Last post on May 08, 2012 at 6:26 PM
You are in the Jaguar S-Type
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Jaguar S-Type, Sedan
#752 of 1064 S-Type R test drive
Dec 06, 2004 (7:53 am)
Well – I went to my local Jaguar dealer on Saturday. I asked to drive an S-Type 4.2 Sport. No such animal on their lot. So – the General Sales Manager offered his S-Type R for a drive.
(Oh, please don’t throw me in THAT briar patch!)
OK. I drove it. For about 20 minutes. On winding back country roads, briefly on the Interstate and through the local Mall area.
I want one.
I currently drive a 2003 Lincoln LS Sport. My recommendation to any LS V8 owners looking to “step up” when the time comes to make a change should NOT drive this car, unless they are ready to spend the money.
Those who have read my posts (here and elsewhere) over the years my have noticed that I typically test drive a variety of cars – even when I am not seriously in the market.
This car affected my as no other has in recent memory. And it was not only the intoxicating acceleration of close to 400 HP.
The car: 2005 S-Type R – Metallic BRG (emerald?) called Jaguar Racing Green over Champagne. Optional Nav. List price ~ $61.5K Approx. 3,000 miles.
I have driven a couple of S-Types and XJs. I rented an S-Type for a long weekend in 2001 while I owned my Y2K LS V8 Sport. It was a 4.0 V8 Sport and a nice car. Not worth any premium over my LS at the time, to me, but I enjoyed driving it from Phoenix to and around Tucson and up Mt. Lemon.
This R is a different breed of Cat.
The motor is absolutely intoxicating. Jaguar got it right here. There is just the right amount of sound at around town speeds and in light to moderate acceleration to confirm that this is a sporting vehicle. When you request real acceleration, it is smooth and very, very powerful. Effortless. Wow.
This 6 speed trans. is a joy. I am on record as driving my LS in SST mode nearly all the time, and manumatic shift control is something I have enjoyed now on 3 consecutive cars (2 LSs) and expected never to be able to give up. This trans. has made me re-think that position.
The motor and trans. work together extremely well. The shifts at WOT and high rpm are very quick, but not harsh. At lower speeds and smaller throttle openings, the shifts are rather intriguing. Watching the tach and listening to the exhaust, there is a pause and then a drop in rpm, almost like a relatively casual manual shift, but with absolutely no hint of any interruption in the acceleration. Smooth. A very well sorted and calibrated drivetrain. Most impressive. How did they do this?
I played with the J gate – found it still unsatisfying, as expected. But this drivetrain’s extraordinary coordination allowed me to leave the trans. in D and enjoy the rest of the drive. It did the best job by far (I left it in Sport mode) of any car I have driven in shifting at appropriate times – and not shifting when I would not have. Outstanding. I want one.
In checking rpm at highway speed I was surprised to see that at a steady 60 it showed approx. 2000 rpm. Based on my reading (see links below) I expected 1600 rpm. Does anyone know if Sport Mode delays or de-activated TCC lockup?
The ride was a very pleasant surprise. In driving both S-Types and XJs I have not been as impressed as some others have been. The S-Type R has very aggressive rubber, with 35 series rear tires only 10 MM narrower than on the rear of a new Corvette. (275/35ZR18 Continental Conti Sports on the rear of this particular example.) I was absolutely amazed by the smooth, well controlled ride. No harshness anywhere except when I drove over the speed bumps at a local Mall perimeter road. And these are extreme speed bumps. Otherwise, it was better than I expected and very, very pleasant.
The handling was what I expected. I certainly did not stress the chassis or approach the cornering limits in my drive, nor do I in my typical public street driving. It went where pointed, at speeds sufficient to be interesting, with no drama and enjoyable precision. The steering feel is excellent. In a brief run up to over 80 mph on the highway, it was stable and smooth. This is a very competent and confidence inspiring chassis. This is no Town Car (I had one again as a loaner recently) - and this is a good thing.
The interior was quite comfortable for me. The driver’s seat is quite comfortable and supportive. Seat heater worked well – I would miss my cooled seats, but . . . If I decided to buy one like this with the Nav system, I would investigate the effect of the Nav install on the various controls for such things as climate control and radio, as I have seen some rather annoying ergonomic effects in other vehicles when the big Nav screen is added. But I just had the sales lady set the HVAC and I turned off the radio for the drive. And I still do not see $2K+ worth of value in any Nav system, for me. Only oddity I noticed was the adjustable center front armrest has only 2 postions – and is not as easy to set as in my LS. The gauges are clear and straightforward. In observing the tach as mentioned above, the needle shows a unique movement pattern - almost like an old mechanically driven tach. (See opening sequences of Grand Prix.)
