The Jaguar F-Type hit the lottery for the British manufacturer in terms of design and driving emotion. The car was praised for its sleek design that put to bed the image of Jaguar being an old man’s car in the early 2000’s.
The F-Type quickly became popular amongst driving enthusiasts for not only its looks, but also its phenomenal soundtrack and amicable price tag. Fast forward a few years and Jaguar is looking for ways to complete the F-Type line-up by releasing revitalised versions of its sports coupe. Lo and behold the 2017 F-Type 400 Sport. In production for only one year, and with an engine that is unique to this particular edition, the 400 Sport is a very promising package. To see if the British driving sensation would live up to the hype, we put it to the test.
Engine and Performance
Let’s start with the biggest selling point for the limited production run of the F-Type: the powerhouse under the hood. With a 3.0 litre V6 Supercharged engine that produces 400 horsepower, 20 more than the standard V6 model, this special edition F-Type is not messing around. The remarkably responsive engine works together with an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission to transfer its power to the rear wheels, or all four wheels if you opt for the AWD version. All this power will propel the car from 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, and keeps the fun going until 275km/h.
The tweaks over the standard F-type do not come only in terms of performance. On the outside as well as the inside, the car is fitted with yellow “400 Sport” badges to remind you that your car, is just that little bit extra special. The front splitter, rear of the car, and brake callipers all display the bold logo. The headlights have also been refined to complement the car’s sleek and streamlined look.
What sets the 400 Sport further apart from the rest of the pack is its stealth look thanks to the special ‘Sport Design Pack’ that comes with dark satin grey finishes all around, and the standard 20-inch 5-spoke satin grey wheels.
Further standard interior features comprise the 400 Sport performance seats with logo embroidery, yellow or cirrus stitching, a black brushed aluminum mid-console, aluminum shift paddles behind the steering wheel, a mix of Windsor and Ebony premium leather and much more. If you want the best and the latest of Jaguar’s entertainment and driver’s assistance offering, you will have to skim through the options list.
The Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport is exclusively available in three shades of metallic: Yulong White, Indus Silver and Santorini Black. Our test vehicle was finished with the graceful Indus Silver metallic finish, forming quite the visual ensemble with its satin grey details and wheels.
But how does it drive? After getting into the low seating position and pushing the start button, the fruity 400 hp-strong V6 roars to life. After half an hour on the highway the F-Type put a perpetual grin on our faces. The continuous noise and backfires coming from F-Type’s tailpipes take a spin with your emotions and get the petrol pumping in your veins. It was time to take our business off the highway and explore the quiet countryside.
With its sturdy ride suspension and torque vectoring capabilities, the 400 Sport bites down on the tarmac in the curves, giving tighter turning capabilities and reduced understeer. Together with the lightweight aluminium body, the double wishbone suspension system gives the car a firm stance during agile cornering. But how fast do you really need to go to enjoy the F-Type 400 Sport? Not fast at all.
You don’t need to push it to the limit to feel and grasp the passion that went into developing this car. The V6 has been fine-tuned to perfection to provide, arguably, the most melodic soundtrack of any car of its kind and growl in your ears from the moment you push that start button. Speaking of fine-tuning, the 8-speed ZF gearbox couldn’t be a better partner to this near-perfect V6. It shifts through gears adequately and is just as responsive as you’d expect it to be.
Near-perfect? Of course no car is without its imperfections, no matter the price, brand or reputation. Going flat-out in the 400 Sport it leaves you hungry for more, literally. The loudness, robustness and competence of the engine make you wonder whether Jaguar capitalized on its full potential. In retrospect, there are plenty of smaller displacement six-cylinder engines that effortlessly crack the 400 hp output cap, such as Audi’s 2.9-liter V6 (450 hp) and Alfa Romeo’s 2.9-liter V6 (510 hp).
Fully stepping down on the pedal it just feels like the Jag has much more to give, but is being restrained. The fact that the two-seater weighs nearly 1600 kilograms only emphasizes the need for more power, that is, if it really wants to compete with the likes of Porsche’s 911 or Audi’s TT-RS.
The relatively slow touch-controlled infotainment and navigation system also leaves room for improvement, but doesn’t overshadow the otherwise pleasant ambiance in the car’s interior. The premium materials and attention to detail give passengers a renowned sense of luxury, no expenses spared.
Starting from £70,115 in the UK and €132,310 in the Netherlands, Jaguar is asking quite a premium over the standard F-Type S. Although it is a special edition and it comes with many exclusive features as standard, buyers will have to ask themselves the question whether the 20 PS and exclusive styling are worth the extra cash.
After all, it is the car’s emotion and sound that will stay with you, and the standard V6 version offers just as much theater and joy at a significantly lower price. Either way, the Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport offers a captivating experience and is an absolute thrill to drive; two prerequisites that should be on top of anyone’s list when shopping for a two-seater sports car.