This phenomenal-looking sedan is the Jaguar XE SV Project 8, a limited edition track-bred version of Coventry’s 3 Series fighter. Elevated beyond the realm of the Mercedes-AMG C 63 and even the fairly hardcore BMW M4 GTS, it’s the most powerful and extreme car to have come from the Leaping Cat. Just 300 units will be made, all hand-built at the Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) Technical Centre in Warwickshire.

Looking very much like a touring car refugee, the Project 8 sports some fairly aggressive exterior modifications, including carbon fibre front and rear bumpers (the former featuring extra hexagonal cooling ducts), an adjustable front splitter, a vented carbon fibre bonnet, purposeful flared wheel arches that hide broad 20-inch aluminium alloy wheels and a massive adjustable rear wing.

Also fitted is a flat underbody and a large rear diffuser incorporating quad exhaust exits, the latter connected to a Titanium Variable Active Exhaust system. Interior accoutrements include an Alcantara trim and gloss carbon fibre on the sport steering wheel, instrument cluster and door cards. There are also paddle shifters and an F-Type-style pistol-grip gearlever that replaces the regular rotary dial.

But the main event is found under the bonnet, in which resides the most powerful version of Jaguar’s venerable 5.0 litre supercharged V8. Here, it pushes out a stonking 600 PS, routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission to an all-wheel drive system – allowing the Project 8 to blow past the 100 km/h mark in a scarcely believable 3.3 seconds, and onwards to a top speed of 322 km/h.

Under the skin, the double wishbone front and integral link rear suspension carry stiffer springs and manually-adjustable Continuously Variable Dampers, lowering the ride height by 15 mm for track use. You’ll also find carbon ceramic brakes, Formula One-style silicon nitride ceramic wheel bearings – a first for a road car – and a rear Electronic Active Differential (EAD) with an oil cooler. There’s a dedicated Track Mode, too.

The Project 8 will be available in two versions, with the more sedate option being a four-seat model with front Performance seats with magnesium frames, along with more heavily contoured rear squabs for increased support. There’s also an optional two-seat Track Pack that throws in lightweight front carbon fibre race seats, four-point harnesses and a harness retention hoop in place of the rear pews. All cars are left-hand drive only.