• Six reasons we’re impressed by the Novitec-tuned McLaren 570S

    It’s got more power than a McLaren F1

    As standard, the pretty wonderful McLaren 570S uses a 562bhp (570PS) 3.8-litre bi-turbo V8. Related to the psychotic engine in the P1, it’s hardly lacking in poke, even in the ‘baby’ McLaren. But Novitec, (in)famous for their efforts in tuning Ferrari V8s, have whacked that output up to a claimed 646PS, or 637bhp.

    That makes it exactly 10bhp brawnier than the V12 that took the (and we don’t use this word lightly) legendary McLaren F1 to 241mph. Oh, and it’s got 510lb ft – quite the climb from a boggo 570S’s 443lb ft…

    It’s also quicker than a McLaren F1 (off the line)

    The F1, bless it, did 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds. This Novitec-fiddled 570S will streak past the same speed two tenths of a second earlier, and head on to a claimed top speed of… oh, just 208mph. A handful of mphs faster than the 570S, then, but the old-timer’s still the daddy flat out.

    It's got a race-spec exhaust

    As well as the engine remap, power is upped via an upgraded exhaust, with round rather than trapezoidal tailpipes. You can have a stainless steel pipe, or for an undisclosed amount of extra money, a super-lightweight one made from Inconel, the same material used in F1 racer exhausts. Which ought to iron out one of the 570S’s few foibles - that it doesn’t sound as exotic as it looks.

    You can turn the extra power on and off when you fancy

    If it’s particularly slippery of a morning and you’re perhaps feeling a little lacking in the talent department, you can lessen the ferocity of your tuned McLaren. Novitec’s extra power mapping can be turned down by twiddling the McLaren’s Active Dynamic Panel knobs in the cabin, which tell the ECU to calm down and offer up ‘just’ 562bhp. There. That’s better. No? Maybe get the bus today.

    Novitec’s fitted snorkel intakes

    Roof scoops, snorkel intakes, periscope pods…call them what you will. The fact is, fitting an apparatus to a mid-engined car that involves sucking in air from on top of the roof is just cooler than normal bodywork-mounted air-swallowers. And Novitec obliges, with a carbon-fashioned ‘dual-branch air box’ for your madder, badder 570S. Because who cares about rear visibility or wind noise? 

    There may be more tuned McLarens from Novitec…

    Tellingly, Novitec’s excitable news release about the 570S announces “in addition to the broad ranges for the vehicles from Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini, Novitec now also offers exclusive options for the sports cars from McLaren. For starters, there is a complete product range for the 570S”. 

    Yup. For starters. Having added power, downforce and bigger wheels to the 570S, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine the German turbo nutters turning their attention to the 650S, 675LT and beyond. The mind boggles…

  • ‘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?