The Car Connection Jaguar S-TYPE Overview
Developed during Ford's tenure as Jaguar's owner, and consequently built with parts from both Jaguar and Ford, the 2000-2008 run of the S-TYPE was marred by issues with reliability, particularly in the powertrain, and with its rather unfortunate exterior design. Nonetheless, the S-TYPE won some fans for Jaguar, and even helped point the way forward for the brand, presaging the much-improved XF that replaced it in some ways.
Over its production run, the Jaguar S-TYPE featured several different powertrains, including a 2.5-liter V-6, a 3.0-liter V-6, a 4.0-liter V-8 (later enlarged to 4.2 liters), and a 4.2-liter supercharged V-8. While the less powerful variants of the S-TYPE were positioned as mainstream mid-sized luxury sedans, the supercharged V-8 version, called the S-TYPE R, was positioned to take on the world's best sport sedans, including the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG. Despite the S-TYPE R's 396-horsepower output and rapid acceleration, its overall performance and desirability lagged behind its German counterparts, and today is rarely mentioned in the same breath.
Transmissions available in the S-Type varied over time, with a choice of five-speed manual or five-speed automatic at launch. Later, a six-speed J-gate transmission was made available, allowing for fully-automatic use, or clutchless manual shifting. While the S-TYPE as a whole was never highly influential on the industry, Jaguar's pioneering of the J-gate transmission influenced many other carmakers over the years.
The cabin of the S-TYPE was the primary focal point for upgrades over the car's run, and it was the area most in need of those upgrades. The S-TYPE's level of design and luxury was never considered to be truly worthy of the Jaguar badge, coming off as cheaper and less aesthetically pleasing than suited the brand, despite ample use of leather and wood trim. Even after the updates in 2005, cheap switchgear and dowdy design continued to hold the S-TYPE back from true luxury status.
The Jaguar S-TYPE was discontinued in 2008 after poor sales and a need for an updated platform and new design throughout became abundantly evident upon Jaguar's sale to its new owner, Tata Motors.