Jaguar's premium mid-sized sports saloon – the S-TYPE – has further developed. Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2004 and on sale from April, the design has been extensively re-worked and refined to achieve a more athletic, contemporary look, with cleaner, tauter, more muscular lines and subtly modified proportions. The use of lightweight aluminium rather than steel for the bonnet gives improved weight distribution and handling balance. The revised shape also brings tighter panel fits and enhanced performance. Transformed by subtle and sophisticated changes, the S-TYPE retains its highly individual look and remains true to the Jaguar brand.
The new S-TYPE also introduces a significantly improved interior, adding to the feel of contemporary luxury. A redesigned instrument pack emphasises the S-TYPE's sporty character as well as presenting more information more clearly, and there is now a greater choice of colour and trim options. S-TYPE Sport and S-TYPE R models now have as standard a sporty aluminium facia finish. This style was made famous in Jaguar sports cars, such as the 1961 E-TYPE, but this is the first time that S-TYPE customers have been able to choose an interior without wood trim. Like the exterior, the new interior sees further improvements in material and build quality. Sporting luxury is the key-note here, in a cabin infused with Jaguar quality, from the cleverly engineered, driver-orientated ergonomics to the satisfying feel of the controls and trim. The new S-TYPE also offers an even broader catalogue of comfort and convenience features, from new wheel styles to advanced cruise control and parking aid options.
The range of petrol engines and transmissions is unchanged, but will be extended by the addition of an all-new diesel option in the middle of 2004. Petrol engine choices begin with Jaguar's refined and efficient all-aluminium 2.5 and 3.0 litre V6s and also include both naturally aspirated and supercharged versions of the 4.2 litre V8 – the most powerful series production engine Jaguar has ever made. It is a range that offers everything, from the efficiency of the 2.5 litre V6, with its class-leading 201bhp (DIN) power output, 29.6mpg combined economy and low 229g/km CO2 rating, to the 155mph (and just 5.3sec from 0-60mph) performance of the supercharged 400bhp (DIN) S-TYPE R. Both versions of the 4.2 V8 are combined with Jaguar's six-speed ZF automatic transmission as standard. Both V6s are available with either the six-speed automatic or a five-speed Getrag manual gearbox.
The new S-TYPE enhances Jaguar's reputation for sporting character in a luxury saloon car. In 2002 the S-TYPE gained all-new front suspension and extensively revised rear suspension. The refined and sporty layout continues into the new S-TYPE, with a modified suspension including low friction ball joints and re-tuned dampers, providing improved ride and dynamics. Across the range the new S-TYPE features Servotronic variable-ratio power steering, powerful brakes with ABS anti-lock and Emergency Brake Assist, traction control and Dynamic Stability Control, all as standard equipment.
With the same underpinnings as its immediate predecessor, the new S-TYPE continues to deliver the outstandingly supple ride, taut body control and agile handling that are defining characteristics of Jaguar's sporting chassis dynamics. Sports suspension with uprated springs and dampers is available as an option, as are 18-inch alloy wheels on all versions of the new S-TYPE.
"The suspension revisions to the new S-TYPE are subtle but significant making the car even more refined and comfortable. The steering is very connected, linear and positive. The driving dynamics overall are a combination of stability and sporting agility, which makes the S-TYPE very satisfying to drive." Mike Cross, Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity, Jaguar Cars.
The S-TYPE introduced the Electronic Parking Brake – an industry first in the executive segment – and that is now standard across all of the new S-TYPE range. Jaguar's acclaimed Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS), with electronically adjustable dampers for maximum control and comfort, is standard on the R model and optional on others.
A comprehensive armoury of safety features, from a strong bodyshell, through Electronic Traction Control and Dynamic Stability Control, to Jaguar's innovative Adaptive Restraint Technology System (A.R.T.S.) is standard across the range. The new S-TYPE's Category 1 Thatcham-approved security systems, including items such as automatic drive-away locking, are equally comprehensive. Together, the new S-TYPE's safety and security features ensure very competitive insurance groupings.
The new S-TYPE holds further attractions for the rational buyer who expects strong value even from a luxury marque. From entry level to the top of the range, the Jaguar S-TYPE offers competitive pricing, in spite of richer standard feature specifications and extensive use of advanced technologies. It has competitive CO2 ratings, with the accompanying tax advantages for company car users, and strong residual values, making it attractive to user-chooser company car drivers who appreciate low whole-life costs as well as style. But crucially, while making so many gains, the new S-TYPE retains its unique and powerful Jaguar personality – a combination of bold, distinctive styling, sporting dynamics, outstanding comfort and refinement, and unrivalled emotional resonance. So the most captivating S-TYPE ever is also the most complete.