S-Type R is distinguished by its mesh grille. Subtle but unmistakable, when you see it in your rearview mirror, you'll know it's an R. It comes with a rear spoiler, special wheels and a unique front air dam with extra ducting for cooling the supercharged engine. Sport models are distinguished from the rest of the range by color-keyed exterior trim around the grille, trunk lid and bumpers, along with special 17x7.5-inch alloy wheels.
From the front, there's no mistaking the S-Type as anything other than a Jag. Two large headlamps and two small headlamps flank an oval radiator grille. The vertically oriented oval grille is canted forward at the bottom to such an extent that its lower edge is right at the front of the bumper. From the rear, the S-Type has a nicely crouched stance, as though the cat is about to pounce, with trademark triangular-shaped taillights.
The 300 horsepower of the 4.2-liter V8 engine might provide more visceral pleasure, and still quicker passing, but it can't offer more practicality or perfection. We might add that our 3.0-liter S-type did not have the Sport package with its firmer suspension, but we still found the cornering to be exceptional.
The importance of a good transmission can't be underestimated and the new S-Type comes with a great one, perhaps the best available. The six-speed automatic ZF is the same transmission used in the new BMW 7Series. This transmission is extremely responsive and silky smooth. It offers improved drivability around town, a benefit of the additional ratios. It delivers both better performance and improved fuel economy. It features a Sport mode, allowing the driver to shift manually. Select this mode and the transmission will not shift above the highest gear selected, though it will shift up and down below this gear according to conditions. The transmission has two overdrive ratios. Sport mode stays in fifth unless the driver maintains a steady state for 30 seconds. But most of the time we preferred to simply leave it in Drive and let it do its thing, as it does it so well. It's a smart transmission: lift off the throttle for a corner and it senses the steering angle and holds it in gear. It also holds a gear on hills, eliminating hunting between gears.
S-Type R is powered by a new 400-horsepower supercharged 4.2-liter V8 mated to the six-speed automatic. In addition to the features found on the 4.2, the R model comes loaded with the xenon headlamps, premium sound system, and heated front seats.
S-Type 4.2 is powered by a new 300-horsepower 4.2-liter V8 (substantially more powerful than last year's engine). The V8 comes with the six-speed automatic. Standard features include the power moonroof and Premium package listed above.
S-Type 3.0 is powered by a revised 240-horsepower 3.0-liter V6. It comes standard with a new Getrag five-speed manual transmission. It's also available with the new ZF six-speed automatic.
The S-Type interior offers a unique character that separates it from its closest competitors. It starts with the dashboard that stretches across the width of the car rather than wrapping the driver in a cockpit-type environment. The lower center of the dash is arranged in a distinctive semi-circular panel; it is a bold design element that draws mixed reactions: Some love it, others don't. We love it. This panel, which is finished in a smooth glossy metallic-looking finish, contains the automatic climate controls, sound system and optional navigational system display. The buttons are big, easy to discern and easy to operate. The instrument pod contains just a fuel gauge and water temperature gauge besides the speedometer and tachometer. All told it is a pleasant design, but not as exotic as Jaguars of the past.
Sumptuous leather is used on the surfaces of all seats and door panels. The steering wheel is made in a combination of matching wood and leather and feels good. A well-designed toggle on the left side of the steering column quickly, easily and precisely controls the power tilt and telescopic adjustments for the steering wheel. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, with a nice firm seat bottom that minimizes fatigue on long trips.
With its sensuous looks, Jaguar's S-Type makes a statement when it rolls onto the scene. It combines that with a luxurious, crafted interior in understated British fashion. The S-Type cars are effortless to drive with a relaxed, refined ride. They offer cutting-edge technology that's relevant and free of gadgetry.
Some information for this review was obtained from NewCarTestDrive.com
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