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2003 Jaguar S-Type Mid-Size Sport Luxury Sedan

MSRP Range: $41,500 to $66,000

Invoice Range: $37,500 to $62,000
Price Quote

MSRP As Tested: $61,755

Versions: S-Type 3.0 V6, S-Type 4.2 V8, S-Type R

Vehicle Category: Luxury Sedan

Engine Location: Front Engine

Drive Wheels: Rear-Wheel Drive Rear-Wheel Drive

Engine As Tested: 3.0-liter, Dual Overhead Cam, V-6 cylinder, 235-horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 221 lb-ft torque at 4,100 rpm. Optional 4.2-liter, Dual Overhead Cam, V8, 294-horsepower at 6,000 rpm, 310 lb.-ft. torque at 4,100 rpm or 4.2 Dual Overhead Cam, Supercharged, V8, 390-horsepower at 6,100 rpm, 408 lb.-ft. torque at 3,500.

Transmission As Tested: 5-Speed Manual or optional 6-Speed Automatic.

Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 5-Speed Maual with 3.0-liter - 18/26. 6-Speed Automatic with 3.0-liter - 18/26. 6-Speed Automatic with 4.2-liter - 17/26. 6-Speed Automatic with Supercharged 4.2-liter - 16/24.

Standard Safety Features: Driver and front passenger, front, side and curtain side airbags, 4-wheel disc brakes, "> Antilock Braking System, Antiskid System, Rear Obstacle Detection System, Remote Keyless Entry.

Competition: Acura RL Large Sedan, Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Cadillac DeVille, Infiniti M45, Lexus GS 300, Lexus GS 430, Lexus LS 430, Lincoln LS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volvo S80

BARCELONA, Spain -- On the Costa Brava in north-eastern Spain, the A7 highway runs up from the Mediterranean coast at Barcelona into foothills of the snow-capped Pyrenees. Smooth pavement stretching across multiple lanes with alert drivers and relaxed speed limits combine to move sporadic traffic along at a lightning-fast pace.

Such ideal conditions allow one driver to push the throttle into the floorboard and unbridle the supercharged muscle contained in a new high performance edition of the mid-size Jaguar S-Type sport luxury sedan.

The S-Type R -- rolling on big 18-inch low-profile tires tied to giant Brembo brakes and packing a supercharged version of Jaguar's new 4.2-liter V8 plus a six-speed automatic transmission -- blasts up the A7 fast lane until the white needle on an analog speedometer marked in kilometers moves beyond the speedy mark of 230 kph (about 143 mph).

Yet it can do more, as the top speed, limited electronically, reaches to 250 kph (155 mph).

And it's so quick off the line, capable of ripping from a stoplight start to 60 mph in about five seconds.

Jaguar's big V8 engine -- displacing 4.2 liters off an aluminum block with 32 valves and four-cam configuration -- in the naturally aspirated version makes 300-hp at 6,000 rpm and 310 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm.

However, with an Eaton blower attached as well as dual air-to-water intercoolers, the supercharged R edition gushes to 400-hp at 6,100 rpm and pushes the torque out to 408 lb-ft at only 3,500 rpm.

All that torque translates through a sophisticated ZF six-speed electronic automatic transmission.

The transmission shift lever, rigged with Jaguar's venerable J-pattern gate for automatic and manual shifts, isolates various gear positions so you may shift it yourself without clutching, if desired.

Jaguar installs the new six-speed automatic in all three of the S-Type sedans, which include S-Type 3.0 V6, rated for 240-hp at 6,800 rpm, and S-Type 4.2 V8 with normal aspiration.

S-Type R caps the series in a slant toward high performance coupled to supreme luxury and stylish design.

Styling of all S-Type sedans remains exclusively -- and obviously -- rooted in Jaguar tradition.

What's in the name? It traces through Jaguar history to 1963 and the 3.8 S, which amounted to a luxurious performance version of the Mark 2 sedan. The S-Type of that era boasted of a powerful engine and advanced technology with an independent rear suspension, disc brakes and limited-slip differential, all rare components for an automobile at the time.

