SEE ALSO: Jaguar Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 48,610 Price As Tested $ 55,495 Engine Type DOHC 32-valve 4.0 Liter V8 w/SMFI* Engine Size 244 cid/3996 cc Horsepower 281 @ 6100 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 287 @ 4300 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 114.5"/71.6"/191.3" Transmission Five-speed automatic with Normal/sport modes Curb Weight 3793 pounds Fuel Capacity 18.4 gallons Tires (F/R) 225/55HR-16 all-season Brakes (F/R) Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS) Drive Train Front-engine/rear-wheel-drive Vehicle Type Five-passenger/four-door Domestic Content N/A Coefficient of Drag (Cd.) 0.32 PERFORMANCE EPA Economy, miles per gallon city/highway/average 17/23/21 0-60 MPH 7.0 seconds 1/4 (E.T.) 15.5 seconds @ 91.0 mph Top speed 150 mph * Sequential multi-port fuel injection
(Bob Hagin had experiences with Jaguars many years ago and still bears the scars to prove it. Matt Hagin hopes he never has those kinds of encounters with the latest versions.)
BOB - Before you were born, Matt, I had to work on several Jaguar sedans and after that I swore I'd never have anything to do with them again. I still have a two-inch scar on my arm as a reminder. But I have to admit that the original small Jag sedan was fast and handled well. It came out in '56 and it stayed pretty much the same until '67. In its final form it had the same 4.2 liter straight six as the Jag E-Type roadster, but with a few less ponies. It had independent suspension on both ends and could cruise for hours across Nevada at 100 MPH.
MATT - For its new S-Type sedan, Jaguar is capitalizing a lot on the mystique of the Jaguar name and on the perceived reputation of that old MK II that bit you. In the ensuing years, Jaguar fell on hard times, as did the entire British auto industry, and came close to disappearing like so many other British marques. But in '89, Ford, with its pockets filled with greenbacks, rode to the rescue and bought Jaguar lock, stock and barrel. And in spite of our collective misgivings, Ford has turned Jaguar around and developed its products into high quality and reliable vehicles that are still Jaguars. Ford put Jaguar into its Premium Vehicle collection alongside Volvo, Lincoln and Aston Martin.
BOB - This newest Jaguar is a four-door, 3700-pound sedan that's really more of a luxury car than its ancestor was. It shares a basic platform and running gear with the new Lincoln LS, but the bodywork is considerably different. The grill is reminiscent of the one on the '67 Jag Mark II and being molded into the contours of the front fenders, the headlights add to the "retro" look of the car. It's on a slightly longer wheelbase than the old Mark II but not by much. The interior is much more spacious than you'd expect in a car that's designed to be on the sporting side, and it's actually got more hip room in it that its XJ big-car siblings in the Jag lineup. The back seat is extremely comfortable for two, but whoever has to ride in the middle back there for a long trip is going to feel it the next day. The Jaguar S-Type sedan is better left as a four-seater.
MATT - The powerplant of choice for the S-Type is the 281 horsepower 4.0 liter V8 that's a work of art and is used in several other Ford products. It's all-aluminum and utilizes four camshafts, two on each head and they actuate four valves per cylinder. The intake valves use a constantly variable valve timing system that increases the torque rating at low engine speeds, but advances the cam timing as the revs go higher for more horsepower. I was surprised to find that the camshafts are chain-driven rather than by the fiberglass-reinforced Gillmer belts that are common on lots of modern cars. Chains have the advantage of not having to be replaced every 60,000 miles.
BOB - There's a companion V6 engine that's built along the same lines, but it only displaces 3.0 liters. Both engines button up to a smooth five-speed automatic transmission and power is delivered to the rear wheels, just as all Jags have since the name first appeared in '35. The suspension in back is independent, which is something of an anomaly in rear-drive Ford products. The S-Type handles very well, mainly due in part to its weight distribution of 52 percent in front and 48 percent in the rear. Our car had the added advantage of being equipped with a sports package, which allows the driver to "tighten" the suspension. It also has both traction control for slippery conditions and a stability control device that applies "corrective" braking to individual wheels to straighten things out if the driver gets into a turn too hot.
MATT - The S-Type is produced at the Ford plant in Birmingham, England and the company is planning to build over 80,000 of them in the next few years. There'll be plenty of them around and maybe you could get back in the Jaguar repair business, Dad.
BOB - I'll pass on that Matt. I'm still waiting for the scars to heal from the last time I worked on one.