Already carving out a name for itself as the more edgy and vigorous rival to the Porsche 911, the two-seater Jaguar F-Type continues to evolve for 2017, gaining sharper looks and more performance. The ever expanding line-up now spans from four to eight cylinders, available in rear- or all-wheel drive, and in a coupe or convertible form.
Naturally, the mid-spec 3.0-litre supercharged V6 is the more popular model, however, if you want a bit more poke but can’t justify stretching the full mile for the supercharged 5.0-litre V8, there’s now a sweet spot in between.
The F-Type 400 Sport is a limited edition model launched to mark the introduction of the new F-Type range. Offered worldwide but for one model year only, the 400 Sport sits above the V6-powered R-Dynamic but below the full fat V8 R model. Priced at $183,512 for the coupe – over $20k more than the R-Dynamic – the 400 Sport is more than just badges and blisters. It features a tweaked version of the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 with power boosted to 294kW (400PS, hence the name), 14kW more than the R-Dynamic. Torque figure, however, remains unchanged at 460Nm.
The extra power is complemented by larger brakes featuring 380mm front and 376mm rear discs and black calipers with 400 Sport logo, tucked behind exclusive 20-inch wheels with dark grey satin finish. There’s a limited slip differential and Jaguar’s Configurable Dynamics system which allows drivers to select individual settings for the throttle, transmission, steering and dampers.
It’s easy to pick the 400 Sport from the rest of the pack thanks to splashes of yellow and grey ‘400 Sport’ badges at the front and rear the car. But more prominently, this limited edition model features larger front splitter and side sills as well as a rear diffuser finished in satin grey.
- READ MORE: Jaguar F-Type V6 S AWD Coupe Review
Climb inside, you will notice even more 400 Sport badges and an interior upholstered in black leather with contrasting yellow stitching. Further highlights include black brushed aluminium centre console finisher and the sill treadplates. Anodised aluminium gearshift paddles make for good finishing touches.
Despite the exclusive details, the dashboard is starting to show its age and fit and finished still leave some to be desired. That said, the cockpit is still one of the most driver-focused in the segment, with an excellent driving position that is low and very close to the rear axle, allowing the driver to feel the movement and weight transfer of the car.
The new lightweight slimline seats (part of the update across the new F-Type range) is some 8kg lighter than their predecessors. With larger side bolsters, the seats provide the occupants with exceptional lateral support, though we find the back rest a little too firm for long distance cruising.
Like the rest of the line-up, the 400 Sport is available in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, though we have been supplied the former, which is just fine because without the all-wheel drive system, it’s lighter and quicker. This is the model you’re going to have the must fun in.
Thumb the pulsating starter button and the uprated supercharged V6 fires up with a race car-like bark from its twin central exhausts. Feed in the revs and noise only gets better. In full song, the high-pitched supercharger scream mixes with the V6’s majestic roar to give a properly satisfying aural sensation. Prod the standard active exhaust button next to the gear lever (yes, it actually exists) and things get even crazier as the exhaust flaps open up for the full experience. This thing is loud and sounds even more aggressive than the standard V6.
The slight bump in power may look mundane on paper but there’s certainly a subtle helping of extra punch, most noticeable in the upper rev range where there’s more urgency toward its 6500rpm rev limit.
Because it’s supercharged, response is immediate with no noticeable dead spot in the power band. The perky V6 pulls hard in any rpm and in any gear. Speaking of which, the eight-speed automatic is the only transmission on offer. We’d would prefer a quicker shifting dual clutch ‘box for a sports car like the F-Type but the ZF-sourced automatic shifts intelligently and responds well to kick down. There’s hardly a need to paddle the shift manually.
Using launch control and with everything else left to its own devices, the 400 Sport demolishes to the first 100km/h in 4.9 seconds in our test, which is smacked right on with Jaguar’s factory claimed 0-100km/h time. It’s a respectable time but we feel the 400 Sport could probably shave an additional tenth off in ideal conditions with proper tyre temperature as it’s tricky to manage traction for a clean launch even with launch control.
Acceleration stays strong well beyond that speed and into the 200km/h mark as it rides on that seemingly endless wave of torque from just over 3000rpm. No doubt, this is a properly fast car to hammer around a race track.
It handles well, of course. The nose points in the direction you steer with utmost precision, poise and agility, with the rest of the car following with excellent composure and compliance. Mid corner bumps are handled nicely without the car unsettling off its intended course. There’s very little body roll and grip from those Pirelli P Zero F 295/30 ZR20 rear tyres (255/35 ZR20 fronts) is amazing without being overdone – it will let you slide with traction control switched off, if you’re in the mood for it.
With the limited slip differential and torque vectoring optimising traction, the 400 Sport is a blast to drive around challenging B roads. It’s made even better with good feedback from its precise and well-weighted steering. The brakes are strong and progressive, too.
Flicking the drive mode to Dynamic firms up the dampers, adds weight to steering, sharpens the throttle response and adjusts the transmission’s shifting algorithm. All welcomed changes if you’re on a track but on the road the artificially heavy steering comes with little added feedback, the ride is too busy and the overly sensitive throttle has a tendency to induce spiky inputs that can break rear wheel traction and upset the car’s composure.
In normal mode the ride still threads on the firm side but never harsh. It’s the ideal drive mode for day to day driving and the occasional hill run.
While you wouldn’t buy the F-Type for your weekly grocery shopping, it is worth mentioning that behind that shapely rump is a tiny 310 litres of boot space, taken up mostly by a space saver spare wheel. It doesn’t get any better inside the cabin, either, as there’s hardly any space to store anything larger than a water bottle.
Design and Comfort: 9.0/10
Performance and Handling: 8.5/10
Equipment and Features: 8.0/10
The Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport’s extra kilowatts only make up half the story here, for this most potent model of the V6 F-Type range also has a better soundtrack, stronger pull and beefier looks. It’s faster and more focused in every way than the R-Dynamic, yet not any less livable. It really is the sweet spot between the full blown V8 and the regular V6.
- Head-turning looks
- Excellent engine and exhaust notes
- Hairy-chested handling
- Aging interior
- Small boot
- High premium over standard V6 models
2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe 400 Sport pricing and specification
|Price (Excl. on-road costs):||From $183,800
As tested: $198,205
|Warranty:||3 years/unlimited kilometer|
|Warranty Customer Assistance:||3 years roadside|
|Country of Origin:||United Kingdom|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/26,000km|
|Engine:||3.0-litre supercharged, direct-injected V6 petrol with stop/start:
294kW @ 6,500rpm, 460Nm @ 3,500-5,500rpm
|Power-to-weight Ratio (W/kg):||170.9|
|0-100km/h (seconds):||Claimed: 4.9/Tested: 4.9|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||Claimed: 8.6/Tested: 12.7|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||70|
|Safety:||ANCAP not tested, 6 airbags, ABS, ESP, Traction Control, EBD, Emergency Brake Assist, electric park brake, limited slip differential with torque vectoring, cruise control, parking sensors, active bonnet, space saver spare|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:||4,482/1,923/1,311/2,622|
|Boot Space (L):||310|
|Kerb Weight (kg):||From 1,674|
|Towing Capacity (kg):||N/A|
|Entertainment:||8-inch colour touchscreen Touch Pro and Navigation Pro System, Bluetooth, USB|
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