The Jaguar S-Type – Luxury with an Edge

Table of Contents

The Jaguar S-Type arrived in 1999, bringing a dose of classic British charm to the modern luxury sedan segment. Its flowing lines and traditional design cues were a deliberate throwback to the iconic Jaguar S-Type of the 1960s, blending retro style with contemporary performance. It aimed to appeal to discerning drivers seeking a luxurious alternative to the established German rivals, promising a blend of comfort and engaging driving dynamics. With a range of powerful V6 and V8 engines, the S-Type signaled Jaguar’s commitment to delivering a true sporting sedan experience.

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Overview

Jaguar S-Type

The Jaguar S-Type occupied a key position in Jaguar’s lineup as a mid-size premium sedan. Aimed at rivals like the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, it sought to differentiate itself with its unique blend of retro-inspired styling and a greater emphasis on driver involvement. Jaguar emphasized the S-Type’s sporting pedigree, promising a driving experience that set it apart from more comfort-oriented rivals. While not the most spacious offering in its class, the S-Type appealed to buyers desiring a dash of classic British luxury wrapped up in a stylish and engaging package.

 

 

History

The 60s S-Type

The Jaguar S-Type’s design story is rooted in a desire to recapture the spirit of the iconic Jaguar S-Type of the 1960s. Its flowing lines, rounded “cat’s eye” headlights, and classic chrome grille were a deliberate homage to its predecessor. However, the desire for retro-inspired styling had to be balanced with contemporary design trends of the late 1990s.

Launched in 1999, the S-Type faced some criticism for the overly rounded elements in its design. Over its lifespan (1999-2007), it received several design updates to address this and modernize its appearance:

2002 Facelift:

The headlights gained a slightly sharper, more angular shape. The grille was revised, and the taillights received updated detailing.

2004 Facelift:

Further refinements to the headlights and grille continued, giving the front end a more aggressive look. Changes to the rear bumper design added a sportier touch.

While these updates aimed to sharpen the S-Type’s look, Jaguar retained the fundamental design cues that linked it to its classic predecessor. It remained a distinctive car, standing out with its blend of classic elegance and modernized retro styling.

 

Variants

Jaguar S-Type

Jaguar offered the S-Type in several trim levels and variants to cater to buyers with different preferences and budgets. Standard features were generous, focusing on luxury and comfort. Here’s an overview of the main offerings:

  • Base Models: These versions emphasized the core S-Type experience, providing classic Jaguar luxury with wood and leather appointments, premium sound systems, and a comfortable ride.
  • SE Trim: The SE trim added more standard equipment, such as upgraded interior features, larger wheels, and additional convenience items.
  • Sport Trim: As the name suggests, the Sport trim featured a firmer suspension setup, sporty exterior accents, and other tweaks for a more engaging driving experience.
  • S-Type R: The performance flagship of the range, the S-Type R boasted a supercharged V8 engine, aggressive styling cues, upgraded brakes, and a sport-tuned suspension for true enthusiast appeal.

 

Variants Summary:

VariantEngineYear
Base Variant3.0L V61999-2002
SE Trim3.0L V61999-2002
Sport Trim4.0L V81999-2002
S-Type R4.2L V8 Supercharged2002-2008

 

Exterior

Jaguar S-Type

The Jaguar S-Type’s exterior design was a bold gamble, wholeheartedly embracing a retro-inspired aesthetic inspired by the iconic S-Type of the 1960s. It aimed to evoke a sense of classic British elegance in an era dominated by sharper, more modern designs. Key design elements included:

Flowing Lines:

The S-Type’s bodywork featured smooth, rounded curves, particularly noticeable in the hood’s profile and the way the roofline flowed into the trunk. This created a sense of uninterrupted fluidity.

“Cat’s Eye” Headlights:

The rounded, almost teardrop-shaped headlights were a direct stylistic reference to the original S-Type, giving the car a distinctive front-end appearance.

Traditional Grille:

The prominent chrome grille with vertical slats was another nod to classic Jaguar styling cues, providing a sense of heritage and timeless elegance.

Subtle Updates:

Throughout its life, the S-Type received minor styling revisions. Changes focused on updating the headlight and taillight design, with later models featuring slightly more angular shapes for a touch of modernity.

Sporty Accents:

The S-Type R and Sport trims added aggression with unique mesh grilles, lowered suspension, larger wheels, and subtle body kits that emphasized their performance potential.

