Launched as a 2000 model, this British-built rear-drive sedan shares its 114.5-inch wheelbase with the similar Lincoln LS. In appearance, however, the S-TYPE is in a class by itself, led by one of the most distinctive front ends on the market. Sales took off in a hurry, making the S-TYPE the most popular Jaguar model in the American market though that role may soon be filled by the new X-TYPE, which is smaller and less expensive. Shorter and less costly than the long-lived XJ Series, the S-TYPE occupies the center spot in Jaguars luxury-car lineup.
The base 3.0-liter V-6 engine is also used in the Lincoln LS, but the S-TYPE version has Jaguar cylinder heads and 30 horsepower more at 240 hp. A 281-hp, 4.0-liter V-8 is also available.
A new S-TYPE Sport edition will be offered for 2002 and comes with either engine and features that include 17-inch low-profile tires, a Computer Active Technology Suspension, a perforated leather-trimmed interior and bolstered sport seats. Voice-activated control of radio station and temperature selection is available and capable of dialing the optional digital cellular phone. Simple voice commands such as temperature 72 degrees set the automatic system in operation. All Jaguars come with free scheduled maintenance for the warranty period, which is four years or 50,000 miles.
To create the S-TYPE, Jaguar blended traditional styling cues from the British companys heritage with modern mechanical components from Ford, its parent company. Though the S-TYPE is built from the basic architecture of Lincolns LS, the kinship is masked by classic Jaguar design elements, including a heavily sculptured hood with a leaping cat ornament, a slim oval vertical-bar grille and four round headlights. In profile and at the rear end, Jaguar cues are also mixed with contemporary lines.
Measuring 191.3 inches long overall, the S-TYPE is a few inches shorter than the Lincoln LS and 6.5 inches shorter than Jaguars XJ8 sedan. Five-spoke alloy wheels are used on V-6 models, while V-8 sedans get 10-spoke alloys.
Five occupants can luxuriate in the same rich leather upholstery and warm wood accents that are provided in Jaguars upper-end models, which carry a long tradition of interior elegance. Reverse parking control is standard. Sensors in the rear bumper detect when the car is getting close to an object at the rear and issue an audible warning. An in-dash, satellite-based navigation system is optional.
Under the Hood
Although the base engine is essentially the same as the 3.0-liter V-6 in the Lincoln LS, Jaguar supplies its own cylinder heads, intake manifold and other components. As a result, its output is 240 hp rather than the 210 hp offered by Lincoln. The available V-8 is entirely different from Lincolns engine offering a 281-hp 4.0-liter power plant that is also installed in Jaguars XJ Series sedans and the XK8 sports car. Both engines mate with a five-speed-automatic transmission.
Traction control, antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard. An optional Sport Package includes a Computer Active Technology Suspension, which adjusts to firm or soft settings according to how the car is driven.