GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED 2017

‘Project 8’ is a 600bhp, V8-powered Jaguar XE

Jaguar has good form on squeezing supercharged V8s into its sensible saloons. So since its launch, we’ve lived in hope the XE – it’s small BMW 3 Series rival – would enjoy similar treatment.

The good news is it’s happening. This isn’t an ‘XE R’, though. It’s not a predictable swipe at the BMW M3 or Alfa Giulia Quadifoglio. This is Project 8, the follow up to Jag’s utterly madcap F-Type Project 7.

But forget that F-Type, and forget the Jaguar XJ220. With 592bhp (or a nice round 600PS), this will be the most powerful production Jag ever. Yikes. We’d put very short odds on it being the loudest, too.

Power comes from a 5.0-litre supercharged V8, and the whole thing’s being developed by Jag’s Special Vehicle Operations team. A maximum of 300 will be made, and they’ll all be hand-assembled at SVO’s Coventry base.

We’re not told whether it will be rear- or all-wheel drive, or anything in the way of 0-60 times or top speeds. Expect it to be blooming quick, though. It’s been testing under camouflage at the Nürburgring, as the pictures above testify.

Jaguar does say that Project 8 “takes aerodynamics and performance engineering to another level”. Note the wildly extended arches, the flared sills and splitters and the ginormous rear spoiler. It’s going to look very burly indeed.

We’re also told “it is conceived for enthusiasts and the most discerning collectors” and that “the price for such an extreme performance sports car, available in strictly limited numbers, will reflect that.”

So it won’t be cheap. Project 7 set its owners back £130,000 – more than double a basic F-Type, and over £40,000 more than a similarly powered F-Type Convertible. Don’t be surprised if Project 8 comes with a slightly eye-popping price tag. One bearing six figures, perhaps.

We’ll know more at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June, when Project 8 is fully revealed. And don’t forget that Project 7 spawned the less limited, more attainable Jaguar F-Type SVR. If the car you see here goes down a storm, Jag would be foolish not to take on BMW and Alfa with a full production model.

Excited? Is that a silly question?