Jaguar’s midlevel sedan gets a full redesign for the 2005 model year. Changes to the S-Type are considered subtle yet comprehensive, resulting in what Jaguar calls a “cleaner, leaner, more muscular look.” External revisions include a crisper front end and “bolder, more athletic rear proportions.”
Detroit’s 2004 North American International Auto Show saw the first appearance of the 2005 S-Type. Aluminum is used for the new hood, and according to Jaguar, panel fits are considerably tighter. Jaguar made the S-Type more rigid for diesel-engine applications in Europe, and the American version benefits from that process.
For the first time on the S-Type, the interior can be trimmed with a high-tech aluminum fascia rather than with traditional wood trim. Aluminum is available with the supercharged S-Type R and the Sport Package.
Positioned between the compact X-Type and the full-size XJ, the S-Type went on sale in May 2004. Three versions are available, and all have distinct engines: a 3.0-liter V-6, a 4.2-liter V-8 or a supercharged V-8 for the S-Type R. An automatic is the sole transmission; the manual-gearbox option for V-6 models has been dropped. A luxury VDP model has been added for 2005. The S-Type competes against the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS 300/GS 430 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The S-Type’s new grille is lower than before, and it sits more upright. Displaying a new round Jaguar badge, it incorporates slimmer vertical chrome vanes, as well as horizontal vanes.
The new aluminum hood has been reshaped, and the front bumper has a simpler appearance. The rear fender, bumper and trunk lip have been raised. Round taillamps help display what Jaguar calls a “more technical look” and “more presence.”
Mesh inserts are fitted in place of fog lamps in the S-Type R to allow air to reach the car’s twin oil coolers. The R edition also features a sporty mesh-patterned grille, a trunk spoiler and twin tailpipes.
The suspension has been modified to include retuned dampers and low-friction ball joints. The S-Type R gets Jaguar’s Computer Active Technology Suspension, which uses adjustable dampers. The available Sport Package for non-supercharged sedans includes an upgraded suspension and brakes. Five types of alloy wheels are available, and 17-inch tires are newly standard on the 3.0 model. Optional xenon headlights have automatic self-leveling.
Like its predecessor, five occupants fit inside the redesigned S-Type, and the driver faces chronograph-style dials. The sedan may have heated power front seats with a memory feature, dual-zone climate control and an electrically adjustable steering column. Satellite navigation, adjustable pedals and rain-sensing wipers are optional. Front Park Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control are also among the options, but all S-Type sedans have Reverse Park Assist. The new electric parking brake features an incline sensor.
Under the Hood
Three distinct engines are available for the S-Type. The 3.0-liter V-6 produces 235 horsepower and 216 pounds-feet of torque, versus 294 hp and 303 pounds-feet of torque for the 4.2-liter V-8. The V-8 in the S-Type R is supercharged and yields 390 hp and 399 pounds-feet of torque; that’s sufficient to yield a 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of 5.3 seconds. All three versions use a ZF six-speed-automatic transmission. Traction control is standard.
In addition to side-impact and side curtain-type airbags, the S-Type features Jaguar’s Adaptive Restraint Technology System. Antilock brakes include Emergency Brake Assist, and Dynamic Stability Control is standard.
Road behavior is especially appealing in the S-Type R, but all models deliver a refined motoring experience. Acceleration with the R’s supercharged engine is smooth and easy, sending the sedan to passing speeds promptly and effortlessly.
Body lean in curves is barely noticeable. The S-Type R stays as flat as any reasonable sedan owner could want. Ride quality beats many performance sedans, but stiffness can be noticed when passing over some holes and bumps. On slightly wavy pavement, the ride is smooth. Some tire noise is apparent on certain road surfaces. The seats are snugly bolstered and highly supportive, though cushioning in the S-Type R seems a tad below par for truly soft comfort.