Fast Take: 2017 Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport
This F-type is juuuuust right.
Words by: Adam Allen
The Jaguar F-Type Sport 400 had a tough act to follow. Even before the nuclear reactor of an engine under the clamshell hood of the SVR we tested had a chance to cool, we were back on the road in Jaguar’s newest addition to the model range, the 400 Sport. A brief synopsis before we continue: You can now have your F-Type powered by a four-cylinder turbo, a trifecta of supercharged V6’s (which includes the 400 example you see here) and two potent supercharged V8’s delivering close to 600 horsepower. Depending on which model you select, there are choices of manual or automatic transmissions and rear or all-wheel drive. After having spent time in every version except the four banger, we can tell you that the 400 Sport is the sweet spot of the F-Type portfolio.
As Jag slices the F-Type pie into smaller slices, we dismissed the F-Type as merely justification to charge more money for a car that offers a small power gain and some slightly upgraded aesthetics. After spending a week in the 400 Sport, we readily admit that our prejudgment of the car missed the mark. This is a car that is greater than the sum of parts, and the enhancements that Jaguar have specified make it feel meaningfully different.
Separating the 400 Sport from V6 R-Dynamic models starts with the exterior. Jaguar chose a dark satin grey finish trim that subtly accentuates the details of 400 Sport, which include exclusive 20” wheels, a more aggressive front splitter and rear diffuser that are all tied together with a few strategically placed bright yellow 400 badges. Inside, occupants are treated to an already beautifully put together interior that features contrast French stitching in the same yellow as the exterior badging. It really doesn’t need more than that to feel special, and as an added bonus it had the updated InTouch infotainment system rather than the clunky hindrance that was fitted to our SVR tester.
Out on the road, the 400 Sport’s delights begin to slowly reveal themselves. Firstly, with generously sized staggered Pirelli rubber and all-wheel drive, the car has an almost inexhaustible supply of grip and can be used in any season, and in whatever weather conditions. Actually, the system inspires so much confidence that we wouldn’t hesitate to daily drive it in a Canadian winter, so long as a proper set of snow tires are installed.
Don’t get us wrong, the V8 F-Types are immensely satisfying to drive. Its just that their towering capability can make them feel a bit wasted when performing banal tasks like commuting and errand running. With the 400 Sport, you still have access to indulgent speed, but it’s much more accessible than its counterparts with two extra cylinders. In some ways it is the more fun car to toss around- sure, it has 400 very willing and vocal horsepower, but you don’t pile on the velovity quite as scary fast as you do in the V8 model. You can therefore claim the 400 Sport as the Goldilocks version, because you can actually take a trip to the redline here and there without threatening to break the sound barrier as you would in the V8 models. When you do, you’ll be treated to a lovely braaaaaaaaaap! followed by theatrical popping and spitting on the overrun. It’s addicting stuff and worth getting the stink eye from nearby pedestrians on occasion.
With less weight over the front wheels and a more agile persona overall, the 400 Sport is a delight in the curves. It handles remarkably well for something carrying 1,694 kilos and feels very much a sports car when you want to play. The steering is terrific if a bit heavy, but it faithfully telegraphs clear information about what’s going on at the front contact patches. This is a car that will goad you into driving faster, so you’ll need to exercise restraint. Restraint is exactly what the huge 380mm brakes and (376mm out back) will provide when you step on the pedal, scrubbing off prodigious speed without any drama. You can choose to get the carbon ceramic brakes, but the standard units work so well we wouldn’t bother.
This is also a car that is achingly beautiful, a car fit to boast its lineage to the vaunted E-Type of yesterday. With the advent of the 400 Sport model, Jaguar has produced what just might be the most well-rounded choice in the F-Type lineup- Goldilocks would agree that it’s just right.
2017 Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport -Specifications
- Price as tested: $108,175
- Body Type: 2-door, 2-passenger coupe
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
- Engine: 3.0-litre Supercharged V6, DOHC, 24 valves
- Horsepower: 400 @ 6,500 rpm
- Torque (lb-ft.): 340 @ 3,500-5,500 rpm
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Curb weight: 1,694 kg (3,735lbs.)
- Observed Combined Fuel consumption: 13.6L/100 km (17 mpg)