Reception:

The S-Type’s retro styling was polarizing. Some found it charming and a welcome departure from the sameness of contemporary designs. Others criticized it as overly nostalgic and out of step with the times. However, it succeeded in its goal – the Jaguar S-Type was undeniably distinctive and instantly recognizable.

 

Interior

Jaguar S-Type Dash

Stepping inside the Jaguar S-Type, drivers were greeted by an environment that blended traditional Jaguar luxury with nods to its sporting aspirations. The cabin was swathed in high-quality materials, with generous use of wood trim and leather upholstery.

The dashboard layout prioritized ergonomics with a classic instrument cluster and driver-centric controls. Seats were designed for long-distance comfort, with ample support and adjustments, while higher trim levels added features like heating and cooling. The wood-rimmed steering wheel and traditional chrome accents around the gauges reinforced the S-Type’s connection to Jaguar’s heritage.

While luxurious, the interior wasn’t the most spacious in its class, with rear legroom and trunk space feeling somewhat limited compared to some rivals. Despite its retro leanings, the S-Type offered modern amenities expected in a luxury sedan, including navigation systems, premium sound systems, and other technology-focused features, depending on the trim level.

 

Engine

Engine

The Jaguar S-Type offered a diverse selection of gasoline engines, including V6 and V8 options, to suit varying preferences for performance and budget. Here’s a closer look:

V6 Options:

The S-Type featured several V6 engines throughout its lifespan. These offered a blend of power and reasonable fuel efficiency. Options included:

2.5L V6:

Producing around 194 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, this engine balanced performance and fuel economy.

3.0L V6:

Generating approximately 241 horsepower and 216 lb-ft of torque, this option provided a noticeable boost in power for a more spirited driving experience.

2.7L V6 Diesel:

For those prioritizing fuel efficiency, Jaguar also offered a twin-turbocharged diesel V6 delivering around 201 horsepower and a robust 321 lb-ft of torque.

V8 Excitement:

Jaguar equipped the S-Type with naturally aspirated V8 engines for drivers desiring a classic driving experience. A 4.0L and a larger 4.2L V8 were offered, delivering satisfying acceleration and a refined V8 soundtrack. Power outputs were approximately 282 horsepower and 303 lb-ft of torque for the 4.0L, and up to 294 horsepower and 303 lb-ft of torque for the larger option.

S-Type R – Supercharged Thrills:

Sitting at the top of the performance spectrum, the S-Type R boasted a 4.2L supercharged V8 engine. This powerhouse delivered a thrilling 394 horsepower and 399 lb-ft of torque, transforming the S-Type into a genuine high-performance sedan.

Fuel Economy:

While fuel efficiency wasn’t its primary focus, the S-Type’s engines, especially the V6 variants, achieved respectable fuel economy for the era and their luxury positioning.

Specs Summary

Engine TypeHorsepowerTorque0-60 mphTop Speed
2.5L V6 (Executive)194 hp181 lb-ft8.6 s142 mph
2.7L V6 Diesel (Executive)201 hp321 lb-ft9.9 s140 mph
3.0L V6 (Executive)241 hp216 lb-ft8.5 s143 mph
4.0L V8 (Executive)282 hp303 lb-ft8.6 s141 mph
4.2L V8 (Executive)294 hp303 lb-ft7.6 s155 mph (governed)
4.2L V8 Supercharged (S-TYPE R)394 hp399 lb-ft5.3 s155 mph (governed)

 

Driving Experience

Perspective

The Jaguar S-Type aimed to deliver a driving experience that blended classic British sportiness with the refinement expected from a luxury sedan. The emphasis was on delivering a comfortable ride with engaging handling characteristics, rather than prioritizing outright raw performance.

Key Impressions:

Behind the wheel, the S-Type felt substantial and planted. Its steering provided decent feedback and a comfortable weight. While not the nimblest car in its class, it exhibited good body control and a willingness to tackle corners with composure.

Engine Impacts:

The driving experience varied somewhat depending on engine choice. The V6 variants provided adequate power for daily driving and relaxed highway cruising. The V8 models, particularly the supercharged S-Type R, injected a healthy dose of excitement with stronger acceleration and a more pronounced engine note.

Ride Comfort:

Jaguar prioritized ride comfort, and the S-Type’s suspension managed to soak up most road imperfections without feeling overly soft. Firmer suspension tuning in sportier models added a touch of athleticism but maintained a good balance between handling and comfort.

