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Jaguar S-Type (New)

Jaguar S-Type (New) Published: 29th Jan 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Looked upon as the Mk2 reborn the 1990’s S-Type make great daily drivers

IS THE ‘NEW’ JAGUAR S-TYPE A CLASSIC?

A difficult one this as there are so many around since the launch almost 20 years ago. Apart from the sensational S-Type R sports saloon, there’s little classic credentials in the range as of yet although they are excellent value and a fine daily driver – if you buy a good one, that is.

IS IT REALLY A YANK TANK UNDERNEATH?

Afraid so. As Jaguar had nothing new in the locker, parent Ford saddled Browns Lane with an American Lincoln platform, albeit heavily revised by Jaguar, and told the engineers to get on with it. Similarly, the S-Type was powered by up-gunned Ford Mondeo V6 power units but at least it had the option of Jag’s own V8, first seen in the XK8 and XJ 300 saloon a couple of years earlier.

DRIVES LIKE A JAG?

Yes and no. The S-Type justifiably wears a Jag badge although the original models fell somewhat short of the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class. Having said that, a good one performs well enough with fun rearwheel drive handling and decent performance from the V6 and V8 power units.

Best of all, they feel like a proper Jag to travel in with that sense of occasion and – at long last – the manual transmission cars possess a great gear change!

WHAT ARE THE BEST BUYS OUT THERE?

If you can, opt for a 2002 revamp as they are like chalk and cheese being immensely superior in all departments, but particularly the handling thanks to a heavily revised front suspension.

These later S-Types also brought forth a wider engine range, such as a sweet and surprisingly swift smaller 2.5 V6 and, at the other end of the scale, the 400bhp S-Type R.

Generally, the later the car, the better the S-Type became and last of the line models are very pleasing performance cars while economy is good across the range although watch the VED charges on post-2005 registration cars as the V8s will cost £505 to keep street legal!

At launch there was just the Base (cloth trim) and SE trims but this was bolstered by the de-chromed Sport, Spirit and XS. If you prefer to cog-swap yourself bear in mind that all V8s, even the R, are automatics only but with that special ‘J-gate’ selector design, it’s almost like using a manual.

SO WHAT MODEL WOULD YOU GO FOR?

Without question it’s the post 2002 cars unless you find an earlier model that’s either especially good or particularly dirt cheap as they show what the S-Type should have been from the outset – not just dynamically but quality-wise, too. The V6s have more than adequate with their pace and okay on fuel but if the latter is especially important then the 2.7TD (as also used in the Range Rover Sport) is the one to have, despite its rather narrow power band. However, there’s one S-type that’s already a modern classic…

THE S-TYPE R, RIGHT?

You’ve got it! Despite being an auto only, this 400bhp sports saloon is the modern ‘Coombs Mk2’ personified. The S-Type R looks great, goes like stink, handles delightfully and you can buy one for as little as five grand and it’s hard to think of a modern classic that deserves the title better. Perhaps it’s not as rounded as a BMW M5 but there’s little in it and the Coventry car is rarer, classier.

SO HOW MUCH SHOULD I SPLASH OUT ON ONE?

Good ten year old cars can be had for around £2000 on the forecourts and around £1500 in the classifieds and auctions, while the originals, first introduced in 1998, can sell for banger money. Dealer price guide Glass’s Guide lists the R from £5300 (54-plate) to just under seven eight for a (57 reg) which represents outstanding value, especially as this variant has ‘future classic’ written all over it.

WHAT’S THE CATCH?

Not a lot really although be wary of really cheap cars as they may be mangy cats – the oldest ones are two decades old after all. Body rust can be an issue on old and neglected S-Types but chiefly the biggest concerns major on the electronics starting with leaky boot seals that allow rain water to creep in and flood the boot where the battery and a battery of electronics reside! Check that everything works: central locking, seats, window lifters as they can play up; the alarms in particular. Another item to watch for is the electronic handbrake which requires special tools.

Original cars not that well built and switchgear can play up on all cars but being Ford-based it’s one of the Jaguar’s easiest fixes.

WHAT ABOUT THE OILY BITS, ARE THEY OK?

Given that the S-Type is so cheap, it’s probably best to buy one from a dealer and ideally from a specialist (and many well known ones are now tackling modern Jags) offering the backing of a warranty as a disappointing catalogue of ailments are pretty well known. The diesel is pretty well trustworthy if serviced properly but a rough running under power may suggest that the dual mass flywheel has been replaced with a solid replacement. Oh, and if the diesel’s DPF (Dual Particulate Filter) is clogged it could mean a £1000 repair bill… On all, check the automatic gearbox (Ford and ZF designs according to engine) does what it ought to as they play up.

IS THE V8 CURED NOW?

If you are inferring to the V8’s bore wear then yes; problem cars have been fixed (prior to number 000818- 1043 if that’s of help) and there’s a special test specialists know of. You can’t have that luxury due to the tools needed but on start up listen for a ‘chuffing’ noise. The other fault was timing gear failure. It’s a £1000 fix using later, stronger 4.2-litre parts.

A FAIR BIT TO WATCH FOR, THEN?

Yes but that’s really the worst case scenario and the later the car, the better they became and also why you should be wary of cheap high mileage buys, especially the S-Type R because many will have been thrashed to an inch of their lives! One good spotcheck is to see what tyres are now fitted; if they are cheap rubber or an assortment then you can bet your life that the rest of the car has not had the care these cats demand to keep them purring contentedly.

I BEST KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR A GOOD ONE

Good idea because, as we said earlier, while not a classic (S-Type R excepted) S-Types make great neo classics to smoke around in as a daily while your ‘proper’ old school S-type or Mk2 is nice and warmly wrapped up over the winter. You’ll certainly appreciate the later car’s modern conveniences such as heated seats, air conditioning, ABS and traction control over the coming months…



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