But it’s often overlooked by buyers who go no further than a BMW or Mercedes-Benz dealership. As a result, used prices look attractive: early entry-level 3.0 V6 models can be picked up for as little as £8,000.
Standard specification includes traction control, electrically adjustable front seats, heated electric mirrors, auto headlamps and a trip computer.
V6 SE and 4.0 V8 add leather seats with adjustment memory, front foglamps, cruise control and wood trim. Sport models (launched February 2001) have dechromed colour-coded body and grille, front fog lamps, 18-inch ‘Monaco’ alloy wheels, Dynamic stability control system (with CATS suspension on 4.0 V8), leather sports seats and grey veneer trim. Updated cars from 2001 have revised interiors, exterior changes and new lights; 2.5 V6 and 4.2 V8 models were also introduced.
More substantial revisions came in 2004, to coincide with the launch of the 2.7 twin-turbo diesel.
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
The rear-wheel-drive S-Type lives up to traditional Jaguar standards for ride and handling – it’s a capable sports saloon. It’s not quite as slick as the current 5-Series, but with a punchy engine line-up (even the entry-level 2.5 V6 impresses) and good ride and handling, most drivers find it great to drive. Sport and supercharged ‘R’ versions are stiffer and have better body control.
The driving position is excellent, giving a clear view of the road (although rearward visibility is a little restricted) and plenty of adjustment and cushioning in the driving position. Rear legroom could be better, but two can be seated in the back in comfort; five is a squeeze. Rear headroom is a bit tight for taller passengers.
S-type was originally available with 3.0 V6 (240bhp) and 4.0 V8 (281bhp) engines. Both are smooth and refined and well suited to S-type. With the newer 2.5, outputs range from a warm 201bhp up to a scorching 400bhp from theV8 in the S-type R. A twin-turbo 2.7-litre diesel was launched in 2004.
Although the S-type hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, it still has an impressive safety tally with six airbags, anti-whiplash seats, dynamic stability control, emergency brake assist.