Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: November 14, 2017
The Jaguar F-Type family tree spans far and wide, and branches off with nearly as many stems as the Porsche 911. Choose from a conservative 2.0-litre 296-hp four-cylinder, or perhaps find your way to the feral 575-hp supercharged V8; there’s an F-Type for everyone, even for those who prefer driving without a roof. But if you were to ask me where the sweet spot in all of this lies, and where the gavel falls between cost and performance, it's with the F-Type 400 Sport.
Available only for this 2018 model year, the F-Type 400 Sport gets an uprated supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine boosted from 380-hp to 400-hp, unique goodies like bigger front and rear brakes, 20-inch wheel design, gloss black exterior accents, exclusive “400 Sport” badging on the sheetmetal, front splitter, calipers, steering wheel, and seats, and yellow accents that span the width of the cabin.
On top of that, the 400 Sport is only available in three paint colours: black, silver, and white. I guess they figured all the yellow badges only go well with these pale shades. On the bright side, you can spec it out with all-wheel drive if you plan on driving it during the rain or snow, though the option of a manual is out of the equation.
Performance wise, the mild bump in horsepower does not translate into a noticeable jump in forward acceleration. Be that as it may, the F-Type still feels incredibly quick off the line. Aided by the all-wheel drive system, which masterfully coordinates the transfer of power to the tarmac, the F-Type 400 launches itself with poise but with a surprising amount of wheelspin - in fact, I thought my test vehicle was rear-wheel drive until I spotted the “AWD” badge on the boot. It’s definitely more playful around corners than a Porsche 911, I’ll give it that.
Questionable traction aside, the rest of the F-Type’s powertrain is impressive. The 8-speed automatic transmission feels better tuned than the unit used in the XE. It’s much smoother in this application on both up- and down-shifts. In fact, when downshifting through the gears, the speed and response of the swaps reminds me of the BMW 440i - I’m not surprised as they both use the same gearbox developed by ZF.
We did experience some low-speed lurching on partial throttle at low speeds, almost like the jerkiness you experience in a dual-clutch. There’s a bit of lugging during manual upshifting as well. I do like how the F-Type will start in second gear sometimes, which aids in flattening out power delivery without the abrasive first gear.
The most compelling reason why anyone would want an F-Type is for the noise, and boy does the 400 Sport have it. Check out our Exhaust Notes video below to have a listen yourself, but in our ears it sounds feral, animalistic, and like a race car howling up to its climax. I found it more exhilarating than the new turbocharged Porsche 911s with their sports exhaust, and superior to the V8 burble of the BMW M6. This feline cat just loves to howl on throttle application, and fart and pop when letting off of it. It’s even got an exhaust mode button (I love these) that can turn off those authentic goosebump summoning notes when they’ve become too sonically abrasive, or just when your neighbours tell you to shut up.
But how could you ever get mad at an F-Type? Especially in the Coupe variant whose sloping roofline makes it ten times more appealing than the Convertible. It integrates the sheetmetal with a more cohesive and flowing structure. Not to mention that the hidden and flush door handles that pop out are a neat party trick even though they’re not the most ergonomic or easiest handles to pull. Another way to impress your friends is to open the hood, which is hinged backwards and opens towards the front of the car, rather than toward the back.
The interior keeps up with the glamor and uses a clever mix of leather and chrome. It’s all top-grade stuff in here with an obvious fighter jet cockpit inspiration: toggle switches are abundant, not to mention the arcade-like joystick gear shifter. The center handle that encompasses the right side of the console also acts like a divider so the passenger can’t access your radio stations - and also becomes a handy oh sh** handle when the road gets snaky. The steering wheel in the F-Type also feels much more wholesome to grip than the overly concaved ones in the Jaguar XE and XF.
Every vehicle isn’t without its gripes, and the cheap and chintzy paddle shifters just didn’t give off an expensive vibe. Despite being brushed in aluminum, they don’t have the same quality trigger feeling when pulled as say, the Alfa Romeo’s or BMW’s steering wheels. In fact, the joystick shifter perched in the center console is much better to shift with. Jag doesn’t use the spinning rotary shifter here.
The lack of interior storage is a bit of a concern, as the F-Type is strictly a two seater coupe, not a 2+2 with petit dog seats in the back like the 911 and M6. There are two cupholders, a sizable center cubby, and a small vertical net between the seats to hold small items, but that’s about it. Luckily with the Coupe, you can simply throw your items into the trunk from your seat if you remove the trunk cover. Just don’t expect to retrieve it the same way.
The exclusivity of the F-Type 400 Sport has its appeal, and who doesn’t like the bragging rights of 400 horsepower? If the bigger brakes, unique badging, and yellow trimming on the inside don’t do much for you, the cheaper 380-hp F-Type will satisfy all of your sports car desires. Besides, you’ll have a wider palette of paint colours to choose from than the 400, and I doubt most drivers would be able to notice a 20-hp disparity without a back to back comparison. With instant power delivery, sexy styling, and a back-splashing exhaust, it really doesn’t matter which trim of V6 F-Type you opt for, 400 or not. They’re all bathed in a honey pot of drama and magnificence.
型号 Model: 2018 Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport Coupe AWD
顏色 Paint Type: Santorini Black
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $101,000
試車售價 Price as Tested: $107,040
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,622
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,470 / 1,923 / 1,311
引擎 Engine: 3.0-litre supercharged V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 400 hp @ 6,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 339 lb-ft @ 3,500 - 5,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 15.1
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Pirelli P Zero