JAGUAR F-TYPE 400 SPORT IMAGINE BAGHEERA, THE BLACK PANTHER IN RUDYARD KIPLING’S JUNGLE BOOK, AS A CAR, AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOOK MUCH FURTHER THAN THE BLACK JAGUAR F-TYPE 400 SPORT, COMPLETE WITH YELLOW DETAILS, RECENTLY LEFT IN IN THE CARE OF FERDI DE
Launched at the beginning of 2017, to mark the introduction of the new F-Type range, the 400 Sport was exclusively developed as a special edition available for one model year only.
The figure 400 refers to the Sport’s higher output of nearly 400 horsepower thanks an uprated version of the supercharged 3.0-litre V6, with maximum power increased from 280 kW to 294 kW.
While available in rear- and all-wheel drive configuration with an eight-speed Quickshift transmission and mechanical limited-slip differential, the distinctive Santorini Black example made available to us was only rear-wheel drive.
Its shiny coat and feline proportions were enhanced with a Sport Design Pack – comprising of a more prominent front splitter, extended side sills and a rear diffuser in dark satin grey, 20” wheels also finished in the unique dark grey, contrasted by distinctive yellow brake callipers and 400 Sport badges.
However, it shares some of the 2018 model year design changes with the rest of the range, including full LED headlights and a cleaner bumper design that incorporates large, powerful single apertures with a lozenge mesh design in place of its predecessor’s double ‘shark gill’ apertures.
The distinctive J-Blade daytime running lights are retained, but now double up as
indicators, with the lamp’s ‘eyelid’ indexed with the bonnet’s cutline to accentuate the lights’ multi-layered graphics. The LED rear light clusters with their light graphic of a horizontal line intersecting a roundel – a feature inherited from the iconic Jaguar E-type– is now accentuated by darker lenses.
Inside, new lightweight slimline leathercovered seats save about 8 kg of weight and can move rearward by up to 50 mm more than before, enabling a lower seat position and increased legroom for greater comfort.
Contrasting yellow stitching is used throughout the interior, and 400 Sport logos adorn the headrests. The flatbottomed steering wheel carries additional 400 Sport branding, as well as the black brushed aluminium centre console finisher and the sill tread plates.
It features the Touch Pro infotainment system with tablet-style operation and the new ReRun app that combines real-time video from a GoPro with key vehicle performance data. This can be downloaded to a smartphone and shared on social media. However, be careful what you post.
ON THE ROAD
An uprated chassis and the Configurable Dynamics system, allowing you to select individual settings for the throttle, transmission, steering, and dampers, complement the 400 Sport’s extra power.
It also has a button on the centre console to enhance the burble and rasp of the V6 at full tilt, and with the supercharger enabling immediate throttle response, the 400 Sport feels super-quick off the line– hitting the tonne in just 4.9 seconds and accelerating up to a heady 275 km/h.
The 400 Sport may not be as powerful as its V8 R and SVR siblings, but with its soulful V6 it is easily the most balanced derivative now available; making it the best in the range dynamically, and the most fun to drive … more so with the crisp, clear sound of the Meridian Surround Sound system in your ears.
It turns in well into the corners, stays composed in long sweeps, and even handles short and twisty bits with aplomb, while its ride quality and comfort is outstanding for a two-seater sports car. A performance braking system comprising 380 mm front and 376 mm rear discs ensures the 400 Sport also stops as well as it goes.
Having already won nearly 160 awards worldwide, the all-aluminium two-seater F-Type has already firmly established itself within the sports car segment. In the latest model line-up, the 400 Sport stands out as the pinnacle of the range.
Yes, it isn’t the most powerful derivative, but in terms of pure dynamics and useable performance, and retailing at just over R1.4 million, it will put some sports cars double its price to shame.