THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Superb looks, great handling and even better exhaust note.
- What’s Worst: Only available in three colour choices
- What’s Interesting: The 400 Sport will only be available in limited numbers for the 2018 model year.
Back in 2013, when Jaguar first unveiled the F-type it was seen by many as the spiritual successor to the iconic E-Type.
After the icon was retired in the mid seventies, Jaguar attempted to continue their sports car lineage with the XJS and XK models, but the design and especially the panache of these models still paled in comparison to the E-Type.
The F-Type still oozes sex appeal even five years after its launch, to celebrate Jaguar have introduced the limited edition F-Type 400 Sport. This model will only be available, in limited numbers, for the 2018 model year. It is available in both coupe and convertible models with RWD and AWD being offered.
The 2018 F-Type 400 Sport is being directly targeted to prospective owners who focus on the driving agility of a V6 with performance levels close to a V8, but comes with a price tag that is well below the cheapest V8 model.
The Coupe I was driving came in Santorini Black, one of only three colour choices available.
A more prominent front splitter, blade-like extended side sills and a prominent rear diffuser as well as the bright yellow badging at both ends of the car easily identify the 400 Sport.
The unique 20-inch five spoke dark satin grey wheels and low profile tires fill the wheel wells adding to the already aggressive stance of the car.
Internally the cockpit is what you would expect of a luxury performance coupe. The black leather interior is finished of with yellow double stitching on the seats and doors, and there’s a 400 Sport logo on the dashboard, steering wheel, seat backs and scuff plates.
The smaller diameter, flat-bottomed steering wheel, normally sold as an option, now comes as standard with the brushed aluminum gearshift paddles finishing it off nicely.
The newly designed 12-way power adjustable slim line seats have knocked just over seven kg from the old seats in part due to a new magnesium frame. Both driver and passenger seats are heated and ventilated.
The positioning of the seat makes you feel that you are in or are part of the car, even though they are thin, they are really comfortable as well as being supporting.
The dash is neatly laid out with everything close to hand, which is essential in a sports car like this. The panoramic roof adds extra light that eliminates the usual claustrophobic feeling when sat in a performance coupe.
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Under the hood is Jaguars most powerful V6 to date.
It is still the same 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 as the others but the engineers have managed to squeeze another 20 hp from it bringing it up to a very impressive 400hp that produces 339 lb/ft of torque.
It is matched to a seamless eight speed automatic transmission and linked to the Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive System.
The 400 Sport comes with a standard configurable dynamics set up that controls the shock damping, steering, throttle, and shifting pattern, so you can set up the car to predefined settings for comfort or hang on to your seat driving, or even create your own custom settings.
I must admit the 400 Sport is one of the sweetest V6 engines I have heard. The exhaust note is so nice and when accelerating away it becomes even better.
Acceleration is fast it takes only 4.8 seconds to reach 100 km/h an improvement from 5.1 seconds for the other F-Type V6 engines. The transmission shifting is super fast but surprisingly smooth considering how fast it is actually changing.
Pushing it hard into corners is eased by the all-independent suspension (double wishbones and coils, both ends) as well as numerous electronic traction aids including a limited-slip differential and torque vectoring.
The 400 Sport stays flat throughout the corner with steering precise and smooth.
Bringing the 400 Sport to a halt is just as aggressive as its acceleration; its Super Performance all-disc brakes (380mm rotors in front, 375 mm at the back) slow it aggressively, but not harsh enough to feel that you are loosing control.
At the top of the rev range is where the 400 Sport really comes alive. Putting the shifter into sport mode enabled me to hold the gear shifts for much longer – by means of the paddle shifters – and the closer you get to the red line the more the engine sings.
Shifting down is just as harmonious with the vitriol gurgling and growling between gearshifts. This car is not only a dream to drive it is a dream to listen to. This model came with the optional Meridian surround sound system ($1,000) but to be honest I didn’t even listen to it – why would I with such a super sounding engine?
The 400 Sport was a loads of fun to drive, it is nimble, agile and really responsive. Handling is superb and only overshadowed by its great looks.
In my mind this was one of the most exciting cars I have driven in a long while, and I am sure that in the future the F-Type and especially the 400 Sport will be as collectible and as iconic as its E-Type predecessor.
2018 Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport
BODY STYLE: Premium performance sports coupe.
DRIVE METHOD: Eight-speed automatic transmission, permanent all-wheel-drive.
ENGINE: 3.0-litre V6 24-valve supercharged (400 hp, 339 lb./ft.)
FUEL ECONOMY: N/A
CARGO: 405 litres
CURB WEIGHT: 1,594 kg
PRICE: $101,000 (Base) $106,675 (as Tested) Delivery $1,500