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Jaguar S-Type

Jaguar S-Type Published: 12th Apr 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Trying to emulate an icon rarely succeeds. Ford never could replace the Cortina 1600E and, when it owned Jaguar, the Blue Oval tried to rekindle memories of the E-type with the XK8 and the Mk2 saloon with the S-Type with even less success.

However, it’s wrong to imply that this 50 year old rebodied American Lincoln is not without some merit. It’s never going to become a classic like the Mk2 or even its 60’s namesake but as a good, modern upmarket neo classic/ viable daily driver that can be bought for pennies, the S-Type takes some beating and it’s certainly a better bet than the Mondeo-based X-Type.

Dates to remember

1998 Introduced as new entry Jaguar saloon sales started in January ’99. Based upon a US Lincoln platform; still RWD and with Jaguar 3-litre V6 and 4-litre 240bhp V8 engines. Trim is standard, or the more popular SE.

2002 Substantial facelift sees new suspension infastructure. V6 upped to 235bhp and V8 boosted to 4.2-litres, twinned with new six-speed automatic. Supercharged 400bhp S-Type R introduced and all models gain revised interior and trim and an electronic handbrake.

2004 Entry-level 2.5-litre V6 joins range boasting 201bhp. Mild facelift; refreshed look, 2.7 V6 diesel range. 2005/6 New trim designations such as S, XS, Sport and Sport 200, Plus, Luxury etc.

Buying advice

There’s been six recalls, many electronic and quite serious such as handbrake applying by itself and autos have minds of their own; see they have been attended to. Unlike the X-Type, corrosion should only be an issue with early S-Types; any signs of it and the car has almost certainly been pranged and badly repaired.

There are plenty of other potential problems though (which is why a service history is desirable) such as the spectre of an automatic gearbox failing after just 60,000 miles; even when healthy the changes between ratios can be very jerky.

The boot seals can fail, leading to water getting into the luggage bay when it rains or you wash the car. This then wreaks havoc with the electrics because the battery is located in the boot. There are numerous other electrical problems to contend with, such as failed electric windows, faulty alarm systems, inoperative powered seat mechanisms and central locking that doesn’t work.

All V8s built before 2000 can suffer from worn cylinder bores, which is a major problem as they’re coated in Nikasil. It’s rare, but once it has eroded, the engine can self-destruct, although it’ll usually run badly beforehand so you get some warning, such as poor starting if the car has been left standing for long periods (loss of compression). Specialists have a procedure to check the engine’s health; listen for undue ‘chuffiing’. The only cure is a new short engine – there’s plenty of good used ones around. V6s can burn out coil packs. The bonnet’s safety catch can corrode, leading to it seizing in the ‘open’ position so, there’s a chance it may fly open once you speed off!

What makes this classic so special to drive and own?

Based upon a middling Thunderbird floorpan, it’s no reborn Mk2 being more a cruiser than an enthusiast’s car although the supercharged S-Type R is a serious piece of kit and can be likened to a modern ‘Coombes’. Standard V8s are smooth and torquey although the brace of V6s are pretty accomplished too – think twice about a diesel due to future legislation. The facelifted 2002 cars drive much better than the originals, thanks to their revised suspension and better quality and really highlight how the S-Type should have been from the outset.



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