I must be spoiled rotten. There is no other way to explain my feeling of inadequacy after driving a 400 horsepower exotic sport coupe. From the likes of Jaguar no less, the famed British automobile manufacturer revered for putting out some of the hottest sports cars in today’s market. In my defense, there is a very logical reason for my current dilemma.
You see, my previous test drive was in the mighty Jaguar F-TYPE SVR Coupe, an ultra blue 575 horsepower fire-breathing behemoth with underlying carnivorous tendencies. This week, I am piloting the equally striking, and maybe even more so with its all-black paint scheme, 2018 F-TYPE 400 Sport Coupe with AWD. Call it separation anxiety, but making the jump from hyperdrive to warp speed was a little hard- at first.
Three days into the test drive, however, I started to come around to the idea that this cat was in several ways the better choice. At the very least it is equal to the SVR when it comes to usable performance and making heads turn throughout the neighbourhood. Plus the extra $40,000 saved on the base price alone would make an excellent deposit on a 2018 Jaguar F-PACE, for those times when only an SUV will do; at the estate, with acreage and a multi-vehicle garage, of course!
The raspy sound of the 3.0-litre V6 engine growling to life in the early morning doesn’t so much turn heads as it nearly snaps them off. It is vastly different from the V8 F-TYPE, almost maniacal when compared to the deep, lustful rumble of the SVR. Think Heath Ledger’s Joker laugh versus Christian Bale’s “I’m batman” grunt. Both are formidable, one borders on being scary good. Which one would I chose? Here is Miranda’s take on these two felines.
Here kitty, kitty…
I’ve noticed a certain trend in the auto industry over the years; this sense that if a particular model does relatively well and has a certain amount of popularity then it’s important to release as many versions of said model as possible to garner the greatest reach amongst buyers and would-be owners. You know, appeal to every personality (perhaps not budget) and lifestyle.
So, it stands to reason that the still kinda new Jaguar F-Type would have a few different versions of itself, just to appeal to the masses. Because, clearly, just one wasn’t appealing enough (said no one ever about the F-Type…).
I’ve had the supreme pleasure now of driving the entire F-Type lineup. From the base V6 right up to the granddaddy of them all, the SVR; from AWD to RWD, automatic to manual, and convertible to coupe. And no matter which version I get behind the wheel of, I manage to fall a little bit more in love with the big cat each time.
In recent weeks I was given the opportunity to drive two of the top Jaguar F-Type models almost back-to-back, so it seemed only natural I compare them… you know, just in case you were cross-shopping and weren’t sure which version of the British kitty you’d like to take home.
2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR
There’s something sinfully delightful about this F-Type. Something so wrong that it’s so very, very right. It’s ridiculously loud, shockingly quick off the line, and an absolutely pleasure to drive at any time, in any condition, anywhere. It looks like pure sex, and the feeling you get when behind the wheel of this beast is nothing short of euphoric. Everything about this F-Type version rubs me in entirely the right way.
When I first experienced the SVR across the pond in the UK almost exactly a year ago, circumstances were different and I had the whole “driving on the other side of the road” detail to deal with. Well, such was not the case here at home. I was able to fully appreciate and embrace every mad feature and ability this beast of a vehicle has, and it has a number of them.
Beneath its absolutely gorgeous and sculpted front end sits a tweaked version of the company’s supercharged V8 mill. Set to pump out 575 horses and almost an equal number of torques, this thing goes. My God does it go.
There’s no need to rattle off too many stats, as I think in the case of the SVR it’s not so much the specs that matter, but the overall experience behind the wheel. Because it is a rather sublime place to be. And not just for the driver.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the Jaguar SVR has a special sensor in the passenger seat that makes it aware of a smaller human being in a car seat sitting there, not at an adult, and so keeps the passenger airbag off, which is the most important bit when having a child sit up front. So, my main squeeze was able to enjoy the SVR with me.
Let me tell you; seeing the sheer pleasure spread across his face at the savage acceleration and reverberating parps, farts, and barks from the quad exhaust pipes out the rear; that was almost better than driving the car itself. Almost.
Everything about the Jaguar F-Type SVR is tighter, faster, more intense, more rigid, just MORE. From the carbon-fibre wing off the back to the vented hood scoops in the bonnet to the extended side gill for air flow, everything about the SVR is in excess. And I adore it.
I think I like the idea that something British can be so unapologetically brash and in-your-face like the SVR so blatantly is. Everything about is loud and intense. It demands to be stared at. It craves the attention. And it gets it, my God does it get it. Click that all-important sport exhaust button and be prepared to rouse the neighbours and scare small dogs as you drive by.
Now, would I spend the near $140k base price for it? If I had the funds, you bet your ass I would. But what if there was a slightly less intense, slightly less expensive alternative that gets just as much attention and was almost as exclusive (if not more)?
2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe
Price as tested (before taxes): $166,450.00
Configuration: front engine, all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 5.0L supercharged V8/ automatic
Power/torque: 575 hp / 516 lb-ft
Competitors: Acura NSX, Audi R8 V10 Plus, Maserati GranTurismo MC, Mercedes-AMG GT, Porsche 911 Turbo S
2018 Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport
After my time behind the wheel of the beastly SVR, I was handed the keys to the all-new special edition F-Type 400 Sport. With only 100 available in Canada, already this coupe version of the sporty Jaguar model has an exclusive air about it. But there’s more than just the limited production number that makes it special.
Equipped with the 3.0L V6 supercharged mill, the F-Type 400 Sport, like its name would suggest, produces 400 horsepower compared to the F-Type R with the same engine that only squeezes out 380 ponies. Now, do those 20 extra horses really make a difference? They kind of do.
Or perhaps it has to do with the oh-so-subtle yet intense paint scheme of dark metallic greys/black that are the only options available, coupled with the bright yellow “400” branding and equally bright yellow calipers that sit atop carbon ceramic brakes (398mm front/380mm rear, the same ones found on the SVR). Unique yellow stitching lines the leather interior on both seats, across the dash and on the steering wheel.
The Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport is a subtle British version of Bumble Bee, I’ve decided. Doing it in a way only the Brits can, with all the brute strength and coolness you’d expect from a supercar without the fanfare and racing stripes and massive wing off the back (er, let’s not mention the SVR now, shall we?).
Driving the F-Type 400 Sport is almost as fun as the SVR if not more because it’s slightly more manageable. Over 500 horsepower is a lot of brute strength beneath your right foot. However, dial it back to 400 and it because a bit more livable.
Now, that’s not to say the 400 is boring or “tame,” not in the least. In fact, it’s bloody quick. While the SVR will do the 0-100km/hr sprint in just 3.9 seconds, the 400 Sport will see that same distance travelled in 4.7 seconds. Not as fast, but also not at all shabby.
Otherwise, the two are strikingly similar, and for $40k less, the Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport may just be the ultimate F-Type. The perfect blend of everyday driver and track-ready beast. And with the added exclusivity of a limited number available in Canada, I think I’d have a hard time saying not to the British Bumble Bee.
2018 Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport
Price as tested (before taxes): $108,175.00
Configuration: front engine, all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.0L supercharged V6/ automatic
Power/torque: 400 hp / 339 lb-ft
Competitors: BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, Lexus RCF, Maserati GranTurismo Sport, Porsche 911 Carrera S