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ONE HIP CAT

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 Sun, May 1, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

ONE HIP CAT

By Contributing Editor REED BERRY

One of my friends referred to this car as a "really fancy Ford" but we must give credit where credit is due...it's a Jaguar. Everyone loves the legendary performance and styling of Jaguar. In fact, when Hollywood was looking for a unique vehicle for the classic film "Harold & Maude", they picked a Jaguar. In "A Fish Called Wanda", you'll see yet another Jag. And who can forget the "Shaguar" in the Austin Powers movies? Well, I'm no international man of mystery like Austin Powers, but I feel quite sporty motoring along the streets of Santa Monica in a 2005 Jaguar S-Type VDP Edition.

The VDP Edition is the luxury version of the Jaguar S-Type, and luxurious it is. The soft leather trimmed seats are quite comfortable and the contrasting piping adds a colorful touch of class. You'll want to allow a little extra time to make sure you are positioned correctly because the VDP Edition has a 16-way power driver's seat. Wow, I didn't even know there were sixteen ways to adjust a seat, so I've already learned something new. I've also learned that drivers are apparently more important to Jaguar than passengers, as this car only has a 12-way power passenger seat (and I plan to continue reminding my passengers of this to give myself a feeling of superiority). Both front seats are heated with two settings for your comfort and a dual-zone climate control keeps the interior at just the right temperature.

A 294 horsepower V8 engine provides plenty of power, taking you from zero to sixty in just over six seconds. If you plan to relax and enjoy the drive, take advantage of the six speed automatic transmission but if you're feeling a little sporty and desire quicker acceleration, you may also grab the walnut gearshift knob and shift the car manually. The ride is smooth and the car handles and corners beautifully thanks to Dynamic Stability Control and Speed Sensitive Steering.

Being stuck in traffic now creates a new problem...which CD should I listen to next? The S-Type comes standard with an Alpine 320-watt audio system with a single disc slot in the dash, plus a hidden 6-disc changer. Great sound quality from an outstanding system provides a needed escape from the stress normally associated with creeping along L.A. area freeways. Instead of thinking about how long it will take me to get to my off-ramp, I'm enjoying a CD recorded live at a Jimmy Buffett concert in Hawaii. After that maybe I'll listen to Moby or some classic Barry Manilow or Billy Joel. I used to dread unplanned delays but in the Jag, a traffic jam seems more like a pleasant respite.

As for safety and security Jaguar seems to have all the bases covered. Vehicle occupants are well protected thanks to an energy absorbent seat system and an assortment of airbags, including driver and passenger front and side airbags and side curtain airbags for the front and rear. Rear child seat tethers and anchors will keep younger passengers safe and secure. There's even an anti-theft engine immobilizer to keep your vehicle from falling into the wrong hands!

Jaguar's attention to detail is apparent throughout the car. From beautiful hand-polished walnut veneer dash and door trims to an electric rear sunblind, auto-leveling xenon headlamps and plush footwell rugs, it seems like they have thought of everything. Or have they? I have already been attacked by the driver's door - it's quite heavy and has a tendency to swing back if not pushed open far enough. I also found myself using the door to pull myself up and out of the car, as the seats are a little low for my personal taste.

Overall, I am highly impressed by the S-Type VDP Edition. And after spending a week in a sporty new Jaguar, I must admit that I do feel a little like Austin Powers. Yeah, baby!

Find out more at www.jaguar.com

SPECIFICATIONS

Price:$55,295 MSRP

Engine type:4.2 liter V8, aluminum alloy cylinder head/block, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder

Horsepower:294 @ 6000 rpm

Torque:303 @ 4100 rpm

Drive configuration:Front engine, rear-wheel drive

Transmission type:6-speed electronic automatic.

Suspension:Front : Independent forged aluminum double wishbone design, spring over shock spring/damper assembly, 32 mm anti-roll bar. Rear: Independent double wishbone design, coil spring coaxial with damper, 18 mm anti-roll bar.

Wheels and tires: 17 x 7.5 in. alloy, 235/50 R17 AuroraTires

Brakes: Front: 11.8 x 1.2 in. ventilated discs, fixed aluminum calipersRear: 11.3 x 0.8 in. ventilated discs, fixed aluminum calipers

Overall length: 193 in.Overall width: 81.1 in. (with mirrors) Overall height: 56.0 in.Curb weight (lbs.): 3,826 lbs.

EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 18/28

0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds

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