Jaguar, the luxury brand of Jaguar Land Rover, has hinted about producing a third edition of its special operation vehicle, Project 9, which will be a follow-up to the F-Type-based Project 7 and the XE-based Project 8.
The boss of the automaker’s Special Vehicle Operations, John Edwards, says following the success of the Jaguar Project 7 and Project 8, the group is already working on its latest creation
He confirms this in an interview with a reputed auto journal, Top Gear, as reported in the latest edition of the publication. “There will be a Project 9,” he says, adding, “But there’s no decision what it will be yet.”
Auto Evolution, in its report, says despite the exorbitant retail price (£135,000) of Project 7 when Jaguar introduced it at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed, little did the Special Vehicle Operations unit know that the 250-strong production run would sell out within a short period.
The Project 8 is said to have taken the Nurburgring lap record for four-door sedans. Priced at £149,995 and capable of breaking its own record on the Green Hell, the Project 8 will be assembled by hand at the Special Vehicle Operations Technical Centre, starting in June.
The special purpose automobile has become the fastest four-door production car in the Nurburgring (a 150,000 person capacity motorsports complex in Germany) with a time of 7:21.23.
Although Edwards has announced that he will be leaving Jaguar Land Rover in June 2018, with Michael van der Sande coming to replace him, analysts say the Project 9 will survive this personnel change considering how exclusive and driver-centric the French brand and the SVO are. At the present moment, Sande is the managing director of Alpine.
Auto Evolution recalls that Project 8 took 20 months from the start to finish, noting, “Not bad for an XE-based super sedan that also happens to be the most powerful Jaguar ever made, right.”
What to expect from Project 9
Edwards did not give too many details, but he notes that the model “doesn’t necessarily have to be high-performance.”
Auto reviewers say this has opened up a number of possibilities, especially since both the Project 7 and Project 8 were performance-based by nature. Project 8 particularly features a 5.0-litre supercharged V-8 engine that produces 592 horsepower, all of which are sent to the car’s four wheels.
The vehicle also features a handful of aerodynamic features, including a flat under-body, an adjustable front splitter, and a rear wing.
Top Gear says, with an adjustable suspension system, you’re looking at a car that can accelerate from 0 to 60mph in 3.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 200mph.
It says, “Given the fact that the SVO is busy improving the car that already became the fastest four-door production car in the Nurburgring with a time of 7:21.23, there is no telling what the Project 8 is going to be capable of when it hits the streets this year.
“Now, what does this have to do with the Project 9? On the surface, the Project 9 should be a completely independent creation from the Project 8.”
Edwards is quoted to have said that the SVO is “making up the rules as we go along.” Experts interpret this to mean that people should expect just about anything as far as this new creation is concerned.
Top Gear also says of the new project: “A good possibility would be a hardcore SUV. That would be a departure from the F-Type coupe and E-Type four-door sedan that Jag used to create the Project 7 and Project 8, respectively. An SUV would be a good choice because Jag already has one – the F-Pace – and the segment has become the most profitable one in the industry. What better way to showcase the SVO’s prowess than by letting it to work on the F-Pace.
“If it’s not the F-Pace, another likely choice would be Jag’s range-topping luxury sedan, the XJ. Granted, it would seem overbearing to imagine a performance version of the XJ, but remember, Edwards did say that the Project 9 doesn’t necessarily have to be high-performance. Maybe the SVO could switch it up and for a super luxury version of the luxury sedan. It won’t be a shock if it takes that route given the fact that we’ve seen similar treatments from other automakers. Bentley’s Mulliner personalisation division come to mind.”
Edwards also appears to have confirmed that the end goal for the SVO cars is to create a future classic.
Of the 300 units planned for Project 9, 200 letters of intent have been received with 100 firm orders. As the first truly performance-oriented version of the acclaimed Jaguar XE, there should be enough demand to ensure that the entire limited production run is catered for, says another online report on the project by gtspirit.com.
“The report also confirms subtle tweaks for the Project 8 as fine-tuning work continues to ensure that it achieves the best lap times. The springs and engine mounts have been stiffened and the suspension arm bushings replaced. Work has also been carried out on the brakes and the software,” it states.
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