From £70,6559
Revised F-Type brings with it a special-edition model that aims to combine the V6’s agility with the V8’s performance at a keen price
Steve Cropley Autocar
12 July 2017

What is it?

Jaguar has learned plenty in four years of selling the F-Type.

One key discovery is that there’s a band of prospective owners who seek an F-Type with its focus very heavily on driving, packing the agility of a V6, a practical performance level close to a V8, a configurable chassis with an ideal brake-wheel-tyre combination and a uniquely styled body. They would like all of that at a price well below the cheapest V8.

Step forward the F-Type 400 Sport, a special launch edition in the facelifted F-Type range featuring Jaguar’s most powerful V6 yet and claimed to offer “unrivalled driver appeal”. Available as a coupé or convertible, and with two or four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the 400 Sport is being sold globally “for one model year only”.

The entry-level price for a 2WD coupé model is £70,665, just £1500 more than a standard 375bhp F-Type. The 400 label is justified by a gentle uprating of the 3.0-litre supercharged V6’s top-end power from 380hp (375bhp) to 400hp (395bhp). The 339lb ft peak torque figure is identical in both engines, as is the 0-60mph acceleration figure (4.8sec with 2WD).

Despite a lack of measurable action, experts insist there’s a subtle helping of extra poke, response and a keener engine note when the engine is turning close to its 6500rpm rev limit.

Practically speaking, the difference between the 380 and 400 engines seems mostly a matter of nomenclature; the simple truth appears to be that 400 sounds better. The 400's fuel economy (32.9mpg combined) and CO2 output (203g/ km) figures are also identical to those of the 380.

Jaguar isn’t revealing its plans for the longer term, but it seems fair to forecast that after the 400 Sport’s debut has given mid-range F-Type sales a hoped-for boost later this year, the 400 engine might become a regular production version.

Elsewhere, the 400 Sport’s specification offers improved value to the performance driver compared with standard cars. The automatic and its transmission paddles are standard, the all-independent suspension (by double wishbones and coils, both ends) includes Super Performance all-disc brakes (380mm rotors in front, 375mm at the back) and there’s a standard configurable dynamics set-up that allows the driver to select individual, favourite settings for the throttle, transmission, steering effort and damper rates. The car gets handsome five-spoke 20in alloys as standard, finished in satin grey, and there’s a standard mechanical limited-slip differential.

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What's it like?

Talking looks, the 400 Sport is very much its own car.

On one hand, it gets the early benefit of the upgrades planned for the whole F-Type range, such as the new, thinner seats that improve dash-to-backrest space and look a lot racier while maintaining comfort.

On the other, there’s a unique combination of features: you can only buy a 400 Sport in three body colours – black, white or silver – and the car gets a Sport Design pack of body add-ons comprising a more prominent front splitter, blade-like extended side sills and a prominent rear diffuser.

The black leather interior gets yellow double-stitching on the seats and doors, and there’s a 400 Sport logo on the seats, dashboard, steering wheel and door treadplates. The thicker-rimmed, smaller-diameter, flat-bottomed steering wheel, normally an option, is standard. Anodised aluminium gearshift paddles make a good finished touch.

 

On the road, the 400 Sport goes hard. The sub-5.0sec 0-60mph time is effortlessly delivered. With 339lb ft of torque developed from 3500rpm, plus gearchanges quicker than any mortal could make them, the car storms to 100mph and stays strong beyond that speed, with the engine emitting its characteristic smooth and surprisingly high wail, edgier as it gets into the lower 5000rpm range.

Jaguar development engineer Mike Cross says you can feel a benefit from the 400 engine’s extra 20bhp right at the top end, but given that the 400 Sport has an impressive supply of gear ratios and plenty of low-end torque, the feeling is elusive. And the car is very nearly as fast if you let it change itself at around 5000rpm as if you redline it on the paddles.

 

It handles, of course. There’s no substitute for the experience of sitting low in a potent front-engined car of generous proportions, sighting over your knuckles and down the bonnet at the next apex. As cars become more different in the coming years, the appeal of this will become as special as riding in a mid-engined car is now.

With its plethora of electronic traction aids, plus that limited-slip differential and the standard ability at torque vectoring, you drive this car neatly and quickly. It departs hard corners entirely on line. To me, the flat-bottomed wheel – the thick rim of which particularly suits my fingers – is a particular asset.

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Should I buy one?

The best thing about this the 400 Sport is its focus. You’re buying it on the right wheels, with the right seats, steering wheel and suspension specification. And the special model identification only makes it more desirable.

If driving is your priority, I think it would be hard to spend more than another £2000 to £3000 on cost options on the 400 Sport, because Jaguar has got the specification of it so right. In this day and age, that makes a nice change.

Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport Launch Edition

Location Warwickshire Price £70,665 Engine 2995cc, V6, supercharged Power 395bhp at 6500rpm Torque 339lb ft at 3500-5500rpm Gearbox 8-spd paddle-shift auto Kerb weight 1700kg 0-60mph 4.8sec Top speed 171mph Economy 32.9mpg combined CO2/tax band 203g/km, 37% Rivals Porsche Cayman, Mercedes-Benz SL, BMW M4     

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Comments
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bomb 13 July 2017

I suspect this 400hp version

I suspect this 400hp version will continue a little longer if the likely success of the new 4-pot takes sales away from the bigger ticket stuff.

bol 12 July 2017

Utterly beautiful

But I wish it was smaller and lighter with a manual gearbox. And a few less tacky yellow badges. 

Lanehogger 12 July 2017

Would we expect anything else from Mr Cropley?

When Steve Cropley is involved in reviewing or discussing Jaguars I can't but help think that his comments aren't impartial bearing in mind his constant, heaping of gushing praise on eveything that is Jaguar and Mike Cross and that he appears to be their ambassador for Autocar. There is barely anything negative towards Jaguars from him and this review of the F Type is an example even though we all know that Jaguars, like virtually every other car, has some flaw or issue. If a Jaguar was genuinely utter rubbish it'd be a fire sure bet that Mr Cropley would say it's amazing or ignore any flaws or somehow put a positive spin on a deficiency. As much as I like the F-Type and Jaguars (and I have a XE) I cannot take this latest review from him seriously at all.

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