more lateral support for the two rear passengers and are swathed in leather and Alcantara just as in front, though the front pair are magnesium-framed to decrease weight. There is also a track version available (though not in North America), which deletes the rear seat entirely and fits in a roll cage instead.