The 2008 model year will be the last for the S-Type, as Jaguar plans to replace it with the XF in 2009. Jaguar left most of the S-Type unchanged for 2008, choosing just to tweak a few exterior features and leave the drivetrains alone.
Positioned between the company's compact X-Type and full-size XJ in size and price, the S-Type comes in three versions with distinct engines: a 3.0-liter V-6, a 4.2-liter V-8 and a supercharged V-8 for the S-Type R.
Jaguar's 4.2-liter V-8 turns out 300 horsepower, while the supercharged R delivers 400 hp. Like other Jaguar models, the S-Type gets a chrome mesh grille. A Conti-Teves foundation braking system promises improved stopping distance and pedal feel. Bluetooth wireless technology is available.
The major changes for 2008 are to the S-Type's exterior. The 3.0 and 4.2 versions now share the S-Type R's front bumper. All S-Types now ride on wheels that are an inch larger than before, at 18 and 19 inches.
Displaying a round Jaguar badge, the grille incorporates horizontal vanes and slim vertical chrome vanes. Round taillamps help display what Jaguar calls a "more technical look [and] more presence."
Mesh inserts are fitted in place of fog lamps in the S-Type R to allow air to reach the car's twin oil coolers. The R edition also features a trunk spoiler, twin tailpipes and Jaguar's Enhanced Computer Active Technology Suspension, which uses adjustable dampers. The R models feature standard xenon headlights with automatic self-leveling.
Both the 3.0 and 4.2 versions of the S-Type get leather-trimmed seating and burl walnut veneers in the cabin. For 2008, 3.0 and 4.2 versions have a Satin Edition that features mahogany veneers, a leather steering wheel and shift knob, and limited exterior colors.
Five occupants fit inside all S-Types, and the driver faces chronograph-style dials. Dual-zone climate control and an electrically adjustable steering column are standard. Satellite navigation and Front Park Assist are optional, while rain-sensing wipers and Reverse Park Control are standard. Adaptive cruise control is available as a stand-alone option on the S-Type R or as part of a luxury package. The electric parking brake features an incline sensor. Adjustable pedals were standard in 2007 models but have been dropped for 2008.
Under the Hood
Jaguar's 3.0-liter V-6 produces 235 hp, and the 4.2-liter V-8 generates 300 hp. The supercharged V-8 in the S-Type yields 400 hp. All three versions use a ZF six-speed automatic transmission. Traction control is standard.
In addition to side-impact and side curtain airbags, the S-Type features Jaguar's Adaptive Restraint Technology System. Antilock brakes include emergency brake assist, and Dynamic Stability Control is standard.
Road behavior is especially appealing in the S-Type R, but all models deliver a refined motoring experience. Acceleration with the R's supercharged engine is smooth and easy, sending the sedan to passing speeds promptly and effortlessly.
Body lean in curves is barely noticeable. The S-Type R stays as flat as any reasonable sedan owner could want. Ride quality beats many performance sedans, though stiffness can be noticed when passing over some holes and bumps. On slightly wavy pavement, the ride is smooth. Some tire noise is apparent on certain road surfaces. The seats are snugly bolstered and highly supportive, though cushioning in the S-Type R seems a tad below par.