A refined interior of the original S-Type featured reclining bucket seats and lavish applications of leather and fine hardwood veneers.

The new incarnation of S-Type emerged from Jaguar's Castle Bromwich factory in Coventry, England, in 1999 as a 2000 model available with either a six-cylinder or eight-cylinder engine.

Current versions, expanding with the addition of the S-Type R and powertrain revisions for all, exhibit new styling lines on the outside and a variety of elegant enhancements in the passenger compartment designed to make these so-called saloon cars (the British term for a four-door sedan) more closely aligned to Jaguar's flagship XJ series of full-size saloons.

The sleek shell of S-Type sedans reveals characteristic hints of classic Jaguar lines from past models.

A bowed profile with roofline slinking to a low tail evokes images of the popular Mark 2 saloon car from the 1950s, while twin bulges over headlamps as defined in a sensuous sweep rearward across a long sloping hoodline may also be found more recently in past and current editions of Jaguar's XJ sedans.

And that unique prow with pairs of oval articulated headlamps flanking an unusual grille wrapped in chrome: It may bear the DNA of a Jaguar but looks aggressive and clearly provocative.

The S-Type R goes further by adding a bright-finish mesh inset in the grille as rimmed in the body color.

Also, there are xenon high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps aboard, plus a spoiler on the tail to ensure high-speed stability.

All S-Type sedans gain a new electronic parking brake tied to a console-mounted switch as replacement for a conventional handbrake lever. It engages automatically whenever the transmission is in park mode.

Accelerator and brake pedals may be moved fore or aft through electronic controls to improve fit for a driver's feet. The adjustable pedals, a standard feature for V8 versions of S-Type, link to memory settings also governing positions for the driver's seat, steering wheel and mirrors.

S-Type cars carry a four-wheel independent wishbone suspension in aluminum, with new front subframe and revised lateral and diagonal links to hone the ride quality and improve the car's agility. In the rear, the roll center has been elevated with softer spring rates applied to cushion riders.

S-Type R adds electronic controls that automatically vary suspension shock damping from soft to firm in order to maximize rider comfort, car handling and driver control.

Speed-sensitive variable-assist power rack and pinion steering and four-wheel disc brakes with computerized anti-lock controls and electronic brake distribution improve motion maneuvers for all S-Types. Also, a dynamic stability controller, which applies brake and throttle automatically to correct potentially dangerous yaw behavior, is in place.

More changes occur in the cabin.

New seats deliver increasing support through Classic, Sports and R bolstered performance buckets. The rear bench divides in a 60/40 split and sections fold independently.

On the full-width dash a new design features bird's eye maple veneer and a new center console houses an optional LCD screen seven inches wide. Touch the screen to control climate, audio and optional navigation system and a cellular telephone.

Jaguar's innovative voice-control system enables the driver to depress a toggle on the steering wheel, then speak a few key words to activate on-board tools like the climate controller, navigation system, stereo or hands-free phone.

Prices for S-Type sedans start at the S-Type 3.0 V6 with a five-speed manual Getrag gearbox for $42,495, including delivery fee, or the automatic ZF six-speed for $43,875. S-Type 4.2 V8 goes for $49,975, and the new performance-driven S-Type R caps the series at $62,400.


Where Built: England

Seating: 5

Number of Rows: 2

Crash Test Ratings:

  • NHTSA Frontal Impact/Driver Crash Test Rating: To Be Determined
  • NHTSA Frontal Impact/Passenger Crash Test Rating: *****
  • NHTSA Side Impact/Front Seat Crash Test Rating: *****
  • NHTSA Side Impact/Rear Seat Crash Test Rating: To Be Determined
  • NHTSA Rollover Resistance Rating: *****
  • IIHS Frontal Offset Crash Test: Untested

Length in Inches: 192.0

Warranties: 4 years/50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper, 6 years/unlimited miles corrosion, 4 years/50,000 miles free Roadside Assistance, 4 years/50,000 miles free Scheduled Maintenance.

Weight in Pounds: 3,777

Towing Capacity in Pounds: Not Applicable

Gas Tank Capacity in Gallons: 18.4

Destination Charge: $645