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June 5, 2007 > Jaguar S-Type R model

Jaguar S-Type R model

How do I start to describe the 2007 Jaguar S-TYPE with the R engine? How about a hot rod with an interior of English leather and walnut burl? This car produces a huge amount of WOW factor.

Jaguar has three 4-door sedans (or saloons if you prefer the English term) in its model line-up. The X-TYPE is the smaller, entry level one with the XJ as the large one. The S-TYPE sits right in the middle and, like the old nursery rhyme, "It's not too big or too small, it's just right."

The exterior design of this 4-door saloon is very English. It is easy to see the design of many earlier Jaguar saloons in its flowing lines. It is a very pretty car.

There are 3 S-TYPES offered, each with a different engine. The S-TYPE 3.0 comes with a 3.0-liter V-6 engine (235 HP) and starts at $49,000. The S-TYPE 4.2 is next, starting at $56,000 and uses a 4.2-liter V-8 that produces 300HP.

Then comes my new favorite hot rod, the S-TYPE R. It uses the same 4.2-liter V-8, but the Jaguar engineers mounted an Eaton Roots type supercharger on top of it. The supercharger is basically a fan-like device that blows more air into the engine (via an intercooler). Because more air goes in, engineers can program the fuel system to put more gas in too. This raises the power output by 33% to 400 HP (and 413 foot pounds of torque). A 400 HP, tire smoking, 4-door saloon from Jaguar is fun to drive. The R starts at $64,000.

All three S-TYPES share a 6-speed automatic transmission, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), aluminum suspension bits, traction control, parking radar, moon roof, leather seats, walnut burl interior trim, dual zone climate control, ABS, and other features. Besides the larger engine, the 4.2 gets a premium Alpine sound system, a DVD-based navigation system, and Bluetooth wireless technology. The R gets more neat trinkets: performance brakes, a performance-tuned suspension, and an electronic system that measures your driving style and changes the shock absorbers settings on the fly to improve stability and handling.

And how does the R type handle? Better than any big saloon is supposed to handle. Much better. Jaguar's line is "It combines the comfort and refinement of a luxury car with the handling, stability, response and driver involvement of a sports car," and they hit the nail on the head. It would smoothly cruise down the freeways with just the right amount of road feel. If you want to play on a twisty, hilly road, turn off the DSC and go for it. The R will go exactly where you point it, smoothly and confidently. It does corner and brake like a sports car.

Ask the engine room for more power, and you get it NOW! You can spin the 19 inch rear tires if you want to (but Mr. Jaguar, we didn't do that often). Its 0 to 60 time is 5.3 seconds. Between the power and handling, this must be one of the quickest 4-door saloons in the world.

The EPA numbers for the S-TYPES vary from 19/28 for the 3.0 to 17/23 for the R. If you use the supercharger as it was intended to be used, the fuel mileage drops off radically. Jaguars come with a 4-year, 50,000 warranty and roadside assistance program. 12 months of scheduled maintenance is also included at no extra cost.

The S-TYPE R is a great driver's car. It is beautiful to behold and performs like a rocket ship. If you are looking for performance and luxury, you must include this one in your short list of cars.

By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists

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