What's New for 2001
The S-Type gets new 10-spoke alloy wheels for 2001, along with exterior color options Onyx White and Roman Bronze. The folks at Jaguar have decided to move the six-disc CD changer from the glovebox to the trunk. ISOFIX is added to the rear for securing child seats and Reverse Park Control now comes standard. An electronically controlled, speed-proportional power steering system is new this year and the software for the Voice Activation Control system has been upgraded. A Deluxe Communications Package featuring a Motorola Timeport digital phone system is a new option.
The S-Type's exterior is the first clue that this is no XJ/XK knock-off. The quad headlights and small front grille give the sedan a classic look not seen on Jaguars for 30 years. Subtle character lines run down the otherwise smooth body, but some say the roofline and taillight section bear a resemblance to Ford's Taurus.
Inside, the S-Type is pure Jaguar in appearance, with acres of wood and leather covering every surface. However, much of the interior's componentry and switchgear is identical to that found in the less expensive Lincoln LS, which rides on the same platform. Despite its smaller exterior size, the S-Type boasts a longer wheelbase than Jaguar's XJ models and interior dimensions on par with its larger sedans. A standard split-folding rear seat further adds to this Jag's utility.
But the S-Type's interior has problems that go beyond the preponderance of Ford switchgear. The overall layout is functional but some serious flaws keep it from living up to what we'd expect from a $50,000 automobile. Items like the shallow and dull wood grain trim with ash pattern, the insultingly cheap plastic panel beneath the steering column, and a one-touch down window for no one but the driver leave us unimpressed.
Power for the S-Type comes from either Jaguar's 4.0-liter V8 or Ford's 3.0-liter Duratec V6. While the V8 is a slightly less-powerful version of the engine found in Jaguar's XK8, it still makes 281 horsepower and 287 foot-pounds of torque. The V6 uses a Ford block while Jaguar's variable-valve-timing heads, intake system and drive-by-wire throttle body top the Blue Oval low-end. These changes add 55 horsepower to the Duratec V6, giving it 240 horsepower and 212 foot-pounds of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission available in the S-Type.
As with the LS, suspension components in the S-Type are primarily forged aluminum. Unlike the Lincoln, however, the Jaguar offers a sport package featuring a Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) system that constantly adjusts the car's Bilstein shocks. A yaw-control system is also on tap to keep the S-Type from misbehaving even when the driver does.
Additional high-tech toys include a reverse-park control system, a GPS navigation system, and a voice-operated climate control system.Looks notwithstanding, the S-Type is anything but a classic Jaguar, which, for the purposes of mass-market appeal, is not a bad thing.