2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8

Surprise car that is world’s fastest

It turns out the world's fastest sedan is pretty damn quick.

Barrelling down the Sydney Motor Sport Park straight at 250km/h, the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 feels as if it would happily meet its 320-plus maximum velocity. But I would meet my maker before that happens, as there is no capacity for such speed on any track in this country.

So six-piston calipers bite enormous ceramic brake discs as the invisible hand of downforce squishes the four-door into smooth tarmac at turn one.

The XE SV Project 8 can hit 320km/h.
The XE SV Project 8 can hit 320km/h.

Planted, confidence-inspiring and purposeful in a way few cars can match, the machine has grip to spare from fat Michelin "Cup" tyres responding to sophisticated all-wheel drive.

Precise responses to the suede-wrapped steering wheel result in crisp direction changes while taut suspension retains its composure under extreme forces.

Jaguar's lightest sedan benefits from extensive carbon-fibre bodywork, flared guards, aero-minded cutouts and proper adjustable spoilers. It looks purposeful, like a race car shorn of sponsor stickers.

The XE SV Project 8 is the brand’s most powerful road car to date.
The XE SV Project 8 is the brand’s most powerful road car to date.

Glossy latticework in place of the rear seats adds rigidity, a place to loop four-point racing harnesses and peace of mind when pushing the limits of grip.

But the view ahead is standard XE, Jag's alternative to the Mercedes C-Class.

The most powerful Jaguar road car - ever - is motivated by a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine with 441 lag-free kilowatts, though you can tell your dad it has an old fashioned six hundred horsepower.

Its eight-speed auto with paddle-shifters can only cope with 700Nm, so that's where Jag pegged peak torque.

Its V8Supercar soundtrack reverberates around the circuit as we catch and pass lesser models on a day that reinforces the brand's fast-car credibility.

Unforgiving fixed-back seats and a huge red fire extinguisher in the cabin emphasise its intended purpose.

The SV Project 8 is powered by a beefy supercharged V8 engine.
The SV Project 8 is powered by a beefy supercharged V8 engine.

Racing stripes and oversized "leaper" logos on its flanks remind you this isn't a domestic cat.

Bred to hunt, the Project 8 was developed as the ultimate sedan for track day thrills,

Our time with the car comes hours after another example eclipsed Jaguar's own Nurburgring four-door lap record, clocking 7m18.36s. Storming the beaches to kick sand in the face of the Germans on their own territory, the Jaguar sends a message to the likes of Mercedes-AMG and BMW's M Division.

Considerably faster and more focused than compact sports sedans such as the BMW M3, the Project 8 could be a raging success but for two caveats: It costs twice what rivals ask and can only be driven on race tracks or private roads.

The SV Project 8 leaves BMWs and Mercs in its wake.
The SV Project 8 leaves BMWs and Mercs in its wake.

You'll blow the rivals away on the track but they'll get the last laugh while you wait for the bus - because all 300 examples of the hand-built Project 8 will left-hand drive.

Originally deemed off-limits to Australians, the special XE can be had for an eye-watering $349,000 in two-seat Track Pack form shown here. You could argue that is a preposterous sum of money for something that is not a road car or a competition-ready race car.

That hasn't stopped a handful of Australian enthusiasts buying them, even if the owners will get plenty of time to sit and stare at purposeful details on every surface of the car.

Because they'll never drive it on the road.

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 Track Pack vitals

Price: $349,000

Engine: 5.0-litre V8 supercharged, 441kW/700Nm

0-100km/h: 3.7 secs

Top speed: 322km/h