Refinement:

The S-Type’s cabin did a good job of isolating occupants from excess wind and road noise, contributing to its luxury ambiance, especially on longer journeys.

Limitations:

While enjoyable to drive, the S-Type wasn’t without its shortcomings. Some enthusiasts found its handling a bit too focused on comfort rather than razor-sharp responsiveness. Additionally, the interior space, especially in the rear, lagged behind some of its more practically minded competitors.

Overall, the Jaguar S-Type succeeded in delivering a driving experience that aligned with its mission. It offered a satisfying blend of comfort, refinement, and a healthy dose of classic Jaguar character. If you want to have a trully modern luxury car, you should check Alpina B7.

Driver Aids and Safety Features

Dashboard

The Jaguar S-Type came equipped with several safety features for its time, reflecting its focus on occupant protection. While not as technologically advanced as some modern cars, it provided a solid foundation for safety.

Standard Safety Equipment:

Standard on all S-Type models were features like:

  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS): Prevents wheels from locking under hard braking, improving control.
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC): Helps maintain vehicle stability and prevent skidding.
  • Airbags: Equipped with front airbags, as well as side and curtain airbags for increased protection in side-impact collisions.
  • Jaguar’s Patented Whiplash Protection: Front seats were designed to reduce the severity of whiplash injuries in rear-end collisions.

 

Advanced Options:

Depending on the model year, trim level, and options selected, the S-Type could also be equipped with:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control: Maintains a set distance from the vehicle ahead.
  • Blind Spot Monitoring: Warns drivers of vehicles in their blind spots.
  • Rear Parking Sensors: Assists with parking maneuvers.
  • Forward Collision Warning: Alerts the driver of potential frontal collisions.

 

Overall, the S-Type provided a good level of safety technology for its era, prioritizing both crash protection and driver assistance features.

 

Should You Buy a Jaguar S-Type?

Jaguar S-Type

The Jaguar S-Type might be a compelling choice for certain buyers but isn’t the right fit for everyone. Here’s a breakdown of who might love it and factors to consider before purchasing.

Ideal Buyer

  • Style Enthusiast: Drivers drawn to the S-Type’s unique blend of classic and modern styling will find it visually appealing. It stands out in a world of homogenous designs.
  • Comfort Seeker: Those who prioritize a luxurious ride and comfortable seats over razor-sharp handling will appreciate the S-Type’s cosseting nature.
  • Jaguar Aficionado: Buyers with an affinity for the Jaguar brand and its heritage might find the S-Type’s connection to its classic predecessors particularly appealing.
  • Value-Conscious Shopper: Used S-Types can offer a taste of Jaguar luxury at a more attainable price point compared to newer models.

 

Original MSRP vs. Current Pricing

ModelOriginal US PriceCurrent Market Value
Jaguar S-Type$42,500 – $61,000$5,000 – $15,000

 

Conclusion

Jaguar S-Type

The Jaguar S-Type occupied a unique niche in the luxury sedan market. Its retro-inspired design, emphasis on comfort, and Jaguar pedigree made it a distinctive alternative to its more mainstream German rivals. While not without its shortcomings in areas like practicality and ultimate sportiness, the S-Type succeeded in offering a stylish and luxurious driving experience.

For enthusiasts seeking a classic British driving experience with a touch of modern flair, the S-Type delivers undeniable charm. If you prioritize unique styling, appreciate Jaguar’s heritage, and value comfort over outright performance, a well-maintained S-Type could be a rewarding addition to your garage.

 

Pros And Cons Of The Jaguar S-Type

Pros

Cons

 

FAQ

Jaguars from the S-Type’s era don’t have the strongest reputation for reliability. While some owners have had positive experiences, it’s essential to factor in the potential for higher maintenance costs and more frequent repairs than some comparable luxury sedans. Finding a well-documented S-Type with a thorough service history is crucial.

The “best” engine depends on your priorities. If you’re looking for a balance of performance and fuel economy, the V6 engines are a good choice. For a more spirited driving experience and a classic V8 soundtrack, consider the naturally aspirated V8s. If you crave maximum excitement and thrilling acceleration, the supercharged V8 in the S-Type R is the way to go.

Owning a Jaguar S-Type can be more expensive than some mainstream rivals. Routine maintenance costs might be higher, and as an older model, the likelihood of needing repairs increases. Budgeting for potential maintenance and unexpected repairs is wise when considering an S-Type.

Written by: Motorcardata

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