- Classy styling is dated, but timeless
- Perky performance compared to rival models
- Great steering and sharp handling, especially in the Type R
- Tight interior, especially in back
- Materials inside feel drab and conservative
- Small trunk
The 2008 Jaguar S-Type may look conservative and dated, and its interior is cramped, but it still delivers some of the best performance in its class, especially in one of the V-8 trims.
The 2008 Jaguar S-Type is the British brand's mid-size sedan, with a design that still stands out in its class but dates nearly 10 years. Less than a year before the 2008 Jaguar S-Type is replaced by the 2009 Jaguar XF (which arrives at dealerships in early spring of 2008), it gets a very subtle makeover and some upgraded features.
Jaguar says all S-Types for the 2008 model year wear an updated front end. The look keeps the elegant grille and quad-oval headlamps, but incorporates the 2008 Jaguar S-Type R's bumper on all models, along with its mesh grille. A range of new wheels give the S-Type more flair, starting with 17-inchers and working up to 19-inchers on the R version.
The S-Type's interior hasn't aged quite as gracefully as the exterior; its dashboard design uses materials that look conservative and somewhat dull by today's standards. The seating of the 2008 Jaguar S-Type also feels rather low and tight for all occupants, with the wide center console occupying much of the space in front. Also, the backseat lacks both legroom and headroom; it's not large enough for most adults. In addition, trunk space is disappointingly small, likely due to the tapered trunk line, although there's a ski pass-through.
Base S-Types come standard, as before, with a 235-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 engine, and either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. A 300-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 is the step-up option, available only with the automatic, and the high-performance R model continues with a supercharged version of the 4.2-liter V-8 delivering 400 horsepower. The R also gets the six-speed automatic transmission, upgraded Brembo four-wheel disc brakes, 18-inch rims (with 19-inch rims available), and Jaguar's Computer Active Technology Suspension system. All 2008 Jaguar S-Type models have rear-wheel drive.
Each of the S-Type models offer satisfying performance, but the S-Type R has an attractive mix of elegant, under-the-radar looks and jaw-dropping performance. One of the S-Type's strengths is its well-tuned suspension, which manages to soak up most bumps and rough surfaces expertly, yet stay reasonably tight to enable responsive handling, with a surprisingly good, communicative steering feel. The interior is generally quiet. However, with the sporty 2008 Jaguar S-Type R's stiffer suspension, there's a fair amount of road noise.
For 2008, the S-Type gets new seats, a leather steering wheel is standard, and satin-mahogany wood trim is optional across the lineup. Rear Park Assist is also among the standard features. Options on the 2008 Jaguar S-Type include electrically adjustable pedals, Front Park Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Alert.
All 2008 Jaguar S-Type models have standard front side and side-curtain airbags, as well as electronic stability control. The S-Type has been tested by the federal government in side-impact protection only, where it received a mix of four- and five-star scores.