Episode 243. Jaguar S-type. W187 BNA. (Part 5).

 So then, with the eleventh month of the year already over, you may be wondering what my month of motoring in the Jaguar S-type was like? Well, it was good, actually, it was very very good, I am still questioning my sanity in selling it! In my month of owning it I took the odometer from 83491 miles to 84580 miles, which means, if my fat fingers have punched the numbers into my Texas Instruments TI-30 correctly I have covered 1089 miles! Covering those miles cost me £195.00 in petroleum spirit, which equates to 223.26 litres if you're reading this from mainland Europe, or in proper measurements 49.11 UK Gallons! This means that I was averaging a fairly respectable 22.17 mpg!! Not bad for a big old comfy wafty Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaag!

I thought that I had found myself a buyer in one of my friends, however, he decided, or maybe his wife decided that the big lovely Jag was not the car for him, so onto fleabay it went. However with a couple of days left on the auction I headed out for the daily drive to take my two little Monsters to school for what would turn out to be our last drive in the Jaguar because, there it goes!!
Chatting with my friend after we'd dropped our kids off at school it turned out that he'd been keeping a close eye on the auction, and decided much to his wifes horror that he was going to make me an offer on it that was close enough to what I paid for it. In the hope that I would end the auction early, and let him take it home with him. In an ideal worled I would've hung out and waited until the auction ended, because it was looking like I was going to possibly do well on it, but in light of how you can get messed around on fleabay, and as my friend was waving the cash in my face, I decided to let it go! The fella who bought it is the same fella who had the Omega from me, however, sadly he no longer has the Omega, but he does now have a very cool Jaguar S-type, and I wish him all the best of luck with it. He might need all the luck he can find, his wife didn't look all that thrilled when we made the deal.

Now then, what can I tell you about my month of motoring in the Jag? Starting, as usual at the front, under the bonnet the Jaguar AJ30-V6 engine, which is actually really the Ford Duratec V6, also known as the Mondeo V6 is an aluminum DOHC V6 with a 60° bank angle which was originally introduced in 1993 in the Ford Mondeo. The primary engineering input came from Porsche, who were developing a similar V6 before selling the engineering to Ford, and Cosworth, who helped with cylinder head manufacturing. However the Jaguar version of the engine was developed slightly further than the engine that the Mundano uses, and has variable valve timing, much like the Mazda version.

But with 240 horsey power it never felt like it needed more power, and would happily throw the big cat at the horizon faster than anything I've ever owned before. Having said that it could also be very docile, refinned and silky smooth, as it quietly burbled about town, and effortlessly wafted along the motorway. When I bought this car I had in mind going to see my friend in Germany at Christmas, and to be honest I quite liked the idea of wafting effortlessly along the autobahns in it as I really believed that in this car it would soak up the miles with ease. However, as it looks like I'm not going to get to see my friend at Christmas, or any time soon I reckon. I figured that instead of keeping it a while longer, just for the ease, and comfort of driving it along the autobahn for nearly 800 miles, I'd have to let this beauty go, and perhaps try to get another one if and when the time comes again. I can honestly say that I believe that the AJ30-V6 engine or if you prefer the Ford Duratec V6 provides more than enough power for this car, and coupled to the automatic transmission it makes for a very calming, and relaxed drive. Unless of course you've turned off the traction control, and turned on the sport mode, then the cat's really out of the bag, and it turns from being a big wafty cruiser, into something that actually feels much smaller, and sportier, dare I even say more nimble? On a mildly moist, twisty road I think that this could become quite a handful for the inexperienced driver, as with the traction control off it does indeed want you to do your best impression of a drift king if you're pressing the loud pedal too ferociously! Just ask my friends wife who was bouncing about in the back seat while I was drifting it around a roundabout earlier, she was very impressed! Well, I felt that I had to show my friend what it was capeable of before he bought it didn't I?
Outside the retro styled bodywork was very pleasing on the eye, much like the Jaguar X-type which was also styled by Geoff Lawson in 1995 and also produced at Jaguar's Castle Bromwich facility in Birmingham, England. I have to admit that I do like how this looks, and I liked how the X-type looked as well, but for me the S-type looks far better, I can only hope that if Geoff Lawson is looking down at me from above he has forgiven me for not liking his X-type, because frankly his S-type is superb, Geoff... I salute you, with this beautiful car, you've nailed it!

