With the previously mentioned Jaguar X-type I figured that I would stick it out for a while, in the hope that it would grow on me and I'd start to enjoy it the more I drove it, but sadly it never did, and this dissappointed me somewhat, even though as I said I wouldn't consider myself to be a Jaguar man, but due to all the previous hype that my Uncle, and to a lesser extent my Dad made about the Jaguars, even though I wasn't a big fan, I sort of have them on a bit of a pedastool in my mind! I kept thinking about my Jaguar experience with the X-type, and how dissappointed I was with it, and even while I was driving it, I couldn't believe that this was as good as it was going to get! Why wasn't it special? I kept thinking that there must be more to a Jaguar than the X-type delivered, and even while I still had the X-type as it was proving very difficult to sell so I had it a while! I was quietly hunting for a S-type. Stand by for another walk down Jaguar memory lane, and get ready for the obligatory petrol station photo...
I must admit it was with some trepidation that I went to collect the S-type, all I kept thinking was what if it's no better than the X-type... What if its worse, good Lord, what if it is worse?! I placed 83 Crisp new £10 notes into the sellers hands, the ink barely dry, and the keys to the S-type were dropped into mine. It was mine... All mine... All I could think was what have I done? Well, too late to back out now, no matter from here on in, it's part of of my back catalogue of cars. I opened the door, and dropped into the seat. So, first impressions? Yes, yes, YEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!! This is what I'm talking about, I've not even turned the key yet, and already it feels so much better than the X-type! This is how I imagined a Jaguar should feel! Right, turn the key, the engine fires straight up with a flick of the key in the ignition, and settles into a soft muffled V6 burble. Already I'm feeling so much better, I put it into 'DRIVE' and ease out onto the dark, cold, wet, and rainy Bristol streets! I've never really paid much attention to S-type Jaguars before, but it is bigger than I thought they were, and it feels noticeably bigger to drive than the X-type. I feel like its going to handle like a big ole barge, but it doesn't, it feels sharp, and crisp, almost point and squirt! Onto the M4 and it's pretty empty, I thought I'd just had a quick stab at the loud pedal, I stamp on it and bury the thing into the Axmister, the big cat leaps forward into action and I'm away, storming down the M4 accelerating to warp factor nine! Make no mistake, for a big executive cruiser this things got some serious get up and go! For over fifteen years now my gorgeous 1984 Ford Sierra XR4i has been the fastest car in my automotive back catalogue, but on the 27th October 2015, it's day in the sun was over, and it will now be regarded as the
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, oh the horror! 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'd ever owned before. Having said that it was also very docile, refinned and silky smooth, as it quietly burbled about town, and effortlessly wafted along the motorway. 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 really is 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 happen to be pressing the loud pedal too ferociously! Not that I'd ever do that you understand, I'm a gentleman!!
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 for that matter 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, WTF!! 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? Might be nice!
Inside I must admit my first impressions were that I didn't like the light coloured plastic wood. But during ownership of this S-type 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!
The seats, heated, powered, and remembered where you like to put them. They felt very comfortable, however being made from dead cow they were a little chilly on the colder mornings, but they soon warmed up. I never felt uncomfortable in them, no matter if I drove my little monsters to skool, or halfway across the country, I reckon you could drive around in this car all day in comfort!
In the back, according to my little monsters it was the same story, very comfortable, and with plenty of space! Infact if I was really trying to pick holes, the only gripe I would have with the seats is that much like the dashboards light plastic wood, I would've preferred black dead cow rather than grey dead cow, but beggars can't be choosers I guess!
So then, would I have another one? Yes I would, infact I've been semi-browsing for one, I quite fancy one in Green, with a dark interior, and also having had the V6, I'd really like to have a V8 in the next one for comparisson. I really think that now seems like a good time to pick one up as they're really quite cheap at the moment, almost bargain basement prices! I can only see them appreciating in value, probably in the not to 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. 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 the X-type is the S-types 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 not actually anything to do with the car it's 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 so it's 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 my X-type 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, whats 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.
Well my S-type as I've already said 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, including switches, and of course the ignition key which looks for all the world like its come straight out of a Ford Granada. But not only that, 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 did any armchair motoring enthusiast, or for that matter, anyone else say to me, yeah, but it's not a real Jag is it, 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!