The Jaguar XE SV Project 8 has a new Touring spec, and it's way better
No huge wing and no silly graphics? Yes, please.
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
The Jaguar XE SV Project 8 is a hell of a thing. Even beyond its 592-horsepower, supercharged, 5.0-liter V8 engine, the Project 8 is an incredibly rewarding car to drive fast -- playful yet precise, and a delight to toss around.
But I'll be honest: I kind of hate the way it looks. I know the huge, carbon-fiber rear wing is functional, but it just reminds me of something a teenager would slap on the back of a heavily modified
. Worse yet, the pouncing cat graphics along the side are just plain terrible.
This new Touring version that Jaguar announced Wednesday, however, is much more my style. In the same way that I'd much rather have a Porsche 911 GT3 Touring than the standard, fixed-wing version, this more restrained Project 8 packs all the same punch without so much visual assault. The big rear wing is jettisoned in favor of a small lip spoiler, and the stupid graphics are gone (though Jaguar says they can be added back on, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of this car). Valencia Orange and Velocity Blue body colors carry over from the non-Touring Project 8, but I'd much rather spec mine in the available British Racing Green or Corris Grey.
Inside, Jaguar says, all Project 8 Touring models use a four-seat cabin specification. That might make a difference to European customers, who can option the regular Project 8 with a two-seat setup. Here in the US, however, all of our Project 8 cars already come with back seats, so it doesn't make too much of a difference.
Even so, the Project 8's interior is pretty disappointing. Aside from a pair of excellent front sport seats, the dashboard, door panels and center console have been borrowed wholesale from the standard, pre-face-lift XE. They're not great to look at or touch, and the infotainment tech found in the center stack leaves a lot to be desired.
But it's not like you're buying a Project 8 for its interior refinement, anyway. And if this new Touring spec is your jam, you'd better act fast -- Jaguar is only planning to sell 15 of these cars worldwide. That'll make the Touring a superlimited version of an already rare car, and it definitely won't be cheap, either. After all, the standard Project 8 costs just shy of $200,000, which is a lot to pay for an XE sedan, with or without that big wing.