When the Jaguar XE and XF sedans launched back in 2015, we thought they’d eventually receive V8 power. Why? Well, both were available with Jaguar’s 3.0-liter V6, which the automaker created by removing two cylinders from its 5.0-liter V8. As Car and Driver reports, Jaguar’s V6 is basically a V8 fit with V6 cylinder heads. So since a V8 would fit, we had to imagine Jaguar would build high-power XEs and XFs to challenge BMW M and Mercedes-AMG.
But outside of the 300 examples of the 592-hp XE SV Project 8 (pictured above) it’s building, Jaguar has no plans to imbue the XE and XF with V8 thunder. Jaguar design director Ian Callum told us as much when we asked him about rumors of a high-performance XF Sportbrake.
“We don’t have a super high-performance version of [the XF Sportbrake], unfortunately, which is a shame, but that’s the way it is,” Callum told us. Then, he explained Jaguar’s rationale for not building a V8-powered XF Sportbrake, also confirming that a BMW M3-fighting XE isn’t in the works.
“We work volume out proportionally, which I don’t necessarily agree with,” he said. “If we do an M3 version of XE, for instance, they’ll take the proportion of M3 to 3-Series and work it back from there. But I think if we did an M3 version of XE, we’d proportionally sell more, because, we just would.
“Right now there’s more emphasis on SVR in our thinking,” SVO boss John Edwards told us at LA. “I think that’s probably the more obvious area of the market.”
Edwards wouldn’t tell us what specifically SVO has up its sleeve, but did say we will see “more vehicles wearing the SVO badge” make their debut next year. A JLR spokesperson added over email that at least one SVO model would be introduced each year for the foreseeable future. “Conceivably, you could see new versions of our most popular vehicles getting the special treatment,” the spokesperson said.
We’ve got good reason to believe Jaguar has an F-Pace SVR up its sleeve—Callum proudly pointed out that this SUV is JLR’s highest selling product in the US. We’ve also seen what appear to be V8-powered prototypes testing at the Nürburgring. It’s also worth noting that in 2017 alone, the F-Pace has been responsible for nearly 50 percent of Jaguar’s US sales, outselling the XE and XF combined by 4471 units.
The F-Pace’s platform-mate, the new Range Rover Velar, could get the SVR treatment too. We’ve seen V8-powered Velar prototypes testing at the Nürburgring, and we think this new mid-size SUV could sell like hotcakes.
We’ll just have to wait until next year to see what SVO has up its sleeve. Perhaps JLR will have some cars to show us at Geneva in March.