I set the moonroof in full vent as soon as I started the car, as that is how I almost always drive my cars. Not a hint of wind noise or buffeting at any speed up to over 85 mph. Sweating the details pays off here.
Issues: Price. Now, I have driven 2 new Caddy STSs – a 1SE and a 1SF (aside from equipment levels, the primary performance related differences between these 2 are larger brakes, LSD and a significantly and noticeably more aggressive final drive ratio in the 1SF) – and the most comparable STS to this S-Type R would be the 1SG with the QAF Performance Handling Package at even a slightly higher MSRP. And even though the STS drives quite well indeed, if I were buying a car in this price range today, it would be the Jag. Full stop. No contest. I even found the S-Type to have slightly more leg room in the rear (sitting behind where I set the driver’s seat) than the STS, though the STS may have a bit more headroom. And, I also find it interesting that most other competitive sedans (from my viewpoint) (Audi RS6 – if it were still available, M5, MB E55) are priced over $70K.
Motor / Trans.
Looks / Styling
No cooled seats
Price . . .
Wow. Did I mention that I want one?
Now, realistically, I would need to make some significant “lifestyle changes” to buy one of these Cats, even assuming a significant end-of-year discount. (Edmunds shows a “Marketing Support” MFR to Dealer incentive right now of $7,500 for a 2004 S-Type R.) So I am guessing that at about this time next year (assuming no drastic changes to our US economy), an ‘05 without Nav could be purchased for somewhere in the v. high $40s to v. low $50s. Hmmm . . .
But most telling is probably that this is the only sedan I have driven in 10 years that makes me even t
#754 of 1064 Re: S-Type R test drive [rayainsw]
Dec 10, 2004 (5:34 pm)
Well, Ray, once again you've generated a very useful treatise.
Being a "buy & hold" kind of car person, I'm keeping my manual LS for the forseeable future. You, on the other hand, move around a bit and give us lucid descriptions of why. Thank you.
However, if I ever choose to spend the kind of money the S-R costs (which is highly unlikely), I would really, really (really) expect it to continue providing the kind of performance you so eloquently describe for well in excess of 100K miles.
. . .without multiple "free" (but enormously time-consuming & intrusive) visits to the dealer to remedy warranty "issues."
. . .without huge expense for mission-critical hardware repair, after the warranty runs out. I'm more willing than most to do without extraneous crap that packs up (in fact, I usually don't want it in the first place), but have a lot of trouble tolerating engine or (especially) transmission problems, or anything else that renders the vehicle dead beside the road, or extremely uncomfortable (windows that fall down in cold and/or rainy weather, for example).
That said, keep the posts in the various boards coming. I can continue my Elmer Fudd approach to car ownership while living vicariously through you.
#755 of 1064 Re: Reliability S-Type R test drive [cdnpinhead]
Dec 13, 2004 (4:42 am)
"I would really, really (really) expect it to continue providing the kind of performance you so eloquently describe for well in excess of 100K miles. " - cdnpinhead
I share the concern about reliability.
1 – I have confirmed that the Jag dealer does, in fact, provide a loaner for all service as long as the vehicle is under warrantee. Lost time / inconvenience is an issue for me.
2 – The quality of Jaguars appears to be improving. This link indicates that Jaguar certainly is expending significant time and effort and $$s in the persuit of quality. Although quality does not necessarily equate to (long term) reliabilioty – Jaguar certainly seems headed in the right direction. . .
Potential Jag owner . . .
#756 of 1064 Re: Buy & hold . . .S-Type R test drive [cdnpinhead]
Dec 13, 2004 (4:46 am)
"Being a "buy & hold" kind of car person"
If I did buy any car this expensive, I would likely become one.
WELL aware of what frequent change costs . . .
#757 of 1064 S-Type R - for the day
Dec 17, 2004 (6:32 am)
My dealer insisted (?) that I take his S-Type R - 3,400 mile 'demo' - for a day.
(See my review from a couple of weeks ago - 20 minute drive of this same car.)
Input on what I should be watching for / should not miss = welcome.
Resistance (may be) futile . . .
#758 of 1064 used s type
Dec 29, 2004 (2:13 am)
I am interested in buying a used s type which has run less than 30.000 miles. Appreciate it very much if any one could advice whether its worth buying an s type or not. These reviews has really scared me.....Any idea about the s types from 2003 & up.?? Thank you for your time. drchef
#759 of 1064 Jaguar S-Type
Feb 19, 2005 (2:03 am)