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Jaguar: Project 9 is coming, Project 8 could lap ‘Ring quicker

Jaguar confirms that a new, limited edition SVO model is in the pipeline. Woah

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Jaguar has confirmed that it is already considering a ‘Project 9’ to follow up the lightly feral Project 7 and Project 8 nutjobs.

“There will be a Project 9,” John Edwards - the boss of Jag’s Special Vehicle Operations - told TopGear.com. “But there’s no decision what it will be yet.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be high performance,” he added, “we’re making up the rules as we go along.”

The F-Type based Project 7 first burst onto the scene in 2014, followed up by last year’s XE-based Project 8. And on that car, Edwards told TG how quick – and expensive – the entire process was.

“I want this car [Project 8] to be a future classic. If I’m honest we’ve spent more on it than we thought we would, but the thinking was if we’re going to make something special, let’s really go for it,” he said.

And ‘go for it’ SVO really has. They’ve confirmed that the £149,995 four (or two) seat road-racer has been further refined since we last saw it. And by refined, SVO means punchier.

The springs have been stiffened, as have the engine mounts. The suspension arm bushes are all new. The brakes have been tweaked for better feel and performance, while the software has also been flashed for improved “performance, feel, responsive and refinement”.

As though you needed reminding, the major components remain: a 592bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 up front, all-wheel-drive, adjustable suspension, crazy aero – in the form of a flat underbody, adjustable front splitter and rear wing – and the ability to deliver 269lb of downforce in the ‘Track’ setting.

It’s about as far from a regular XE as you can get; indeed, only the roof and front door skins are carried over from the normal saloon. The bonnet and arches are now all carbon fibre.

Speed? Loads of it. 0-60mph takes 3.3s. It’ll top out at 200mph, and SVO reckons that the enhancements made over the original car we saw last year mean it should be able to improve on an already record-breaking Nürburgring lap time of 7m 21.23s. That time already makes it the fastest four-door production car.

Only 300 Project 8s will be built, and SVO confirmed to TG that it’s already had 200 letters of intent, and 100 firm orders for the car.

“We’ve taken this project from start to finish in 20 months,” Edwards told TG. “Given it’s pretty much all new, that’s unheard of.”

True, but have you heard the V8-powered XE? Listen to it above. In fact, just watch the ‘Ring lap time, stare at the pictures, then tell us what form you reckon Project 9 will take…

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