Call a hearse — Jaguar’s first stab at the BMW M3 could prove fatal

We’ve known for a while that Jaguar is preparing a hotter version of the XE, but we never expected it would pack this strong of a punch.

The British company gave its Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division a simple mission: to build a sedan capable of decimating the competition from Germany. Engineers rummaged through the Jaguar-Land Rover parts bin and pulled out the supercharged 5.0-liter found under the hood of the Range Rover Sport, among other models. That’s a big engine for a small car, but they didn’t stop there.

The eight-cylinder’s output was raised to 600 horsepower thanks to an array of modifications; in other words, SVO stuffed M5 power in a car the size of the M3. The XE SV Project 8 is the most powerful street-legal car Jaguar has ever built, and it’s likely one of the fastest, too. Unfortunately, Jaguar is keeping additional technical and performance details under wraps for the time being.

The SV Project 8 wasn’t designed with competition in mind, but it wouldn’t look out of place on the starting grid of a World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) race. It receives a muscular-looking aero kit that includes a redesigned front bumper with big air dams and a splitter, a huge wing attached to the trunk lid, and flared fenders.

Jaguar will unleash the XE SV Project 8 during the Goodwood Festival of Speed that kicks off on June 30 in southern England. Production will be strictly limited to 300 examples worldwide, so you better be on good terms with your local Jaguar dealer if you want to put a XE SV Project 8 in your driveway. You’ll also need to be on good terms with your banker, because this kitty certainly won’t come cheap.

“The new XE SV Project 8 takes aerodynamics and performance engineering to another level — it is conceived for enthusiasts and the most discerning collectors. The price for such an extreme performance sports car available in strictly limited numbers will reflect that,” SVO boss John Edwards said in a statement.