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From what I can tell, the baby of the family leads a charmed life. I wouldn't know from first-hand experience, of course, since I'm the eldest of my particular brood. I have all the proof I need, however, in the guise of my own ten-year-old, who has managed to absorb more sass and wiles from her older sisters than both of those two exhibit on their own.
So it was apropos last month when the "Bug," as she's known, and I were tooling around in a 2001 version of Jaguar's comely S-Type. This is the famed "Baby Jag" which debuted with much fanfare as a 2000 model. Alongside her own older sisters, Jaguar's XJ sedans and XK coupes, the S-Type is a flirt and a tease. She's the one whose unusual styling pays cheeky homage to the great Jaguar performance "saloon" of the '60s—the 3.8 S-Type sedan with its famed straight-six. Not everyone cottons to the S-Type's flamboyant appearance, with its broad hips, pert fanny, and bounding, buxom sweep from hood to grille. Still, this car never fails to turn a bystander's head. What a showboat.
As the first all-new Jaguar of the 21st century, the S-Type incorporates some amazing technologies. Since it's no secret that Ford Motor Company is now Jaguar's parent, it should come as no surprise that under the hood of the S-Type I tested was a Ford-derived "Duratec" V-6. Fundamentally, this is the same 3.0-liter twin-cam motor that powers the Ford Taurus. (An optional 4.0-liter V-8, making 281 horsepower, is similar to one powering Lincoln's LS sport sedan.)
Jaguar's version of this V-6 incorporates certain exclusive refinements. Variable cam phasing and a new intake manifold are perhaps chiefly responsible for the S-Type's abundant output of 240 horsepower. It's the "drive-by-wire" electronic throttle, however, that welcomes this S-Type into the space age. Acceleration response is instantaneous, crisp, effortless—as befits a throttle system that replaces mechanical cables with mere pulses of electrons.