The funny thing is that I'm not a fan of saloon type cars at all, I always think that they look a bit... Unfinished, to me it looks like the designers have always just chucked a box on the back for luggage and stuff, more as an after thought than anything else, for me one of the worst examples of this lack of imagination has to be the Ford Sierra Sapphire, if you look at the profile of the Sierra Hatch or even the estate, it's not a bad looking car, but look at the profile of the Sapphire, what the heck is going on there? That back end does not belong on that (or any other) car. This is pretty much how I feel about all saloon cars, but it has to be said that the S-type does not suffer from this. The S-type is quite a good looking car from all angles, and I'm not sure that there would be a lot you could do to it to improve it's looks... Maybe make a two-door coupé? Or possibly even an estate might be nice!

Inside I must admit my first impressions were that I didn't like the light coloured plastic wood. But during my month of enjoying the Jag my opinion of this has changed, I will still say that I would prefer a darker plastic wood, or perhaps even a plastic aluminium. But the more I look at the light plastic wood, the more I like it, and it suits the feel of the car very nicely. Somehow even though it is no doubt made from the same materials as the X-type interior was, it looks, and feels better, it feels of a higher quality!

The more I looked at the dash, the more I liked how it was all laid out. I liked the big handy drawer in the dashboard, and I put a few bits and bobs in there. The little drawer I figured was a cup holder or something, and as I have a strict no food or drink in the car rule, I never opened it. However when I was polishing the interior in order to take photos of it to put on ebay I must've pushed on that little drawer a little too hard, and it sprang open... To my surprise it wasn't a cup holder at all, it was a little drawer, and I sure was glad it opened...

Yup... That was a nice surprise! It was about £160, which doesn't cover the fuel really, but as it was an unexpected surprise it was very nice. I used it to take Mrs Clint, and out two little Monsters out for dinner at her favourite restuarant, The Coffee Club in Westbourne. I used to take her there years ago when it was just the two of us, and I've been meaning to take her back for ages, but never got around to it. So the finding of the money seemed like a good enough excuse for me. It's a lovely little place, inside on the walls there are murals inspired by Salvador Dali, which really encapsulate a warm welcoming mediterranean ambiance of the place. The food is superb, and it's always really busy inside, infact we went back there a coulpe of years ago, but couldn't get a table! It's a thirty odd mile drive from BelongaClint to the Coffee Club, but definately worth it, especially if you're driving a lovely big wafty Jaguar. It is a little pricey (compared to our normal eatery, the Harvester!) But the food is so much better, and you don't feel like you're being hearded around like cattle either. Actually, now I think about it, it wasn't that pricey at all, I forgot that my Brother came too, so I didn't just pay for our normal two adults and two infants, it was three adults and two infants, and a bottle of wine! Anyway, if you're in the area, and can get a table you should check it out, it's always been fantastic whenever I've been there, but as ever I feel I'm wondering away from the point, so back to the Jag...

Inside the cockpit the seats were heated, powered, and remembered where you like to put them. They felt very comfortable, however being made from dead cow they were more than a little chilly on a cold winter morning, but they soon warmed up. I never felt uncomfortable in them, no matter if I drove my two little Monsters to school, or to our secret hideout in Wales. I reckon you could drive around in this car all day long in comfort!

In the back, according to my two little Monsters it was the same story, very comfortable, and with plenty of space! Although it has to be said, that like the dashboards light plastic wood, I would've preferred black dead cow rather than grey dead cow, but when you're driving this thing the colour of the interior just bares no significance to how lovely it is to be both be inside, and to drive. So beggars can't be choosers I guess.

