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Steve’s In 7th Heaven Since He Test Drove The Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport

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F-Type

From coast to coast and from road to track I have been fully versed in Jaguar’s F-TYPE and it’s become one of my favorite sports cars. It has everything you want from a fast Jag. And for a limited time there’s this new variant called the 400 Sport with its own unique flair.

Since its introduction for the 2014 model year, I have fallen hard for the F-TYPE – whether coupe or convertible, V6 or V8, rear or all-wheel drive, manual or automatic – Jaguar has created a lusty 2-seater anyone with even a modicum of car appreciation will love.

With aluminum bent in the most charismatic way, supercharged power and sport car sounds from heaven, there’s not much the F-TYPE doesn’t do exceptionally well.  For the 2018 model year, the range has been expanded to include a turbocharged 4-cylinder variant creating 24 unique F-TYPEs from which to choose ranging in price from $60,000 to $125,000.  A light refresh has also been applied with new full-LED headlights, front bumpers and air intakes.  And a previous complaint of mine has been addressed: new lightweight seats deliver greater long trip comfort.

To celebrate the changes, Jaguar has issued this 400 Sport Special Edition. The 400 represents the horsepower output of the 3.0-liter V6; normally tuned to 380.  Exclusively available for 1 model year, the 400 Sport is positioned above the R-Dynamic trims and below the V8-powered R model.  Pricing starts at around $90,000.  This one is rear-wheel but all-wheel drive is also available.  All 400 Sports are equipped with a quick shifting 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters, a pavement-biting limited slip differential with torque vectoring, upgraded stopping power, 20” wheels fitted with staggered width Pirelli P Zeros clinging to the road, a Configurable Dynamics system individually controlling throttle, transmission, steering and suspension, a more prominent front splitter, extended side sills and all of the cool yellow 400 Sport badges.  Inside there are soft but supportive performance seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

My car adds in the Climate Package with dual zone climate control, cooled seats and a heated windshield a la Land Rover, blind spot and reverse traffic detection and a powered tailgate for an as-tested price of $93,525.  Big bucks, for sure, but once you drive it you’ll understand why.  But it in Dynamic mode, kick the shifter to the left and let it loose.  Unlike most other high-horsepower, rear-drive sports cars, the F-Type’s power is easily exploitable.

This is a car you don’t need to take to the track in order to have fun though it’s a hero there, too.  Grip is prodigious and its handling is superbly neutral and confidently predictable.  Give me a supercharged engine any day over a turbo – this thing reacts immediately and when the active exhaust is wide open the burbles and backfires are infinitely amusing.  339 pound-feet of torque delivers an unchanged 0-to-60mph time of 4.8 seconds which is suitably quick but once you’ve driven those V8 F-TYPEs nearly everything feels slow by comparison.  But that power is always there when needed and with hefty steering and shut down brakes the 400 Sport is immensely entertaining to drive hard while at the same time a pussycat with an engine stop/start system when you’re just tooling around.

The ride quality is exceptionally well balanced for a sports coupe.  And for more downforce, there’s an automatically deploying rear spoiler but to trigger it manually the car needs to be stopped and the engine turned off.

With bigger wheels, wider tires, larger rear brakes and a more aggressive body kit, the 400 Sport gives you a limited edition F-TYPE, blending attributes of the 380 horsepower model and the highest order V8 trims. Can I feel the extra 20 horses? No. But this car is so easy to drive hard and fast while at the same time providing grand touring comfort that for me it makes for the perfect balance of a high end sports coupe. It looks and sounds incredible and this supercharged engine perfectly fits the bill.

Jaguar’s infotainment system is a dud but at least it houses a backup cam…you’ll need it. There’s configurable ambient lighting, a high-end Meridian sound system and a quality feel befitting the brand.  It coddles when you want it to and excites at the flip of switch.  Gas mileage is a very respectable 19mpg city/27mpg highway.

Even in its 5th year, the F-TYPE still commands attention and satisfies like few other cars can.

By TestDriveNow Auto Critic Steve Hammes for SouthFloridaReporter.com, July 13, 2018 

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A premiere automotive resource featuring video reviews by America’s top automotive critic Steve Hammes. Having road tested more than 2,000 new vehicles, Hammes, known as “The Go-to-Guy Before You Buy”, delivers at least two new reviews of his first-hand test drive experiences each week.