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REVIEW: 2003 Jaguar S Type

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Tue, Feb 10, 2004

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


By JOHN GRAFMAN This is one of those phenomena that only occurs once I start driving one myself. I begin to notice far more Jaguar S-Types in LA and Orange County than I ever thought possible.

Some might wonder why so many are fond of this motorized feline? Well, you don't need to be on anyone's best-dressed list to appreciate the looks of the S-Type. Who couldn’t fall in love with such a shape that transcends beauty as defined by the eyes? Seriously, as you run your hands over the flowing form of the body, the curvaceous sensuality can be understood by touch as well as by sight. Our 4.2-liter, 294-horsepower, eight cylinder Jaguar is definitely fast on its feet. An audible purr from this power plant gives way to a deeper growl once pushed. It both sounds and leaps so well, it is hard keeping your foot from burying the gas pedal.

So the car has the looks and the power, but is this really is a Jaguar or is it a Ford in feline clothing? The answer is, it doesn't matter much anymore except to true hardcore Jaguar fanatics. The true question that is worth answering is the one I put forward: Is the S-Type with the V8 a car with purpose or just another poser? There is no denying the attractive appearance of the S-Type has only grown on me even more with time. The credentials of the 4.2 motor are nothing to snivel about either.

Certainly the cabin is a well-crafted interior with pleasing forms - particularly in the door panels. All of the materials feel as though they belong, except for the shroud on the center console and the center console itself. Both feel like some slippery plastic rubber compound that is just out of step with the rest of the interior materials. The overall layout is quite decent, and the Birdseye maple wood accents are the cat's meow. The standard features range from leather seats with ten-way power adjustment for the driver and eight-way for the passenger, to automatic dual-zone climate controls. This Jaguar is chock full of goodies that include electrically adjustable pedals, and a memory system for the driver’s seat, exterior mirrors, steering column and pedals. Interior luxury accommodations are very much what one expects in this level of an automobile. On tough scrutiny, the total package doesn't come across as substantially as the jungle cat of yore. Modern interpretations of classics can come at a price. Nonetheless, this car is one of the few automobiles that is a lovable kitty in spite of a little nasty behavior. Before long, I did feel a certain lust for the S-Type. The truth be told, I was actually looking for any excuse to get behind the wheel - no chore or errand was too small or insignificant.

Yet, there is the flip side to temper my lust. The sloppy steering seems so far out of place that I actually pulled off the road to check the tires! The tires were not the problem. All the S-Type’s power means little without road manners. I am hoping the odd behavior was an anomaly afflicting just this particular press car. Over time, it became more and more obvious that the Jaguar S-Type has a couple of noticeable character flaws. So, I struggled with the ultimate battle of good and evil. Can I live with these flaws in such a nice automobile? Well, could I deal with Cindy Crawford given that small mole on her face? Let me put it like this, I would sure as heck try! For more information on Jaguar please visit

SPECIFICATIONS Price: $ 52,295 as tested Engine type: 4.2 liter DOHC 32 valve V8 Horsepower: 294 hp @ 6,000 RPM Torque: 303 lb-ft @ 4,100 RPM Drive configuration: Front engine/rear-wheel drive Transmission type: ZF’s 6HP26 six-speed automatic Front suspension: Independent forged aluminum double wishbone design with unequal length, upper and lower wishbones. Spring over shock spring/damper assembly, 32mm anti-roll bar. Rear suspension: Independent double wishbone design. Coil spring coaxial with damper. Spring over shock spring/damper assembly, 18mm anti-roll bar. Wheels and tires: Front: 17 x 7.5-inch alloy “Kronos” 235/50 R 17 Rear: 17 x 7.5-inch alloy “Kronos” 235/50 R 17 Brakes: Front: Electronically controlled 4-channel anti-lock brake system with Electronic Stability Braking System (ESBS) and Electronic Parking Brake (EPB). Rear: 330x28mm Electronically controlled 4-channel anti-lock brake system with Electronic Stability Braking System (ESBS) and Electronic Parking Brake (EPB). Overall length: 192.0” Overall width: 71.6” Overall height: 56” Curb weight (lbs.): 3,874 EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 17/26 mpg 0-60 mph: 6.2

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