Jaguar introduced the S-TYPE sedan last year, borrowing traditional styling cues from its past and contemporary mechanical components from parent company Ford. The results have been gratifying: The S-TYPE is Jaguars best-selling model in the United States, where sales have jumped about 33 percent in 2000.
Shorter and less expensive than the XJ Series, the S-TYPE will soon occupy the middle rung of a three-step sedan ladder in Jaguars lineup. A smaller sedan called the X-TYPE will debut during the 2002 model year to compete with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The S-TYPE sedan receives no major changes for its second season, and Jaguar will not confirm if or when a rumored station wagon will arrive. Reverse parking control is a new standard feature on all models. Sensors in the rear bumper detect when the car is close to hitting another object and gives audible warnings. A digital cellular phone is available as a new factory- or dealer-installed option, and all Jaguars now come with free scheduled maintenance for the life of the warranty: four years/50,000 miles.
The rear-drive S-TYPE is built from the same basic architecture as the Lincoln LS but wears classic Jaguar styling that masks their kinship. A heavily sculptured hood with a leaping cat ornament, a vertical bar grille and four round headlights gives the four-door S-TYPE a classic Jaguar face. The profile and rear styling also capture traditional Jaguar cues with a dose of contemporary lines.
The S-TYPE shares its 114.5-inch wheelbase with the Lincoln LS; the S-TYPE is a few inches shorter overall at 191 inches and is 6 inches shorter than Jaguars XJ8 sedan.
V-6 models come with five-spoke alloy wheels, and V-8 models get new 10-spoke alloys.
The five-passenger S-TYPE is trimmed with the same rich leather upholstery and warm wood accents as other Jaguars, traditional touches for this British company.
It also comes with some high-tech hardware, including optional voice-activated controls to tune the radio, set the temperature or dial a phone number an auto industry first. Simple voice commands such as temperature 68 degrees activate unseen digital servants that cater to your desires. An in-dash, satellite-based navigation system also is available.
Under the Hood
The base engine in the S-TYPE is the same 3.0-liter V-6 engine found in the Lincoln LS, but Jaguar supplies its own cylinder head, intake manifold and other hardware to boost horsepower from 210 to 240. The S-TYPE uses a different V-8 than Lincoln a 4.0-liter Jaguar engine, also used in the XJ Series sedans and XK8 sports car, with 281 horsepower. Both engines team with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Side-impact airbags for the front seats, a lateral-skid control system, traction control and antilock brakes are standard. An optional Sport Package includes the Computer Active Technology Suspension, which adjusts the suspension to firm or soft settings based on how the car is driven.