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~ ~ I dropped into the local Jag dealer recently to have a look at the new X-Type that has just been launched here in Ireland. Disappointment for the mad cabbie; none in stock. (all sold!!) But never having been known as a fella to waste an opportunity, I instead got my hands on another little sporty number that was sitting on the forecourt, the revised model S-Type Sports.
~ ~ This new sports model from the British manufacturer Jaguar made its first public appearance at the Bologna Motor Show in Italy in December, 2000. This is the car that Jaguar (now a Ford-owned subsidiary) hope will endear them to the more youthful buyer, and manage to lure them away from competitors such as BMW and Audi.
~ ~ The S-Type Sports was the model in this range that the Jaguar designers really went to town on. At first glance, the first change that really strikes you is the now totally chrome-free body that serves to give this car a much “beefier” road presence and a far more menacing appearance. It comes in a choice of five exterior finishes, with the bumper inserts, the number plate mountings, and the grille surround now all colour-coded. A unique bonnet badge and a striking set of 18-inch, seven spoke BBS alloy wheels highlight even more its sporty characteristics.
~ ~ But while the new S-Type Sports is unquestionably lovely to look at, it is the modifications by the Jaguar engineers that have really rung the changes in this model. There are two engine choices. The 3.0-litre V6 (240 bhp) or the 4.0-litre V8 (281 bhp). Both have been tuned so as to deliver power rather than torque, with the car really coming into its own at the top end of the rev scale. The smaller-engined 3.0-litre V6 comes with a manual gearbox, and hits the 60 mph mark in less than seven seconds, going on to a top speed of 146 mph. The 4.0-litre V8 comes with an automatic box, and has a 0 to 60 mph time of only 6.6 seconds, and will carry you to a top speed of over 150 mph. However, it has to be said that Jaguar have done nothing to radically modify the engines or to reduce the car’s overall weight, with the unsatisfactory end result that the S-Type Sports is actually no faster than the standard versions of this car.
~ ~ There have been some dramatic suspension modifications however, that set the Sport apart from the rest of the range. The new suspension system is called CATS (Computer Activated Technology Suspension), and is fitted as standard on the 4.0-litre. This really stiffens up the ride, and practically eliminates any body roll on corners at high speed, while at the same time the actual ride quality has suffered very little as a result. The new “speed proportional” power steering system is also a huge improvement on the standard models, and gives much more feel and feedback to the driver. The car sits very snugly on the road on its grippy tyres, but the brakes could have been improved upon, as they tend to lack both power and feel for a performance car. It is possible to drive the car very “energetically” however, and it really eats up the road when pushed, and allows you to attack corners with gusto.
~ ~ The interior also has been modified somewhat. The seats have been given added support, but the rear seating is barely adequate for two fully-grown adults, and the boot space is very small and limited. The front seating is very comfortable however, with 8-way electrically adjustable leather seats and an adjustable leather steering wheel. Full climate control adds to the comfort. A new and very attractive dark maple wood finish has been added in the cabin, that was first used on the XKR Silverstone, and which enhances the sporty theme beautifully. It’s only a pity that this effect is spoiled a little by the over generous use of cheap looking “mud grey” plastic on both the centre console and the dashboard, which overall has a rather cluttered and confusing layout.
~ ~ One last little crib. If Jaguar really intended the S-Type Sports to appeal to the younger car buyer, then they really should have fitted a good quality sound system and CD autochanger as standard, rather than as optional extras. Prices in the UK start at £30,900 for the 3.0-litre, rising to £38,400 for the 4.0-litre Auto. While Jaguar maintain that the modifications to this car represent good value, I personally feel that it’s a bit on the expensive side for its young target audience. I think that if I was in the market for this style of car I would be inclined to wait and buy an X-Type that has an entry level price of around the £22,000 mark for the 2.5-litre V6. Once they get another X-Type in stock, then I’ll put it through its paces, and see how the two models compare.
Good info in your review, but I personaly dont like this car, to me it is not a real Jag..... bits of Mk II shapes woven into this new design etc . Give me the old proper stuff ( warts and all ! ) any day ..... best wishes.... Terry.
Soho_Black 14.03.2004 15:13
I'd argue with you on the "lovely to look at" bit, as this isn't a car that calls me on its' looks, even though I'm in the bracket they're aiming it at!
Oliy 21.07.2001 21:31
Glad you mentioned the X-type - its an S-type from behind and an XJ8 from the front! But also a lot smaller than either.
Good criticism, it's so hard to enthuse about cars like this and forget about the bad points!
Seen the F-type? Wow!