So then, would I have another one? It'll probably be of no surprise to most people that I almost certainly would, infact I've been semi-browsing for one, I quite fancy one in Green, with a dark interior, and as they're really quite cheap at the moment, now seems like a good time to pick one up. I can only see them appreciating in value, probably in the not too distant future too as more and more people realise just how good these cars are. What I really can't work out is why the X-type, which is nowhere near as good as the S-type sells for more second hand? The X-type was far cheaper to buy when they were new, but the second hand prices of the X-type are far higher than the prices of the S-type, and the S-type is so much more of a car in every way. It's so much more Jaguar-ish, it's more refined, it's just... It's just superb! In comparison to the S-type the X-type is the country backwards cousin! I honestly don't get why it sells for more than the S-type! However for those of us who have had the chance to experience a S-type we really do get a bargain of a car for the money these days, and I have felt well and truly rewarded every time I have driven it!

Lastly, when I had the X-type, the thing the pee'd me off more than anything was this, the thing I disliked about my time with it the most was not actually anything to do with the car its self, but more about every armchair motoring experts view of it (and the amount of them who felt they needed to tell me their views!), y'know the one, It's just an old Mondeo mate innit? Well, ok let's get this out of the way here and now. The Jaguar X-type is based on a modified Ford CD132 floorpan as used on the Mondeo, and the multi link rear suspension is also from the Mondeo estate. Also the engine in mine was based on the Ford Duratorq ZSD unit as used in the Mondeo and Transit, and of course some of the switch gear is straight out of the Ford parts bin. But as I said before, what's wrong with that, I don't believe for a second that Jaguar was trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear. It was just trying to build their car cheaper, and from an economical standpoint raiding the parent companys parts bin makes good sense, and anyway less than 20% of the X-type is shared with the Mondeo. I could understand their arguments if there were no difference between the X-type and the Mondeo, but the fact is they look different, sound different, have completely different dynamics and a totally different ambience. A bit like the Audi A4 and VW Passat, which are also based on a common floorpan, but nobody comments about that do they? I think that Jermey Clarkson once summed up the X-type quite well when he said, "Underneath the X-type is actually a Ford Mondeo, but don't let that put you off. Genetically you are 98% Identical to a Halibut, but it's the two percent that makes the difference. And it's the same story in here, look at all this wood, and leather, and equipment, it feels very Jaguarish." Well done Jezza, you nailed it!

Well the S-type also has plenty of Ford in it, as I've already said mine has the Mondeo 3.0 Duratec V6 engine, and make no mistake inside there is no doubt no end of parts raided from the Ford parts bin too, including switches, and of course the ignition key which looks for all the world like its come straight out of a Ford Scorpio. Not only that, but hiding under the beautiful Geoff Lawson designed bodywork lurks the Ford DEW platform which is Ford Motor Company's midsized rear-wheel drive automobile platform which originally showed up in the late nineties under the Lincoln LS sedan. It was also under the 2002- 2005 Ford Thunderbird, and is still being used under the Jaguar XF! But not once has any armchair motoring enthusiast, or for that matter, anyone else say to me, yeah, but it's not a real Jag, it's just an old Lincoln mate innit.

Which is just as well, because I would've told them, no mate, it's a Jaguar, which to be honest, is what I should've said when I had my X-type. But the reason for the comparrison between the S-type and the Lincoln, and Thunderbird doesn't get made here is no doubt that we don't get them here, which is a bit of a shame in my mind. I wonder if this comparisson gets made in Americaland? However, as we do of course get the Mundano, it's easier for any armchair motoring enthusiast to make that comparisson whether they've owned and experienced a Mondeo, and an X-type themselves or not.

Of course I'm now wondering if it is indeed time to revisist the Jaguar X-type, and give it another good looking at, perhaps a saloon this time, with a petrol engine under the bonnet and all wheel drive. I'll let you know if and when I get one. So stay tuned, it's bound to happen sooner or later!