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Jaguar S Type

Is it your type? Published: 23rd Dec 2013 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!
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Jaguar S Type
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Good question and the answer is probably not, even though it was launched some 15 years ago. To be fair, some – like the sensational S-type R – must be considered a modern classic, but the mainstream models aren’t and won’t be for quite a few years. But what this modern take on the Mk2 provides is dirt cheap classical car motoring as well as a viable daily driver.

IS THE ‘NEW’ S-TYPE REALLY A CLASSIC?

Good question and the answer is probably not, even though it was launched some 15 years ago. To be fair, some – like the sensational S-type R – must be considered a modern classic, but the mainstream models aren’t and won’t be for quite a few years. But what this modern take on the Mk2 provides is dirt cheap classical car motoring as well as a viable daily driver.

HOW CHEAP?

Under a grand if you look hard enough and are not concerned that it may be a V6 model with a cloth interior. Otherwise, stretch the budget to £2000 where there’s a good amount of V6 and V8s with the essential SE trim. There are diesels from 2004 and £4500 will secure one on the forecourts and less than £3000 at auctions. Apart from the R, £9000 will buy one of the last models in top condition. The real scalded cat, the S-type R, is only fractionally higher priced and values span from £2400 (trade) for an ‘02 car, to just under 10 grand for a 2007 version lurking on a main dealer forecourt.

OK, SO HOW GOOD?

Well, that’s the crunch. The S-type was based upon an American Lincoln platform (Ford owned Jaguar, remember) and while the engineers did a good job, it wasn’t the BMW-beater Ford hoped the car would be. A massive (there’s no other word for it) revamp in 2002 turned the car into what it should have been from the outset and are the buys to have; to drive they are like chalk and cheese and later S-Types are real Jags.

SO WHAT ARE THE BEST S-TYPE BUYS?

As a daily driver, then the 2.7-litre diesel (also fi tted to the Range Rover Sport) is the most sensible. It’s lusty although suffers from a narrow torque band. The V6s are Mondeo-based, most are 3-litres but a 2.5 arrived in 2002 – the latter is that bit quicker with as much power as the E-type’s XK engine and no worse on fuel either. The 4-litre V8 (4.2 for 2002) kicks out 281bhp and will take the saloon to almost 150mph – the Type R derivative boasts 400bhp! If you want a manual then you’ll have to have a V6 (although most of these were fi ve-speed autos), the V8 got six-speeds when it gained that 4.2 XK8 engine. Trim-wise ,all are good – much improved after March 2004 – but mid-range and Sport derivatives are most desired.

WHAT GOES WRONG?

Enough! It’s mostly mechanical as bodily S-types weather quite well unless abused so just do the usual checks although take a closer look around the bonnet, bulkead, rear arches, sills and bonnets, as the latter have been known to fl y open due to rusted-up safety catches. Apart from failing coil packs, splitting coolant header tanks and a bit of oil weepage top end, the V6 was always fairly reliable – but the V8s suffered fi rst from abnormal bore wear (prior to number 000818-1043) leading to loss of compression (a special test is devised to check for this) and then the unit’s failing timing gear, costing between £1000-£2000 to rectify. Electrics appear to be the biggest issue starting with leaking boot seals which allow rain water and car washes to fl ood the boot and get to the battery and electronics contained within! Autoboxes (Ford and ZF types) are known to play up and check everything works, as electric seats, window lifters, central locking, alarms go AWOL as do pre-2002 air cons. Oh, batteries can fl atten if you don’t use the car once a week… Trim suffers usual Jaguar failing of lacking stamina. Go to http://www.jag-lovers.org for info.

WORTH BUYING?

Apart from the Type R, look at the S-type for daily smoking rather than classic potential. And buy the best you can as there are some shabby cats out there that will cost more than their worth to make them purr again.


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